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Zucchini Pesto BurgerFit Burger and Massaged Kale Salad
Melissa and AlaneJump to Recipe
Episode 10 of Cooking with My Friends was filmed in Nashville, Tennessee with lifestyle blogger Melissa Haithcock of A Happy Healthy Heart. Melissa wears many hats including recipe developer, food stylist, writer, speaker and photographer just to name a few! In Melissa’s beautiful home in Nashville, Alane & Melissa made the Zucchini Pesto BurgerFit burger and a massaged kale salad.
“Not only is Melissa an amazing home chef, but she’s so talented as so many things! It was so fun to learn about all that she does.” -Alane
Why eat the Zucchini Pesto BurgerFit Burger?
Zucchini is a great vegetable to mix into burgers because the flavor and texture tend to disappear, becoming almost invisible to those picky veggie eaters. This summer squash is full of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, iron, and niacin. We all know drinking a glass of milk is a great way to get calcium, but our green leafy friends are often overlooked when it comes to this bone-building mineral. One of these burgers supplies 81g of calcium! The other star vitamin in spinach is vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin E needs fat in order to transported through the body, and this burger is an excellent vessel.
Get the Recipes
These recipes are super easy to prepare and you’re going to have a blast making them!
Massaged Kale Salad
- De-rib and chop the kale, then place into a bowl.
- Add some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and massage them into the kale with your fingers.
- Add chopped strawberries to bowl.
- In a small bowl, add sliced almonds, maple syrup, and salt. mix it until the sliced almonds are coated.
- Place almonds on a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, and toast them in the oven for 1-2 minutes at 350°.
- Add almonds to salad.
- Sprinkle with salt to taste.
Zucchini Pesto BurgerFit Burger
- 4 zucchinis cubed
- 1 tablespoon cooking fat
- 1 teaspoon salt divided
- 2 cups raw spinach
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pesto
- 1 lb ground meat
- Heat a skillet on medium heat. Cut the zucchini into cubes and saute in skillet with 1 tablespoon cooking fat and ½ teaspoon salt until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. For the last couple of minutes, add the spinach into the skillet to cook with the zucchini.
- Once the zucchini and spinach are cooked, add the zucchini, spinach, and 1½ tablespoons pesto to the food processor (or finely chop). Taste vegetable mixture and add more salt if desired. Depending on the pesto you use, this might be too salty: If it is, use less than a teaspoon of salt when adding to the ground beef in the next step. Let the mixture cool completely.
- In a large bowl, mix the ground meat and remaining teaspoon of salt. Gradually incorporate vegetable mixture into the ground meat. Add as much as you can while still being able to form your burgers as normal.*If you end up adding too much vegetable mixture, don’t worry! Just form your burgers and cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Cook burgers 5 minutes each side or cook to your preference. Cooking times vary depending on your what time of meat you are using.
- Optional: Eat with leftover sauteed zucchini over a spinach salad.
Meet the Hosts
Alane has kept her 40 lb weight loss off since 2013, and created BurgerFit and Cooking with My Friends as a way to get her family eating better. Her health journey started in 2012 after being diagnosed with high blood pressure and obesity. Frustrated and determined, Alane decided to make small, sustainable changes in her diet so that it would be maintainable for a lifetime. Now Alane maintains a healthy weight range and has incorporated quick and easy recipes that keep her picky family members eating better!
Melissa Haithcock is a blogger, photographer, writer, recipe developer, stylist, and speaker that lives in the Nashville area.
How We Met
Just looking at Melissa’s Instagram feed, I was immediately blown away by what all she is able to do while taking care of her son! I love her bright and happy photos of what she cooks and the time she spends with her family. I am always inspired seeing moms that are so organized in their home and their business while still raising their children. She really does do it all and with elegance. I was super excited to meet her in-person, see her beautifully decorated house, and shoot an episode with her (and her chickens in her backyard!).