Sneaky Chef's Macho Burgers

by Missy Chase Lapine

healthy hamburgerI'm looking for foods that are heart-healthy for me and guide me for weight loss -- but are nutritious for my son who is on the low end (5th percentile) of the weight chart. My son likes everything. My husband will only eat things like nachos, pizza, burgers, and chips. Bad influence for my son, who's 5.

My next book is The Sneaky Chef for Men's Macho Meals. They are worse than the kids! Rick (husband of Sneaky Chef) hates all things good for him, and he benefited more than the kids when I was testing recipes for this book.

I have a recipe for burgers with hidden pureed blueberries and spinach in them...can't see or taste anything. Leading by example is key for sure.

Here is the recipe for the burgers:

Sneaky Chef's Burgers
Makes 8-10 burgers

1 pound lean ground beef
1 large egg
¼ cup Purple Puree (see Make Ahead Recipe #1)
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs*
8-10 American cheese slices (optional)
8-10 hamburger buns or English muffins

In a large bowl mix egg, Purple Puree, ketchup, salt and bread crumbs until well combined. Then add the ground beef to this bowl, mixing with hands until well combined. If too sticky, add a few more bread crumbs. Using damp hands, shape into 8 to 10 patties that are fairly thin. Spray a large skillet or grill pan with non-stick cooking spray over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Cook the burgers for 3 minutes on each side then flip and add cheese (if using) to melt over patties for another 3 minutes.

Make-Ahead Recipe #1: Purple Puree

3 cups raw baby spinach leaves (or 2 cups frozen chopped spinach, or frozen chopped collard greens)
1½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries (no syrup or sugar added)
½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ tablespoons water

If using raw spinach, thoroughly wash it, even if the package says "prewashed." Bring spinach or collards and water to boil in a medium pot. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. If using frozen blueberries, quickly rinse them under cold water. Fill the bowl of your food processor with the blueberries and cooked spinach, (or collards) along with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water, and puree on high until as smooth as possible.

The purple puree is super nutritious and hides in the meat -- use lean beef or turkey.

You can also use that same Purple Puree of blueberries and spinach in taco meat. Or brownies -- replace half the butter!

Raw baby spinach has the least flavor. No one's caught me yet. The producers at the Today Show ate it recently and then booked me!

You can also use the tofu (puree first) in the burgers. Add a bit of ketchup to mask white color. You can even sneak both in for a bit of extra nutrition!

Happy hiding!

Missy Chase Lapine is the author of The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals (Running Press, March 2007). She is the former publisher of Eating Well magazine and the founder of a natural baby product line Baby Spa™. Missy is currently on the Culinary Arts faculty of The New School, in New York City, and operates The Sneaky Chef workshops, which is a program of cooking classes and demonstrations that teach families how to eat healthier. She is available to individuals, groups and businesses for private cooking instruction, workshops and personal coaching in The Sneaky Chef methods and recipes. Missy lives with her family in Westchester, New York. For more information, please visit

Copyright © Missy Chase Lapine. Permission to republish granted to, LLC.