Italy inspired Pesto Caprese 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.

I love pesto on meats and I thought it would go great on a burger. I started using pesto as a spread for my burgers, but the flavor wasn’t strong enough. So I started adding it to the burger meat itself and I really enjoyed it. I came up with some other Italian inspired flavors to complement the pesto burger.


Balsamic Tomato Basil Chutney
4 medium sized tomatoes (2 ¼ cup of diced tomatoes)
4 cloves of minced garlic
½ cup sugar
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
¼ cup of chiffonade basil

1 ½ cup of basil (packed)
¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
½ cup walnuts
5 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1 cup olive oil

2 ¼ LBS hamburger (20% fat)

Lemon Aioli
1 cup mayonnaise
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice from half lemon
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Vegetable oil for the grill
4TBSP salt
12 slices of Fresh mozzarella, ¼ inch thick
6 soft knotted bread buns
¼ cup of butter, soften
6 slices of Yellow onion, cut in rounds, ¼ inch in depth

6 oz Spring Mix/ Mesclun, prepare right before assembling burger
Drizzle of Olive Oil, ¼ cup
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper


To make the chutney: Core and cut the tomatoes in half and place cut half on oiled grill that’s at medium high heat. Cook on grill for a couple minutes, until the skin can be pulled off. Squeeze the tomatoes to remove seeds and then dice into ¼ inch pieces. Add diced tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, garlic and salt to a fireproof saucepan and place on grill at medium high heat. Let mixture simmer until liquid reduces by half and thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add basil, cover and keep warm until assembling burger.

To make the patties: First make pesto by combining basil, parmesan cheese, walnuts, garlic and salt in a food processor. Blend mixture while slowly pouring olive oil. Combine hamburger and pesto in a large bowl until just blended, don’t want to over handle the meat or can make patties tough. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions and make circular patty with an indent in the middle with your thumb, this ensure even cooking. Put aside until ready to grill.

To make the aioli, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until assembling the burger.

On a grill that’s at medium-high, rub the grill rack with vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Before putting the patties on the grill sprinkle 1 tsp of salt of each side. Place the patties on the grill and cook until done to preference, 3 to 5 minutes. The top of the patties should have a dark brown sear to it. Flip once and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Do not press down on the patties that will remove all the juices/flavor. 2 minutes before removing patties from grill add even layer of chutney on each patty and 2 slices of mozzarella cheese, cover grill to allow cheese to melt. Remove patties and rest on plate.

To prevent the greens from wilting, don’t toss until after the burgers are taken off the grill and resting to resettle juices. In a bowl with the spring mix drizzle oil, salt and pepper and toss gently with your hands making sure each leaf gets oil and seasoning.

Cut buns in half and butter both sides, place cut side down on grill until bread is lightly toasted. At the same time oil a portion of the grill and place onion rounds on the grill until grill marks on both side and onions are slightly soften.

To assemble the burgers: Spread lemon aioli on the cut side of both buns. Top each bun bottom with spring mix next the onion rounds and then the patty with the chutney and mozzarella on it. Add the top bun and enjoy.