Nutrition, Recipes, Wellness

3 Veggie Alternatives to Hamburger Buns

Dominic Perri for TOPS Club, Inc.

I’ve come to accept that zucchini noodles will never really be pasta, and cauliflower “rice” will never really be rice. For me, it’s not about pretending that vegetables can completely replace carb-heavy favorites like pasta or rice. Instead, it’s about getting out of a food rut by trying new things and switching up your old standbys. If you’re looking for a way to cut back on carbs, while still enjoying your favorite summer staples, try one of these replacements for the traditional hamburger bun or bread.

Tomato – Cut the core out of tomato, then cut the tomato in half crosswise. Using a spoon, scoop out most of the seeds and pulp. Fill the tomato halves with your favorite chicken or tuna salad or use in place of a hamburger bun. It may get a little messy, but that’s all the more reason to dine outside and enjoy the summer sunshine.

Portobello mushrooms – If you’d rather save your carbs or starch exchanges for dessert, try using portobello mushrooms instead of a bun. Remove the stems from the mushroom caps first, then broil or drizzle with oil and place on the grill. Add your favorite hamburger, turkey burger or veggie burger and top with sizzling onions, greens and a slice of avocado.

Eggplant – Bake or grill thick slices of eggplant, and season with salt and pepper or your favorite herbs and spices. If you’re skipping meat altogether, fill the eggplant with your favorite melty cheese, roasted tomatoes, grilled onions and pea shoots.

If you have ideas for replacing starchy foods with vegetables, I’d love to hear about them. Comment below!

36 thoughts on “3 Veggie Alternatives to Hamburger Buns

    1. My lunch yesterday was tuna salad (half the fat mayo and lime juice) on a cucumber. I took a half of a cucumber, sliced in length wise scooped out some seeds and filled one side with the tuna added spinach on top then a few slices of tomato. So good! So juicy and a bit messy but delicious!

  1. My hubby and I enjoy eating “BZT” sandwiches, the “Z” stands for zucchini, in place of lettuce in the classic BLT. ☺️

    We still use bread, not the traditional white bread, but rather, a whole multi-grain. We think the zucchini swap not only is more nutritious than lettuce but also tastier!

  2. Breakfast Fast!
    I use a large soup cup sprayed with olive oil. Add broccoli slaw, onion, etc. then break an egg over it. Circle the egg and vegies with egg white. Stir in a teaspoon of water and one Laughing Cow cheese. Season to taste. I use dill or basil. Cook in microwave for 1:30 mins.
    It comes out nice and firm. You can wrap it up and take it for lunch too.

    1. Iola, You put the soup can in the microwave. Sounds really good just confused about can in microwave.
      Judy Kubiak
      CA0764 Chatsworth

  3. I like to use yams instead of bread, You slice them and put them on the grill or in the toaster. Remember don’t peel them

    1. That’s very creative, Roberta! TOPS has a similar recipe for Southwestern Sweet Potato Rounds. This recipe uses sweet potato slices as the “bread” and is filled with black beans and avocado. You can find the recipe in the Members Area of under Healthy Eating & Recipes/Recipes/Vegetarian if you’re interested in trying it out.

  4. Those large bakery burger buns are roughly 230 calories so using Portobello mushrooms is really great. They have an amazing taste to them, too.

    1. Have you tried the morning rounds whole grain and raisin low cal buns. These are delicious with any veggie or fruit and a drop or two of balsamic vinegar. The taste blend is also great with egg salad, or a microwave egg, a slice of onion and a slice of tomato..

  5. Tomato buns stuffed with tuna salad, mixed veggies and baco bits are good spread for tomato buns and also the sweet onion seasoned turkey burger cut in half. Each half will fit on two tomato buns. Condiments can be capers, low fat mayo,sour cream or plain low fat yogurt are deliciously mixed tastes with these burgers.

  6. I truly Love the idea of portobello mushrooms as a bun!!!!! The eggplant “grilled cheese” idea is awesome as well!!!

  7. I’ve been struggling a little, lately. Then, I read three Veggie alternatives instead of hamburger buns. This info gave me the reason I initially joined TOPS, to Take Off Pounds Sensibly. We all do that by looking for healthier ways to eat vs what we use to do. I love sweet potatoes, portobello mushrooms,tomatoes. eggplant, zucchini, etc. But, today, I’ve learned to eat the foods I enjoy in a healthier way.

  8. My Fitness Pal App give 50% of calories for carbs, so the best plan is to eat healthy carbs, You need enough. I eat 100% bread and for sandwiches there are Tortillas and 100 calorie buns.I also eat 100% whole grain pasta. I also eat boiled sweet potatoes and white potatoes. I find boiled potatoes are easy to make in the summer and winter and are moist without added fat.

  9. Not quite the same kind of sandwich, but I enjoy eating
    Wasa crispbread with toppings. The light rye is especially
    easy on carbs.

  10. Lettuce, low carb tortillas….I like them both. Add cheese, onions, jalapenos. I don’t eat regular buns any more.

  11. A friend introduced me to Cauliflower rounds. You need to toast them on the grill but they are pretty good. I had it with a turkey burger, a little lettuce and tomato and a slice of cheese. It was pretty tasty.

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