No Bun Burgers with Ancho Chili Sauce

In my recent quest for keto-friendly recipes, I exhausted myself trying to find something fun online to make for dinner. Rather than settle for someone else’s recipe, I created something of my own with some ingredients already in my kitchen. Fresh Ancho Chiles from the Cooper Young Community Farmers Market, dried Arbol peppers, onions and garlic combined with some fresh summer tomatoes and ground chuck from the grocery for a tasty dinner.

I craved a beefy burger and Mexican food at the time. I could have made a pot of beef chili, but I really wanted a burger. I opted for both: a vegetable chili sauce served over burgers with lots of different garnishes.

I made patties with the ground chuck with oregano, ground Ancho chili powder, cumin, salt and black pepper and popped them in the fridge while I pursued the second track of this recipe.

To make peeling them easier, I made a thin cross-cut from the bottom of each tomato and boiled them for a minute to loosen the skin.

I started the sauce with the onion, chiles and garlic in some olive oil, added chopped tomato and the same dry spices from the burger. Halfway through cooking the sauce, I realized the sauce needed to be thicker in consistency to drape over the burger. I stirred in some tomato paste which added density and a rich red hue.

After frying the burgers in butter in my iron skillet, I plated them with sauce on top with sour cream, Monterey Jack cheese and cilantro. Paul picked out a ruby-red 2017 Domaine de Mus Carmenere from France – Languedoc-Roussillon with spicy and flowery notes which paired well with the zesty chili sauce.

This dish made a great alternative chili. Cooking the burger separately to a medium rare preserved more beef flavor that would have been lost if thoroughly cooked for chili. Adding the same spices to the meat helped marry the beef to the chili sauce. I’d make this dish again, so I’m sharing the recipe here.

No Bun Burgers with Ancho Chili Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print


Chili Sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3-4 fresh Ancho chile pepper, chopped and seeded
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 whole dried Arbol chiles
  • 4 large red tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ancho chili pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Ancho chili pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Sour cream, shredded cheese and chopped cilantro for garnish



  1. Heat oil in a medium size pot. Add onion, fresh Anchos and dried Arbol chiles. Sauté for 3-4 minutes in medium heat.
  2. Add garlic stir for one minute until fragrant. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and dried spices. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for at least 20 minutes. Stir periodically.
  3. Combine ground chuck and spices and make 4 patties.
  4. Heat butter I cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add burgers when butter begins to turn foamy. Cool for 4 minutes on each side. Remove and cover.
  5. Plate each burger and add a heaping half cup of chili sauce on one side. Garnish with Monterey Jack cheese (or Mexican white cheese), sour cream, and cilantro. Serve with sliced avocado.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.