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Summer Caprese Burgers with Pesto Mayo

You don’t have to imagine combining refreshing Caprese salad with juicy char-grilled burgers; we’ve done it. Heat up the grill, pluck ingredients from your garden, and enjoy this summer’s ultimate hookup.

Close up of summer caprese burger with pesto mayo.

When the garden meets the grill.

We love a good ol’ classic burger in this house—but sometimes it’s fun to shake things up! So, we took some inspiration from one of our favorite summer small plates and did exactly that. The result: these juicy Summer Caprese Burgers. Grilled grass-fed beef patties are topped with pillowy Buffalo mozzarella, thick tomato slices, fresh basil leaves, and a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze. This is a dinner that brings the aroma of the grill and the freshness of the garden right to your plate to create the perfect summer dinner.

How to make our Summer Caprese Burgers with Pesto Mayo.

Glass mixing bowl filled with raw beef and other patty ingredients before being mixed.

Wooden board topped with fresh basil, mozzarella, tomatoes, and a serving bowl of pesto mayo.

This burger might look fancy, but it couldn’t be easier to throw together. For the patty, I’ve tweaked my usual burger recipe just a tad.

Here’s what you’ll want to have on hand:

  • grass-fed ground chuck
  • kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic cloves
  • fresh oregano, or dry if that’s all you have
  • onion
  • tomato paste
  • balsamic glaze
  • panko bread crumbs

For toppings, you’ll need the following:

  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Balsamic glaze (not to be confused with balsamic vinegar, but if you only have balsamic vinegar, you can reduce it to a thick and sticky glaze).

Aerial view of burgers stacked with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil with a side of pesto mayo.

Prepare a baking pan or plate by placing a sheet of parchment on top. Then, using your (clean!) bare hands, mix all of the burger ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Divide the mixture into four even patties, placing each on your parchment-covered surface. Create a thumbprint in the center of each patty—this prevents the patties from shrinking on the grill. Once the patties are formed, place them in the fridge for about 20 minutes or until you’re ready to fire up that grill.

For the pesto mayo, mix 4 tablespoons of good quality mayo with 2 tablespoons of your favorite pesto, and slather about a tablespoon over the inner part of each top bun. You could also slather it on the bottom bun allowing the pesto mayo to hit your palate first. It’s pretty glorious that way.

When grilling your patties, you want high heat and well-oiled grates. That way you’ll get a nice char on the exterior with a beautiful juicy pink center. That’s assuming medium-rare or medium is what you’re gunning for. We won’t judge you for eating your burgers well done (or will we?), but we recommend cooking each side for 4 minutes per side, and no longer than six. For a nice medium-rare burger, aim for an internal temperature of 130-135º F; for medium, go for 140-145º F.

Two Summer Caprese Burgers on a wooden serving board.

What should I serve on the side?

Fries! Fries are never a bad idea when it comes to burgers. But here are a few other ides:

Let us know what you think!

If you plan on making this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme.

Summer Caprese Burgers with Pesto Mayo

Combine Caprese salad with juicy char-grilled burgers! Heat up the grill, pluck ingredients from your garden, and enjoy this summer's ultimate hookup.
Course Main
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword burgers, caprese, grilling, summer
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Refrigerating time: 20 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Dana Sandonato

Ingredients

Summer Caprese Burgers.

  • 1 lb ground chuck preferably grass fed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried oregano or dried Italian herbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 tsp balsamic glaze See notes*
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 4 Hamburger buns
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella ball, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Balsamic glaze *See notes

Pesto Mayo.

  • 4 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP basil pesto

Instructions

Summer Caprese Burgers.

  • Place all of the burger patty ingredients, from the ground chuck through to the panko bread crumbs, into a large mixing bowl. With your bare clean hands, mix the ingredients until combined.
  • Prepare a baking sheet or large plate by placing a sheet of parchment paper over top. Form four even patties from the meat mixture and place them onto the parchment-covered surface. Make an indent/thumbprint in the center of the patties with your thumb. This will prevent the patties from shrinking while being cooked. Place the patties in the fridge for about 20 minutes or until ready to grill.
  • Heat the grill to high. Make sure your grill is clean. Brush the grates with a bit of oil (use and oil with a high smoke point, like olive, avocado, canola oil, etc.)
  • Place the patties onto the grill. For medium-rare burgers that are about an inch thick, cook for 4 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 130-135°; for a medium cook, aim for an internal temperature of 140-145º F.
  • When done, place the patties onto a burger bun and top with a slice of fresh mozzarella, a drizzle of balsamic glaze, a slice of tomato, and some fresh basil leaves. Smear some pesto mayo on the inside of your top bun, and enjoy.

Pesto mayo.

  • In a small bowl, mix together 4 tablespoons of mayo with 2 tablespoons of basil pesto until well combined.

Notes

*Balsamic Glaze is not the same thing as balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is much more runny, tart, and less sweet. If you don't have balsamic glaze, you can easily make it with balsamic vinegar. Simply bring 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to a boil over the stovetop, and let it simmer until the mixture has reduced to 1/4 cup. The liquid will now be much thicker and have a stickier consistency.

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