Beef Burgers with Watercress Pesto

Swap in watercress for basil for a tasty pesto topping over Rach’s latest burger!


  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into slices 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided, plus additional for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Drizzle
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 thick-cut slices Italian bread
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, 1 clove chopped and 1 left whole


Pre-heat the oven to 275ºF.

Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle them with a little EVOO and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven for 1 hour, then turn the oven up to 325ºF for another 30 minutes until the tomatoes are light golden brown. Remove from the oven and reserve.

Turn off the oven and pre-heat the broiler.

When the tomatoes are ready, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. While the pan heats up, combine the ground sirloin, Balsamic Drizzle, Worcestershire sauce, parsley and some salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Combine the ingredients and shape the mixture into four patties. Drop the burgers into the hot pan and cook until seared and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. When you flip the burgers, lay a slice of provolone over each patty to melt.

While the burgers are cooking, set up a food processor. In the bowl, combine the watercress, walnuts, lemon juice, chopped garlic and some salt and pepper. Pulse the machine a few times to chop everything up and then turn on the machine and stream in the remaining 1/4 cup EVOO until it forms a smooth pesto.

When everything is almost ready, place the bread slices on a baking sheet and pop them under the broiler until toasted. When they come out of the broiler, rub the toasted sides with the whole clove of garlic and give them a drizzle of EVOO and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

To assemble, layer the burgers with a couple slices of roasted tomato and a good dollop of pesto between two slices of toasted bread.

This is one of many “Yum-o!” recipes – it’s good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael’s nonprofit organization, go to

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Rachael Ray