There’s nothing better for a quick summer dinner than grilled burger. No need to turn on the oven, just turn on the grill and you’ve got a simple dinner that won’t make you sweat any more than you already are. Add some of the best paleo condiments, like my Maple Balsamic Onion Jam, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic meal!
There’s only one problem with this burger heaven: the condiments! Finding the best paleo condiments isn’t always easy. And what begins as a nutrient-dense meal packed with protein and some healthy fats, can become a refined sugar- and rancid seed oil-laden nightmare faster than you can say, “pass the ketchup.”
I know, I’m being such a drag. But unfortunately, the paleo burger toppings we all know and love to slather on our (bunless) patties can really hinder our best health. But never fear, while I may spend the next few hundred words tearing apart some BBQ favorites, I’ll be sharing a recipe for a new paleo condiment- that Maple Balsamic Onion Jam I name-dropped earlier- you’re going to want to put on everything.
All right, let’s begin with our dear friend, ketchup. A single tablespoon of most grocery store ketchups have four grams of sugar. And who on earth can eat just one tablespoon of ketchup?
Put just two tablespoons of ketchup on your burger and you’re already about two-thirds of the way to 25 grams of sugar, the daily limit for adults recommended by the World Health Organization.
Now let’s talk relish. Sweet relish has about three grams of sugar per one tablespoon serving- in just 20 calories! Much like it’s good buddy ketchup, relish isn’t typically doled out with single tablespoon scoops at backyard picnics. One tablespoon is barely enough to top a single hot dog for goodness sake!
Now on to a personal favorite of mine: mayonnaise. I grew up eating Light Miracle Whip and for years believed myself superior to the hoards of people spreading mayo on their sandwiches and burgers. But then I grew up, opened my mind to new experiences and realized mayo is like heaven on a gluten-free bun.
Unfortunately, the kind of mayo you’re likely stumbling upon at your neighborhood block party is often packed with highly processed, refined seed oils- most commonly, canola oil. Canola oil, produced from the rapeseed plant, was used for years as an industrial oil to make everything from candles and soap to inks and even insecticides. To be used as a cooking oil, the rapeseed plant must be heavily produced.
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit nutrition education foundation, canola oil goes through the process of refining, bleaching and degumming- all of which involve high temperatures or added chemicals.
Because canola oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can easily become rancid when exposed to high temperatures, it must be deodorized- a process that actually removes many of these beneficial omega-3 fatty acids from the finished product. When you use canola oil in your kitchen, high cooking temperatures can break the oil down even more, causing inflammation and other nasty symptoms in your body.
Unfortunately, seed oils are everywhere in store-bought mayo. Even mayonnaise touted as being made with olive oil typically list canola or soybean oil in their ingredients– in bigger quantities than that olive oil they’re charging you an extra dollar for!
Ok, now that I’ve completed rained on your cook-out parade, it’s time to make you feel better about your burger options. I’m sharing with you my absolute favorite condiment for burgers, breakfast sandwiches, cheese and crackers- literally anything!
My Maple-Balsamic Onion Jam uses only a few ingredients: fresh thyme, onions, balsamic vinegar and pure maple syrup. While it does contain sugar, it’s not the refined white stuff and it’s minimal (assuming you can control yourself from eating this with a spoon).
While this recipe does take some time to make in order to properly caramelize the onions, it is WELL worth the effort, I promise. Just make sure you follow the recipe and don’t add any salt to the onions until the end: they won’t get perfectly caramelized if you salt them first!
So make a big batch of this paleo Onion Jam and treat yourself to a burger bar this weekend! And don’t feel too bad if you add a little mayo, too. We need to live a little, right?