Try a burger with a healthy difference on your fast days with this delicious and easy recipe from Laura Herring, author of The Fast Days Cookbook

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You won’t believe these are so low in calories – they have all the taste but less than half the calories of a regular burger and virtually none of the fat! The quinoa-meat combo also gives you a double whammy of protein, meaning you’ll feel totally full and satisfied.

OK, so on non-fast days (or for your non-fasting family) these are great in a bun rather than the lettuce cups, although eating them without the bun does allow you to taste all the flavours more clearly. Mayonnaise is also a good addition and you can sprinkle a tablespoon of Parmesan shavings over when they go in the oven for extra crispness.

The burgers are great to freeze and have ready to go. Once you have shaped them, freeze them on their tray until hard, then pop in a freezer bag. Defrost fully before cooking in the oven as normal.

Makes 8 (serve 1 or 2 burgers per person) | 135 Kcal


70 g (2½ oz/ ¹⁄³ cup) mixed red and white quinoa
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) 5% fat minced (ground) pork
3 cm (1 in) piece ginger, grated
3 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1½ teaspoons harissa
1 tablespoon tamari
juice of ½ lime
freshly ground black pepper

+40 For the courgette (zucchini) chips
4 courgettes (zucchinis), cut into wedges
salt and freshly ground black pepper

+20 Tomato salsa
4 small tomatoes, chopped
2 spring onions (scallions), chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 large lettuce leaves


Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 375 ml (13 fl oz/1½ cups) cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until soft and fluffy. Keep an eye on the quinoa, so it doesn’t dry out.

Meanwhile, put the pork mince in a large bowl with the ginger, spring onions, smoked paprika, harissa, tamari and lime juice and season with pepper (no salt).

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas mark 5). Line a baking tray with baking paper.

When the quinoa is cooked, drain, run under cold water to cool, and add to the pork.

Mix together with your hands. Shape into eight patties using wet hands and place on the prepared tray. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes. Check they are properly cooked all the way through (no pink at all).

When the burgers are in the oven, arrange the courgette wedges on a separate tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for the rest of the burger cooking time – about 35 minutes.
They should be cooked through and a little bit brown. They won’t be crispy.

Meanwhile, make the salsa by mixing the tomato and spring onions together in a bowl with a little salt and pepper.

Serve the burgers in the lettuce leaves with the chips and salsa.

This recipe is an extract from  The Fast Days Cookbook by Laura Herring  (Hardie Grant £12.99 RRP). Photography by Danielle Wood

Like this? You might also like  Laura Herring's courgette fritter recipe

Find out more about the  5:2 diet here  and discover great recipe ideas and  5:2 meal plans