Spicy Burgers With Tahini Sauce and Harissa Carrot Slaw

Very lean ground beef is better for you, but it can also lead to a very dry burger. This recipe combats the dry burger plight by mixing the lean beef with finely chopped sautéed mushrooms and leeks, which add fiber, umami and moisture for delicious, juicy burgers. Topped with a spicy carrot slaw and quick tahini sauce, and folded into warm whole-grain naan, these burgers top takeout any night of the week.

under 60 mins

Ingredients for servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium portobello mushroom dark underside scraped out and discarded, cap finely chopped

  • 1 medium leek white and light green part only, finely chopped

  • 1 pound lean ground beef 5% fat

  • 5 teaspoons ground flaxseeds

  • 1.25 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 0.25 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 0.25 teaspoon salt

  • 0.25 teaspoon pepper

  • slaw, sauce and assembly

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice divided

  • 1.5 teaspoons harissa

  • 2 large carrots grated

  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped

  • 2 pinches salt

  • to taste Black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons tahini

  • 0.5 teaspoon maple syrup

  • 0.25 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 4 small whole-grain naan lightly toasted (I used Stone Fire’s Ancient Grain Mini Naan)

  • 4 leaves green lettuce


  • Heat the oil in a medium non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and leeks and sauté, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to brown, about 4.5 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water and simmer, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the water has evaporated, 30 seconds. Scrape into a mixing bowl and let cool. Add the remaining burger ingredients to the bowl and stir thoroughly to combine. Form the mixture into four, 4 0.5-inch (11cm) patties and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  • the slaw

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon lemon juice and harissa. Add the carrots, cilantro, salt and pepper and toss to combine, set aside.

  • the sauce

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, 1 tablespoon hot water, remaining lemon juice and maple syrup until smooth; set aside.

  • To cook the burgers, preheat a grill or a non-stick grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and grill until juices run nearly clear when pierced in the center of a patty, 2–3 minutes per side. Place the burgers on the toasted flatbreads, top with lettuce, tahini sauce and slaw. Serve immediately.

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