Burgers Italian-Style: #7 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

This is my Mom’s recipe for homemade Italian burgers, with some slight modifications to accommodate my kids’ tastes. (Her original method is also below). They’re hearty, flavorful, and comforting for a relaxing barbecue after a long week. Pair with your favorite salad or fries. Good for the whole family!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($9.50 total)

1 lb organic ground beef – $5.99
1 egg – $0.31
1 cup breadcrumbs – $0.25 (I took leftover bread from the freezer and ground it up in the blender)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – $0.10
1 tsp oregano – $0.28
1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28
Salt and pepper to taste
8 whole wheat hamburger buns – $2.99
Mozzarella cheese (sliced, optional) – $2.49
1/4 head lettuce, washed – $0.32
Condiments as desired (ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish) – $2.00

Mom says: “This is also the same recipe as for my meatballs and meatloaf.  I use freshly chopped garlic instead of garlic powder. I also do not use oregano, preferring chopped parsley which gives the burgers a burst of freshness.  But my secret ingredient is a generous amount of Pecorino Romano cheese. It keeps the burger moist and adds so much flavour.”


1. Mix the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Combine with a fork until thoroughly mixed.

Use your freshly washed hands to shape the meat mixture into 8-10 patties. They will shrink in diameter when cooking so it’s good to make them as thin and wide as possible without falling apart.

2. Cook the burgers on a grill or BBQ, about 5 minutes each side or until done in the middle. If using cheese, lay a slice on top of each almost-cooked burger to melt it. You can toast the buns on the grill at the same time as adding the cheese.

3. Assemble the burgers, buns, and toppings as desired. Feel free to get creative with other toppings as well!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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