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Low sodium banh mi burger

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

This banh mi inspired burger is a ground pork lemongrass patty (any ground meat will work) on a low sodium bun topped with crunchy pickled carrots, daikon, and chilis, some fresh cucumbers and cilantro. I finish it off with a homemade sriracha-inspired mayo. It's all made from scratch and can be a bit of work, but it's really worth it! I make the patties on the day we're eating them but everything else is made days in advance.

This is one of my favorite low sodium meals. It comes in at about 100 mg of sodium for the whole burger but if you can tolerate more sodium, make things easier and use a store-bought bun and sauces. The pickled carrots and daikon are really easy and they'll keep for at least two weeks in the refrigerator so I'd stick to using homemade to cut down on the sodium there.

Servings: Makes 4 quarter-pound patties Sodium: About 80 mg sodium per patty, about 100 mg per burger if you use all the low sodium options below Time: 30 minutes for the patties

Pork Patty Ingredients:

1 pound ground pork (15-20% fat)

1 tablespoon minced shallots

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 teaspoons minced lemongrass

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon white sugar

1 teaspoon salt-free mustard

2 teaspoons molasses

2 teaspoons sherry or rice vinegar

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or chili garlic sauce (optional)

Additional Ingredients:

Cilantro (mint, shiso, and Thai basil are great, too!)

Cucumbers, sliced thin

Fresh jalapeños, sliced thin

Recipes for the buns and toppings are here:

To make the patties - in a microwave safe bowl, stir together the minced shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and sesame oil and microwave for about 30 seconds until soft and fragrant. Alternatively, you could use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of onion powder and skip this microwaving step. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the pork to the garlic/shallot mixture to create the marinade. Then add the ground pork to the marinade and gently combine just until the marinade is evenly mixed into the meat. Don't overwork the meat or it will become crumbly.

Divide the meat into 4 and form into patties. I like to make mine about 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick. These don't really need to marinade, you can cook them up right away or leave them covered and refrigerated for a few hours if you need to prepare something else.

When you're ready, cook the patties on a grill or on the stovetop in a heavy bottomed skillet. In an oiled skillet, cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. On a grill (my preference), oil the grates and start the patties on high heat, close the lid, and then turn the heat down to low. Once the patties have grill marks and release easily from the grates (about 4-5 minutes), flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes, covered, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

Serve these hot with whatever (toasted!) buns, toppings and sauces work for you. Cilantro, cucumbers, and jalapeños are typical banh mi toppings. We have to keep these really low sodium so I make my own buns, toppings and sauces a day (or more) in advance so it's not so overwhelming. I'd say the most labor intensive part is the buns, followed by the hot sauce so if you opt for store-bought, that's where you'll save the most time. The mayonnaise and pickled carrots/daikon are pretty quick and worth making. For my low sodium sriracha-inspired mayonnaise, I just mix a little bit of my Asian-inspired hot sauce with my low sodium mayo.

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