Creamy Spinach, Crispy Spinach Beef Burger

Pairs well with:

Sauvignon Blanc

With hints of passion fruit, melon, and citrus, this wine beckons you to kick back and find a perfect porch swing.

Spinach is not only incredibly healthy, but tasty, and a clean complement to rich beef. This burger highlights the super green two ways: a creamy filling stuffed inside the burger to give a bright flavor and color surprise and as a crispy topper for that crunch factor in a healthy way.


2 c. fresh spinach, patted very dry

4 t. kosher salt, divided

6 oz mascarpone cheese, softened

1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes

2 t. lemon zest

3 T. fresh lemon juice, divided

1 t. onion powder

1 3/4 t. black pepper, divided

6 oz frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated

2 lbs. freshly ground beef chuck

1/4 c. celery, finely diced

1/2 c. grated yellow onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 t. smoked paprika

1 c. red pepper, roasted

1/4 c. Greek yogurt

1/4 c. mayonnaise

6 French bread hamburger buns


Preheat a gas grill to low (about 250 degrees).

Take a large sheet of heavy aluminum foil (about 24 inches long) and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the very dry spinach leaves in a single layer on the foil. Spray the top layer of spinach with non-stick spray and season with 1/2 t. salt.

Place the foil on the grill so the spinach slowly cooks to crispy (about 20 minutes). When ready, set aside.

Meanwhile, create the filling. Cream the mascarpone cheese with the red pepper flakes, lemon zest, 1T. lemon juice, onion powder, 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper. Fold in the chopped spinach and parmesan cheese. Divide mixture into six equal portions and roll into balls. Set in the refrigerator or cooler while preparing the beef mixture.

Combine the beef chuck, celery, onion, 3 cloves garlic, Worcestershire sauce, 2 t. salt, 1 t. black pepper and smoked paprika.

Divide the beef mixture into 6 equal portions. Take 1/6 of the beef mixture and form around one of prepared spinach-cheese balls to form a patty with a filling. Make sure the meat mixture seals the spinach-cheese mixture. Repeat for the remaining five patties.

Heat the grill to medium-high (about 375 degrees).

Place the patties on the grill and cook 20 minutes, turning once half-way through the cooking time.

Combine the roasted red pepper, yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper with a hand-held food processor or processor until smooth.

Slice and toast the French hamburger buns on the grill until lightly toasted (about two minutes).

To assemble the burgers, place a patty on the bottom of each bun. Spread about a tablespoon of the red pepper aioli on each top bun half . Place 1/6 of the crispy spinach leaves on top of each burger patty and serve immediately.