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Taste of Italy Burger

The idea of building a unique burger was intriguing to me. I enjoy cooking from scratch and consider recipes only a guideline, so it was a challenge to develop a recipe that needed to be measured and followed for this contest. I would fully expect anyone who decided to make my recipe to adapt it and make it their own. That being said, I grow my own basil and tomatoes and love the many flavors of Italian cooking. My husband loves grilling. We put the two together to make a Taste of Italy Burger.


3 tbl. olive oil, divided
3 tbl. basil pesto sauce, divided
1 tbl. Colavita balsamic vinegar
3 plum tomatoes, sliced thin black pepper to taste
1 1/2 pb. 90-95% lean ground beef
2 links (1/4 lb. each) mild Italian sausage
1 small sweet onion, chopped small
2 small loaves Italian bread
6 slices provolone cheese
1/2-1 cup spinach leaves salt to taste


1. Mix together 1 tbl. olive oil, 1 tbl. pesto, and 1 tbl. balsamic vinegar. Drizzle over sliced tomatoes, top with pepper to taste, and set aside. 2. Remove Italian sausage from casing. With hands mix sausage, beef, 1 tbl. pesto, and chopped onions. Shape with hands into 6 patties. Set aside. 3. Cut loaves of bread in half length-wise. Mix 2 tbl. olive oil and 1 tbl. pesto together and use the mixture to baste the cut sides of bread. Set aside. 4. Heat grill to a medium-high heat. Grill burgers for about 10-15 minutes on one side. Flip and cook until done (5-10 minutes). NOTE: Cook done because of the pork. When you flip the burger, place the bread on the grill and toast both sides. Just before removing from the grill, place one slice of provolone cheese on each burger. 5. To dress the burgers, remove the bread from the grill and reassemble into two loaves. Cut both loaves cross-wise into thirds. You will have 6 "buns." Place a burger on each of the six "bottoms" of bread. Top each burger with 2-3 slices of tomato. Top tomatoes with spinach leaves and add the top piece of bread. 6. Enjoy a taste of Italy!


My taste-testers enjoyed this unusual twist to a grilled burger. It's quite hardy and makes a meal by itself. I hope you enjoy it, too!