Italian Bunless Burgers

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    Italian Bunless Burgers… the kids will love wrapping dinner in a lettuce leaf, instead of a bun! These Mediterranean-flavored patties make a great summer salad, too.

    I love a summertime meal I don’t have to cook indoors. That means a cookout for me! But sometimes I want to shake up the regular BBQ menu and make a lighter meal the family will still devour.

    Have you had the bunless burgers at 5-Napkin Burger? They serve them on a salad. Delish! I also love any restaurant that serves it up “protein-style,” sans the bun, with all the goodness. I wanted to create my own version, with lots of flavor, that was easy to make at home.

    Admittedly I’ve almost overdosed on my out-of-this-world BBQ Ribs this year. Oh, they are delicious. However a little healthy grilled meal, like these Italian Bunless Burgers, are quite perfect in the mix.

    Italian Bunless Burgers... a delicious lettuce-wrapped or salad dinner!

    Some simple Italian ingredients are all it takes to put these together in under half an hour. I started with ground beef and mixed in spicy Italian sausage for flavor. You’ll be surprised, the heat doesn’t come through, so little mouths can still enjoy the burgers.

    Italian Bunless Burgers... gathering the ingredients

    Parmesan cheese and chopped, roasted red peppers are gently mixed into the meat, and of course a pinch of salt. That’s enough to create the most juicy, flavorful patties you’ve had all summer.

    I had basil growing in my herb pots this year, so that was easy to get! And fresh mozzarella is a real treat for this meal. Use any type of lettuce you want. It acts as the bun for these babies. I like red leaf lettuce but romaine and iceberg works, too.

    Italian Bunless Burgers... ready for the grill

    The patties are big! Well listen, not too big. If you were to serve these on a bun they would fit perfectly, even after a little shrinking on the grill. I used about 2/3 cup of meat mixture for each patty. Flatten to about 1 inch thick. I like to press mine a little thinner in the center (did you know that’s where they shrink in? This trick helps your burgers stay flat, instead of turning into balls!)

    Italian Bunless Burgers... perfectly seasoned and grilled, these make a great lettuce-wrapped dinner!

    The kids are going to love using lettuce as the bun! It’s major eat-with-your-hands stuff. Let them pile on some cheese and a tomato with basil if they want, and then wrap that in their new “bun.” Italian Bunless Burgers for the win!

    The burgers are so flavorful you really don’t need any other condiments. And that fresh mozzarella makes it more divine.

    Italian Bunless Burgers... makes a delicious salad, too!

    Go ahead and serve the patties 5-Napkin Burger style… on a salad. I drizzled mine with a balsamic vinaigrette, but a creamy Italian dressing would be fantastic, as well.

    I’d also suggest this no-bake cheesecake recipe that I put in little jars for a backyard dessert. Listen, summer is no joke – I am serious about my barbecues… and my treats!

    Italian Bunless Burgers... delicious BBQ twist perfect for the end-of-summer days!

    Italian Bunless Burgers

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: American
    Prep Time: 25 minutes
    Cook Time: 6 minutes
    Total Time: 40 minutes
    Servings: 8
    Calories: 405
    Author: Jamielyn Nye
    Wrap these in a lettuce leaf or serve on top of a salad. Unless burgers are delicious summer fare. For the older crowd make sure to serve the patties with a few leaves of fresh basil!


    • 2 pounds ground beef
    • 8 ounces spicy Italian sausage casings removed
    • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
    • 1 (12 ounces) ball fresh mozzarella
    • 1 tomato
    • Lettuce leaves or salad
    • Basil leaves
    • Italian or Balsamic vinaigrette optional


    • Combine the ground beef, sausage, bell peppers, salt and Parmesan and mix together, being careful not to overmix.
    • Heat grill to medium-high heat. While grill heats, form mixture into 8 patties, using about 2/3 cup of meat mixture for each. Press to 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Grill, turning once, until just cooked through, about 6 min total.
    • Slice the mozzarella and serve patties with a slice of mozzarella and sliced tomato wrapped in a lettuce leaf. Add basil leaves if desired. Alternately serve patties over a salad with diced mozzarella and tomatoes, drizzled with vinaigrette.


    Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 478mg | Potassium: 433mg | Vitamin A: 445IU | Vitamin C: 14.6mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2.6mg

    Thanks, Tara!

    Italian Bunless Burgers... the kids will love wrapping dinner in a lettuce leaf, instead of a bun! These Mediterranean-flavored patties make a great summer salad, too.

    If you love this easy dinner idea, you’ll love these, too!

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