There aren’t any other recipes I can give credit to my father for…. except this one 🙂 And it’s not really his creation, but my mom started making it from notes he took watching a similar recipe being made on television over 20 years ago!! All Dad remembers is that it was on channel 13 (PBS)…. Regardless, I’m sure the adaptation I make today isn’t the same as what he saw 🙂
When I first started cooking for my hubby, I made him “Zucchini Hamburger”… he wasn’t very excited about it, so I didn’t make it again for about a year.. Well – oh how things changed! The next time I made it, his reaction was different 🙂 He LOVED “that Zucchini Hamburger stuff” so much we’ve eaten it almost weekly throughout the summer when our garden is producing zucchinis over the past 12 years….
What’s so awesome about Zucchini Hamburger is that in the summer it utilizes all the bounty of local fresh produce. For us right now… it’s nearly a “perfect” local & seasonal food.. the grass fed beef come from our local friends Working H Farms, Zucchini, Onions, Garlic, Celery and Basil are fresh from our garden… and the tomatoes are from last fall’s garden that I canned. The only ingredients that aren’t local are the rice, salt & pepper!! How awesome is that!
Oh, I forgot to mention that it only takes minutes to throw together and it basically cooks itself! And it’s really cheap (a pound of grass fed beef is about $4!)
Traditionally, we serve it with chunks of zucchini mixed in and over rice.. However if you are Paleo, low carb or just don’t eat rice for whatever reason, you can serve it on a bed of Zucchini Noodles instead!
Here’s how to make my Zucchini Hamburger:
- 1 Pound of Local, Grass Fed Ground Beef
- 1c Chopped Onion
- 1c Chopped Celery
- 1 Garlic Clove, pressed or chopped finely
- 4 cups of peeled/chopped fresh tomatoes w/juice or 1 quart (home) canned tomatoes
- 2-3T Fresh Basil, chopped
- 1 Medium Zucchini
- Celtic Sea Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Optional: Cooked Rice* (Click HERE for the rice we use and how we cook it perfectly)
In a large skillet with sides, cook your grass fed ground beef over medium heat. If it’s lean, add a little tallow, lard, coconut oil or butter as needed.
Add in your chopped onion, celery, garlic and 1T fresh chopped basil…. season liberally with salt & pepper. Taste the beef to make sure it’s seasoned!!!
Saute your veggie/beef mixture for about 2 minutes then add in your tomatoes, reduce the heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes for flavors to combine. (if you’re not in a hurry, feel free to make it up to this point in the afternoon.. cover your pan and let it sit for a couple hours on the stove..)
If you are serving it over rice, add in chopped zucchini and remaining fresh basil, right before you are ready to eat. Cover the pan and over medium/low heat allow the zucchini to steam until lightly cooked – don’t over cook and make mushy! Serve over cooked rice.
If you’re not having rice….Using a spiral slicer, slice your zucchini into noodles. Lightly steam your noodles (very very lightly!! again don’t make them mushy) .. I use a small pot with about 1 inch of filtered water fitted with a steamer insert.. I heat the water to a boil (ie creating steam) then put my zucchini noodles into the pot and cover.. steam for just 1-2 minutes.. using tongs take them out.. I put mine into a colander over the sink and toss with sea salt (remember you need to flavor each component of your dish!! Use your steamed zucchini noodles as a base and top with your tomato hamburger sauce 🙂 Sprinkle with remaining fresh basil 🙂