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IMG_2985Here’s a recipe re-do of one of Wolfgang Puck’s most popular post-Oscar appetizers that cuts calories and fat in half without sacrificing taste or texture: Mini Beef and Porcini Burgers with Vegan Cheddar and Skinny Red Pepper Remoulade.

Made with 100% grass fed beef--which has fewer calories and less fat than regular prime beef—these burgers are made even healthier by replacing 1/3 of the meat with flavorful and nutritious Porcini mushrooms.

IMG_2993IMG_3016Rather than a stove top remoulade made with 2 cups of heavy cream (1650 calories and 175 grams of fat) these baby burgers are dressed with a quick and easy sauce that’s whirled together in a food processor and has less than 15 calories a tablespoon.

IMG_2967And a simple switch of heart healthy vegan cheddar for the cholesterol heavy real cheddar lowers calories, fat and cholesterol  further without leaving you feeling cheated.

We’ve even cut the calories in the buns…skipping the mini brioche rolls that have 120 calories in favor of frozen or refrigerated dough that can be reshaped into 40 calorie servings.

IMG_2991So whether you’re looking to serve mini burgers on Oscar night, a child’s birthday party or just a weeknight supper, consider these simple changes to make your burgers better…for your health and your waistline!



Note: This makes about 12 mini burgers, I usually double the recipe.

1/2 pound grass fed ground beef

IMG_27631 oz dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted, squeezed dry and chopped fine

2-3 T minced shallot

1 T minced parsley

1 t salt

1/2 t black pepper

Sliced or grated vegan cheddar (optional)

IMG_2819 IMG_2882Reconstitute the dried mushrooms by soaking them in a cup of hot water for 20 minutes. Drain liquid (reserving for another use if you like), squeeze mushrooms in a couple of paper towels to remove excess water and chop fine.

IMG_2893IMG_2897(If using fresh Porcini, Shiitake or other wild mushrooms, chop 3-4 ounces of mushrooms and briefly saute them before adding to the meat.)

Mix meat, mushrooms, shallot, parsley, salt and pepper well and shape into patties of IMG_2832IMG_2967about one well rounded tablespoon each.

Sear in non stick pan until just browned on either side and remove to a baking sheet and top with cheese, if using.

IMG_2737(Note: The patties can be made up to this point 12 hours ahead and kept tightly covered in the fridge. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before finishing in the oven.)

To finish, place in 500 degree oven on upper rack for 2-5 minutes until cheese has melted and meat has cooked through.


1/2 c low-fat mayonnaise (Low-fat has 15 calories a tablespoon, reduced-fat has 60 and real mayo has about 100.)

IMG_2919IMG_30093/4 c roasted red bell pepper

(You can use jarred peppers but freshly roasted ones have better flavor. Place a medium pepper on foil, roast at 425 about 30 minutes until charred, wrap the foil around and seal to allow steam to loosen skins. After 20 minutes, simply pull the skins off with your fingers and discard seeds.)

IMG_29931/4 c green onions, roughly chopped

2 T Dijon, Cajun or brown mustard

2 T lemon juice plus zest of small lemon

2 plump garlic cloves

1-2 T capers, drained and rinsed

1 T fresh parsley

IMG_30161/2-1 t crushed red pepper flakes

Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the texture you prefer.

Will keep in the refrigerator up to a week.


IMG_2784You can use frozen bread dough and dinner rolls OR the types that come in the refrigerator section….the important thing is to read the labels so you know how many calories there are in each so you can reduce their size accordingly, aiming for 40 calories per mini bun.

IMG_2961Refrigerated rolls, for example, can have about 180 calories each.

If using those, cut each uncooked roll into quarters, reshape with your fingers to make them round again and cook not quite as long as the package suggests.

IMG_2728IMG_2731Frozen dinner rolls have fewer calories but are a bit smaller…those can be cut in half or in thirds.  And whether you use rolls or loaf shaped dough, if you’d rather not use your hands, you can use a 2 inch cookie cutter for a fancier edge and a more uniform size.

To Serve: 

IMG_2985IMG_2846There is no right or wrong way to serve these baby burgers. For kids’ parties, I usually skip all the fancy stuff and let them dress their own with regular burger toppings.

For adults, I always dollop with a little IMG_2930IMG_2945remoulade, occasionally melt goat cheese instead of vegan cheddar and use herbs or arugula, tiny grape tomatoes, cornichons or olives to dress them up.  I’ve even served them topless…. (Um, just to be clear, only the burgers were topless…)


You can always use grass fed bison or lamb or even ground turkey rather than beef.  When making the remoulade, if you don’t like capers, substitute dill pickles. And you can always add more spice or heat by bumping up the garlic and hot pepper flakes or add a few dashes of Tabasco.


Now that you know how to make a simple remoulade, try it on grilled fish or crabcakes.

About Lisa McRee

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! The Skinny is the inside story on how she did it, and how you can, too!
This entry was posted in Fit For Kids, Low Meat Mains, Quickies, Skinny Sides, Skinny Snacks and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Denise says:

    These look AMAZING…and YOU ARE AMAZING. I’ve only recently discovered you and are so impressed with your web site. I want to express my gratitude and say “THANK YOU” for your commitment and selflessness in sharing all you have learned with others so in need. Really, I have probably tried everything, but to no avail. Now, I believe I can turn my health and the health of my husband around, with so much delicious food. Have almost gotten my “inventory” complete which, for us, is the trick. It will take a little while to get rid of all the processed food and learn how to “recook” again, but with your help, we will succeed.
    Oh, and I’ve made the Caponata twice now. We LOVE it…yowsers…I put it on almost everything. You’re the very best.

    • Lisa McRee says:

      Wow, Denise, thank you so much for that sweet note! I’m so glad you like the caponata…it is one of our family faves and one I always have out as an appetizer when we serve Italian at dinner parties. I promise, once you get the hang of this new way of cooking and eating…and keeping that “inventory” so you don’t ever need to go off the rails…losing weight and keeping it off for life will be a breeze for you and your family. Keep me posted on your weight loss! xolmc

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