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Akhtar Nawab's Bison Burger with Balsamic Onions
Akhtar Nawab's Bison Burger with Balsamic Onions
Antonis Achilleos / "Good for You"
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Bison is super lean and high in protein compared to other meats. It is also lower in calories and cholesterol than beef and has a lot of flavor in it. It's a little gamey but not overpowering. It gives you a meaty burger that sears and caramelizes well without that much fat.

Technique tip: Because bison is so lean, it does cook quickly and can be tough, which is why I don't cook it like I would a steak.

Swap option: Swap bison for beef, use store bought mayo and/or Thousand Island dressing.


  • Basic Homemade Mayo (makes 3/4 cup)

    • 2 egg yolks
    • 3/4 cup mixed oil (half extra virgin olive oil and half avocado oil)
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
  • Avocado Aioli (makes 1½ cups)

    • 1½ cups Basic Homemade Mayo (recipe above) or vegan fabanaise
    • 2 teaspoons aji amarillo
    • 1/2 cup avocado oil
    • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Paleo Thousand Island Dressing (makes 1¾ cup)

    • 1 cup Basic Homemade Mayo (recipe above) or vegan fabanaise
    • 1 plum tomato, cored, seeded and roughly chopped
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
    • 10 cornichons, diced
  • Balsamic Onions

    • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 large Spanish onions, finely sliced
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
    • 1 sprig rosemary and 2 sprigs thyme, in a sachet
    • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Burger

    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 pound ground bison
    • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 gluten-free English muffins
    • 4 tablespoons Avocado Aioli (recipe above)
    • 4 tablespoons Paleo Thousand Island Dressing (recipe above)
    • 4 leaves lettuce
    • 4 slices tomato


For the basic homemade mayo:

1. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. With the oils in a single measuring cup, whisk the yolks and slowly add the oil in a thin stream. Continue whisking as you do this. Add the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of water and the salt.

2. Continue whisking until the ingredients are incorporated and reach a mayonnaise-like consistency. It should need to be whisked for less than a minute more after you add the lemon juice and water.

3. It does not need to chill before being used. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

For the avocado aioli:

In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise and aji amarillo together. Slowly add the avocado oil while whisking. Once completely incorporated, whisk in the lime juice. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

For the Paleo Thousand Island dressing:

Add the mayonnaise, tomato, olive oil and tomato paste to the blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cornichons. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

For the balsamic onions:

Add the olive oil to a medium pot over low to medium heat. Add the onions and salt, and cook for 6-8 minutes, until the onions become translucent. Add the herb sachet and vinegar.

Cover the pot, lower the heat to low, and cook for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The vinegar should be completely absorbed and the onions very tender. Season with salt.

For the burgers:

1. Heat the canola oil in a heavy skillet or grill pan over medium heat.

2. While the pan is heating, form the ground bison into 4 even patties. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

3. Add the burgers to the skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes on each side. They should be medium-well (about 150ºF) when done. Remove the burgers from the skillet and let them rest for 3-5 minutes.

To assemble:

Cut the English muffins in half, toast them and place one burger on the bottom half of each muffin. Top each burger with 1 tablespoon of the avocado aioli, 1/4 cup of the warm balsamic onions, 1 tablespoon of the dressing, a lettuce leaf and a tomato slice. Serve immediately.

Cooked burgers can be kept wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

Reprinted from Good for You by Akhtar Nawab with permission by Chronicle Books, © 2020.

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