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Diabetes-Friendly Cookout Week: Simmerin’ Sliders

Mini hamburgers? Mmmm ...

Laura KolodjeskiLaura Kolodjeski

At many restaurants these days, you can almost always count on seeing mini hamburgers, also known as “sliders,” on the menu. Whether it’s an upscale restaurant in New York City serving the hippest of sliders with exotic toppings and fancy bread, or a local bar and grill in the suburbs – sliders have definitely caught the attention of the American foodie.

So for the main dish in our week of Labor Day cookout recipes, I have a wonderful recipe for sliders with caramelized onions, which will go perfectly with our first two dishes, spinach dip in a pumpernickel loaf and dilled cucumber salad.

This dish is also wonderful for a Labor Day cookout because your guests don’t need a big cumbersome entrée a slider is the perfect size that allows your guests to be easily mobile. While the creation of a slider isn’t rocket science, how you season your meat, the toppings and bread you use can really impact the meal’s nutrition and taste.

If you’re looking to impress, top quality ingredients go a long way. Finding farm-to-market beef or other meats, locally made bread and locally grown produce is quite easy for most people these days. Try using them for this cookout and see if your friends or family notice the difference.

Sliders with Caramelized Onions


2 tsp canola oil
3 cups thinly sliced Vidalia, Maui, or other sweet onion
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste (divided use)
12 oz lean ground beef sirloin
1 Tbsp organic ketchup
1 1/2 tsp steak sauce
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
6 (1 1/2 oz) soft whole grain or other soft dinner rolls
6-12 organic baby arugula leaves (optional)


1. Preheat broiler or grill. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

2. In a medium bowl, add the beef, ketchup, steak sauce, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper and combine with your hands until just mixed. Form into 6 burgers.

3. Grill burgers for 1 minute per side or until medium well. Tip: These burgers are smaller than your average 1/4 lb burgers, so keep a close eye on how fast they cook. It’s easy to overcook them and dry them out, so stay close to the grill.

4. Remove from heat and let the burgers sit for 3 to 5 minutes before placing in buns. Top each beef patty with about 2 Tbsp caramelized onion and 1 to 2 arugula leaves (if you like). Serve with additional organic ketchup or other condiment of choice. Also feel free to top with cheese (will change nutritional information).

Nutritional Information

The serving size is one burger.

Calories:   210
Calories from Fat: 52
Total Fat:  6 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol:  20 mg
Sodium:  450 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 24 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Sugars:  5 g
Protein:  15 g

As the Association explains, this recipe may not necessarily be appropriate for all people living with diabetes. So, it’s important to talk to your certified diabetes educator and/or nutrition educator to help design a holiday meal plan that’s right for you!

Hope you and your guests enjoy the sliders; and, feel free to share your grilling tips and favorite diabetes-friendly dishes in the comments below. Alright, now is the time to get excited, because tomorrow I share a recipe from my favorite course – dessert!

Happy grilling!

Laura K.


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