Burger Ideas for the Gluten-Free Dad

Written By: Sofia Layarda, MPH

Title: Master of Public Health

Alumni: University of California, Berkeley

Last Updated on:

Say Father’s Day and most of us think of grilling in the sun with the special dad(s) in our lives. But what if your dad needs a gluten-free way to enjoy his burger? Here are some simple ideas that do not require being a gluten-free expert.

Simple Gluten-Free Burger Ideas for Dad

1. Make a gluten-free burger patty from scratch

Store-bought frozen burger patties may have wheat ingredients added. Make your own burger patty from scratch and skip the breadcrumbs, using nothing more than ground meat, a couple of tablespoons of water to keep it moist, and dried spices or herbs such as minced onion, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper.

2. Choose gluten-free burger buns

Commercial gluten-free bakery items are usually made with refined gluten-free flour with low fiber content.  We were happy to find these Udi’s Whole Grain Buns (not 100% whole grains). If you’d like to try your hand at making homemade gluten-free buns, try this recipe!

3. Vegetarianize the patty or the bun

If you want to go a step further, make a meatless patty from legumes such as chickpeas, red lentils,  or black beans, and whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa. For example, here is an interesting recipe for Spinach and Chickpea Burgers. You can also add some chopped nuts such as walnuts or almonds, or seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds for extra crunch. Note that gluten-free meatless patties tend to be quite crumbly because there is no binder such as breadcrumbs, so you will typically have better success toasting the patties in the oven instead of on the grill.

For an easy way to make a home-made gluten-free bun, look no further than portobello mushroom caps: simply cut off the stem before grilling. Go open-faced and serve the patty on top of the grilled mushroom cap for a lighter fare, and you’ll have some room for dessert.

My personal favorite vegetable that can work as a vegetarian patty or “bun” is eggplant. You can either make eggplant into a patty such as this Curried Eggplant, Lentil, and Quinoa Burger or simply slice them into thick coins, baste them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and grill to use as burger buns.

4. Go fish or tofu

Who says a burger has to be made from ground meat? You can always throw a fish filet or a slab of extra-firm tofu or tempeh on the grill. Pre-marinate the item for extra flavor before it goes on the grill. Fish can be marinated with a tangy marinade using lemon juice, garlic, onion, and parsley before going on the grill, or use a sweet/salty combination such as soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Tofu does best when it is drained as much as possible of its liquid before marinating. For some great tofu grilling ideas, try this You Can Cook Tofu 3 Ways.

5. Pile on the toppings

Nothing cheers up a burger like a collection of tasteful toppings! Look beyond the typical toppings of lettuce, tomato, and cheese slices. Think caramelized onion, roasted pepper slices, crunchy radishes, or coleslaw-type cabbage mix.

The Bottom Line

Gluten-free does not have to be complicated. These burger ideas for Dad are not only good for his tummy, they are made with ingredients that are good for his waistline too. So fire up the grill and get cooking for Father’s Day!

Cooking, Lifestyle

chieckpeas, fish, gluten free, home cooking, lentils, men's nutrition, outdoor eating, tofu, whole grains


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