Fire up the grill! These Caprese Salad Burgers on Pretzel Buns are a fun twist on the rich Italian salad. Topped with fresh homemade pesto and thick slabs of mozzarella and tomatoes, they’re the perfect summer meal.Jump to Recipe
Who’s excited for SUMMER?! Me, me, me! Soon it’ll be tomato season, grilling season, and berry season. We’ll be eating Caprese salad using garden-fresh ingredients on repeat. If you want to turn these yummy summer veggies into a hearty and savory meal, then this is the recipe for you!
This is the juiciest and best burger for summer ever. They’re topped with a fresh homemade pesto and thick slabs of mozzarella and tomatoes. Enjoy them on a pretzel bun for a buttery finish. If this meal doesn’t scream summertime, I’m not sure what does!
You can make these burgers either on an outdoor grill or inside on a griddle or frying pan.
What Does Caprese Mean?
The burgers are made to replicate a Caprese salad. This is a simple Italian salad made of sliced tomato, mozzarella, basil, and a splash of olive oil or balsamic reduction on top. It’s traditional, elegant, and juicy.
How To Make A Great Caprese Salad Burger
Here’s how we do it: great meat, great seasonings, and throw it on the grill!
- To Make The Burgers: Place ground beef, eggs, grated onion, garlic granules, Worcestershire, mustard powder, and sea salt in a large bowl. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix the meat together until everything is combined. Wet your hands and divide the meat into 8 equal balls. Flatten the balls into burger patties so they are uniform in size and about 1/2 inch thick. Set aside on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Preheat The Grill or Griddle: Preheat the outdoor grill on high for 10 minutes. If grilling indoors, preheat a griddle pan on high for about 7 minutes.
- Grilling The Burgers: Drizzle a little olive oil on each burger patty so they don’t stick to the grill or griddle. Add them to the grill or griddle.
- If Using A Griddle Indoors: Cook the burgers for 5 minutes and flip. Add the cheese on top and cover so it melts.
- If Using An Outdoor Grill: Reduce the heat to medium and cook the burgers for 5 minutes before flipping. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes or until the center is just barely pink. Cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes if you prefer them well-done. Turn off the grill, add the cheese on top, and cover with the lid to let it melt.
- Toast The Buns: While the cheese melts on the burgers, add the buns to the warm grill or griddle and allow them to toast.
What Kind Of Meat Is Best?
The higher quality meat, the better your burgers will taste. We’re using 2 pounds of 80% lean grass-fed ground beef in this recipe because it’s tasty, coming from a source I trust and has a low-fat content. Don’t be concerned about the lack of fat in lean meat taking away flavor. We’re making up for it by adding the mozzarella on top.
For a clean and lean option, make this recipe using ground turkey or chicken. They’re both low in calories and will taste fresh among the pesto and cheese. Season the chicken or turkey burgers with additional Italian herbs along with the other seasonings in this recipe.
Take out the meat entirely and grill some portobello mushroom caps for a vegan or vegetarian option. To do this, remove the stem from the mushroom, wipe both sides with olive oil, and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Grill or fry on both sides until they’re soft and juicy.
How To Make Homemade Pesto
Homemade pesto is surprisingly easy to make and full of flavor! It’s an Italian sauce made from pulsing pine nuts, basil leaves, oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, and salt together. I love it on these burgers, but you can also add it to pasta, sandwiches, or pizza.
I opted for a nut-free version that is equally as tasty. Add a few extra greens by following my recipe for Arugula Basil Pesto.
We’re using classic, high-quality ingredients in this homemade pesto recipe:
- Organic basil leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Garlic cloves
- Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt
- Lemon juice
Caprese Salad Toppings
Each burger will be topped with traditional ingredients. First, add a dollop of homemade pesto to the bottom bun. Top the meat with the mozzarella (if it wasn’t already melted on), a slice of bright red Campari tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves. You can even add a splash of balsamic vinegar for an extra-traditional taste!
Pretzel buns are delightful when enjoying these burgers because they’re dense and buttery. A bun that’s on the stiff side, like a pretzel or brioche bun, is perfect for holding in all of the Italian goodness. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand, but just give it a quick toast before serving.
Serve These Burgers With Summer Sides
The summer burgers go wonderfully with a fruity drink and yummy side dishes:
- Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad With Parmesan
- Grilled Caesar Salad
- Pan Fried Halloumi & Peach Salad
- Creamy Grilled Smashed Potato Salad
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
If you give these CAPRESE SALAD BURGERS ON PRETZEL BUNS a try? Let me know what you think in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and share it on my Instagram page or tag it #lenaskitchenblog! I love seeing what you come up with!
Caprese Salad Burgers On Pretzel Buns
- 4 oz fresh basil, reserve 8 leaves for burgers
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 lbs 80% lean grass fed ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup red onion, grated
- 3 tsp granulated garlic
- 2 tsp mustard powder
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 3 small slicing tomato, evenly sliced
- 8 slices mozzarella cheese
- 8 mini pretzel buns, or hamburger buns
- To make the pesto, place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until combined.
- Place ground beef, eggs, grated onion, garlic granules, Worcestershire, mustard powder, and sea salt in a large bowl. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix everything together until completely combined. Wet your hands and divide the meat into 8 equal balls. Shape them into uniform patties about 1/2 inch thick. Set aside on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Heat your griddle pan on high for about 7 minutes. If using a grill outside, heat the grill on high for 10 minutes.
- Drizzle each patty with a little olive oil so they don't stick to the griddle or grill.
- If using a griddle, keep the heat on high and flip the burgers after about 5 minutes. Place the cheese on each burger and let it slowly melt. If it's not melting fast enough, place a lid to help it melt faster.
- If you are using a grill, reduce the heat to medium and close the lid. Cook for 5 minutes. Flip the burgers and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the center is just barely pink. Cook 2-3 minutes longer if you like your burgers well-done. Turn off the grill, add the cheese, and allow it to melt.
- While the cheese is melting, use your hot grill to toast the buns! If using a griddle, add the buns to a toaster oven or oven, and toast until desired toast color.
- To assemble the burgers, add a heaping tablespoon to the bottom of the bun (or both the top and bottom). Add the meat, then layer on the tomato and a leaf or two of fresh basil for more freshness. Serve and enjoy!