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How to Set Up a Clean Burger Buffet

Burger Buffet

A burger buffet is definitely one of my favorite ways to entertain over the summer. It’s so super easy to pull together and it’s always such a big hit with everyone. With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, I thought it would be fun to show you how to set up a clean burger buffet everyone at the party will love, including those who are not into clean eating 😉

A Clean Burger Buffet Starts with Clean Burgers

What the heck is a “clean” burger? Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have to go meatless (although at a burger buffet it’s always nice to offer meat-free options–more on that in a bit.) But when it comes to serving clean meat-based burgers, there are two main rules I like to follow…

My 2 Clean Burger Rules:

  1. Buy the highest quality meat available. If you are buying beef or lamb, the most important thing to look for is grass-fed (or pasture-raised.) Ideally, the meat would also be organic. But if you had to choose grass-fed over organic, go with grass-fed. When buying chicken or turkey, look for pasture-raised (free-range is meaningless). Again, ideally the chicken or turkey would be organic, but it is best to choose pasture-raised over organic if you have no other choice. If you can’t find high quality meat in your area, buying online is always an option (check out Butcher Box!) If you are making seafood burgers, then buying clean seafood is also super important. You want to look for wild-caught and sustainably raised fish. Avoid farm-raised varieties. If you can’t source clean seafood from your area, check out Vital Choice.
  2. Mix in some plant food. I am not vegan, but I never make an all-meat burger. I always mix in some plant-based ingredients to add anti-inflammatory fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. And believe it or not, the plant food addition always ends up boosting flavor too. For example, sauteed minced carrots or mushrooms (shitakes are amazing!), tabouleh, finely chopped parsley or cilantro, mashed lentils, quinoa, etc. all make delicious burger add-ins. Check out some of the not-all-meat burger recipes below!

My Favorite Clean Burger Recipes

Meat & Seafood Burgers:

All of the clean burger recipes below are perfect for a burger buffet because they can be assembled in advance and cooked just before guests arrive.

Veggie Burgers:

Clean Burger Condiments

Clean Burger Buffet Condiments

Healthy burger toppings DO exist! Although I do often like to make healthy condiments (especially ketchup and mayo!), nowadays, the vast majority can be store-bought too.

Here are my favorite clean burger buffet condiments below:

  • Organic Roasted Red Peppers  Red peppers are on the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list, so I always like to look for organic.
  • Kimchi  I am always looking for creative ways to add more probiotics to my plate, and burgers with kimchi make a super tasty combo! I admit I don’t make my own kimchi, but plenty of high quality kimchi brands exist. Look for kimchi in the refrigerated section.
  • Mayonnaise  This is the one condiment I always make myself. I don’t trust the idea of using raw eggs and so I make a plant-based mayo from cashews, hemp seeds and macadamia nuts. It might sound complicated, but it really is super easy as long as you have all of the ingredients. If you don’t want to make your own, I recently discovered Primal Blueprint brand Mayo made with avocado oil. As of now (6/17/2017), Primal Blueprint is the ONLY store-bought mayo I am aware of that is not made with refined oils. 
  • Ketchup  Just like with mayo, I almost always make my own ketchup. By using pureed dates I am able to make a sweet and delicious ketchup with no refined sugar. But if you don’t want to make your own, the two clean store-bought brands I recommend are Tessemae’s and Sir Kensington’s
  • Mustard  If you are into clean eating, many condiments are on the no-no list. Luckily, unsweetened plain mustard is not. As long as it doesn’t have sugar, it’s hard to go too wrong with mustard. I usually just buy organic Dijon mustard. If you like a more classic flavor, Annie’s Naturals Organic Yellow Mustard is also very good.
  • Pesto  Store-bought pesto almost always contains refined oils and cheese. My Avocado Pesto takes 5-minutes to whip up and makes a clean and delicious alternative.
  • Pickles  As long as they are REAL pickles (meaning traditionally fermented), then pickles are a surprisingly healthy probiotic-rich food. No wonder many pregnant women crave them! You can make your own pickles if you want, but I just buy Bubbies brand. 
  • BBQ Sauce  Just like ketchup, a clean homemade BBQ sauce made without refined sugar is easier than you might think to make. But if you aren’t up for homespun, Tessemae’s is a clean store-bought brand made with pureed dates!
  • Avocado (or Guacamole) Nothing makes an easier or more delicious burger topping than sliced avocado. If you are serving avocado for a burger buffet, you’ll just want to squeeze some lemon juice on top to keep it from turning brown.

burger buffet 2

clean eating side dishesDon’t Forget the Sides!

  • Tabouleh
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Cole Slaw
  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Potato Salad

Sweet Ending

What’s better than a burger with a brownie for dessert? Brownies are one of the easiest desserts to serve at a buffet. You can’t go wrong with this recipe for Gluten and Dairy Free Brownies =)

Ivy Larson

In 2010, Clean Cuisine was launched because Ivy Larson wanted to share her anti-inflammatory lifestyle and delicious recipes using ingredients in their most natural and nutrient-rich state. In 2020, Ivy passed the website to Aimee and Madison. Since then, they have been adding new recipes and nutrition posts while updating old recipes and articles. Thanks for visiting Clean Cuisine!

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Angela LaBoda

Wednesday 5th of July 2017

Hi Ivy, I made the bbq sauce and I LOVE it! Sweet with a little tang! And I made the turkey burgers with hidden vegetables. Again, another winner! They were moist and flavorful. I'll make both again. Thank you!

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