How to Improve the Taste and Nutrition of Ground Beef

How to Improve the Taste and Nutrition of Ground BeefGround beef is one of the staple meats of American cooking. It’s the main ingredient in everything from hamburgers to meatloaf and is a primary ingredient in many other dishes as well. Unlike steaks and other beef cuts, you can’t just trim the fat out of ground beef because it’s mixed it with the meat but there’s still plenty of ways to turn it into a healthier dish while making it taste even better.

Leaner ground beef is much healthier but also costs much more. 95/5 (95% lean / 5% fat) can cost twice as much per pound as 80/20 ground beef at some stores. 90/10 and 85/5 are a nice middle ground between fat content, cost, and flavor. Use a leaner ground beef for dishes that will be sitting in their own juices; higher fat content is good for a barbecue or other dishes where the fat drips or drains away from the meat. Using very lean meat on a barbecue can actually lead to dried out burgers.

Mixing other ingredients in with the ground beef is an excellent way to reduce the overall fat content of the dish and increase the nutrients in the meal. Chopped onions are popular, as they add a distinct flavor to the meat, but almost any vegetable will work well including broccoli, carrots or green beans. Vegetables must be chopped very finely and mixed in well or else the beef will fall apart. Maintaining at least three ounces of beef for every ounce of vegetables will leave you with a much more nutritious meal without drastically changing the taste or texture. Some vegetables, such as spinach, can be added in larger amounts to the beef without it breaking apart.

In many dishes, ground beef is mixed with eggs, bread crumbs, and various sauces to add flavor but sacrifice nutrition in the process. When possible, use spices instead of sauces to enhance taste; having a variety of spices on hand is a great way to experiment with new and unique flavors. Try mixing the spices up every time you make a dish and you’ll never get tired of it. Instead of bread crumbs, which usually have some fat in them, use crushed up cereal such as corn flakes. If you find you do need to use a specific ingredient, see if a low fat or light version is available.

Almost any ground beef dish can be improved by adding vegetables and spices, or by changing up the ingredients you already mix into the dish without sacrificing flavor. If you find yourself unsure, start out small. Add just a little spinach the next time you make hamburgers; if you find you like it, add a little more each time until the flavor of the beef starts to disappear or the burgers no longer hold together. Ground beef is versatile meat with few limitations on what you can add to make a healthier and more delicious meal.


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