With July 4th falling smack dab in the middle of the week this year, we’ll miss having a three day weekend to really feel like we’re getting a summer holiday. On the other hand, having an Independence Day celebration on a Wednesday feels like such a little treat to get us through the week.

July in DC is hot, hot, hot, so we plan to spend as much time as possible at the neighborhood pool, where the heat seems to just slip away. We’ll stay hydrated by sipping Watermelon Mint Lemonade  and Mango Lime Coolers  and for a summery meal we’ll enjoy this twist on all-American hamburgers, and serve them with a Greek Chopped Salad.

I love these burgers, adapted from a Success Rice recipe, because the spices and slaw make them super flavorful, and the brown rice mixed in with the meat makes them extra healthy.

Here’s a tip for slicing cabbage for the slaw: Cut the cabbage in half first, from top to bottom, then quarter it so you can easily remove the core.  Lay the cabbage flat on the cutting board for easy and safe chopping and use a sharpened chef’s knife to slice the cabbage thinly from top to bottom.

Recipe: Zesty Southwestern Burgers with Cilantro Slaw

  • Prep Time: 20 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 12 min(s)
  • Total Time: 32 min(s)
  • Servings: 6

Enjoy this twist on all-American hamburgers


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quick-cooking brown rice
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 3 Tbsp. cilantro, minced (or use scallions)
  • 1/3 cup light ranch dressing
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 6 whole wheat hamburger buns


  1. Prepare the rice according to the package directions. Drain it and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes to cool.
  2. To make the cilantro slaw, in a large bowl, combine the cabbage, cilantro, ranch dressing and honey. Refrigerate it until ready to serve (can be made up to 24 hours in advance).
  3. In a large bowl, using your hands, thoroughly combine the meat, rice, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and cumin (can be made up to 24 hours in advance).
  4. Form the meat mixture into 6 round flat patties. Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet or heavy skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray over medium to medium-high heat. Cook the patties for 10 – 12 minutes, turning once or twice, until they are cooked through (and have an internal temperature of 165 degrees).
  5. To serve, place each patty on a bun, toasted if desired, and top it with a spoonful of the slaw.

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