Chicken Satay Burgers (Paleo, Whole30)

Satay—marinated meat that’s grilled on a skewer and served with cucumbers and peanut sauce—originated in Java, but it’s a popular street food all over Indonesia and Holland. It’s also a ubiquitous appetizer on the menus of Thai restaurants in the United States.

Let’s be honest:

The best part is the creamy, salty-sweet sauce.

This recipe transforms the deliciously contrasting and irresistible flavors of satay into a version that’s paleo- and Whole30-friendly—and super-easy to make in your home kitchen.

Chicken Satay Burgers

Serves 2–4 | Total time: 30–35 minutes

  • 1 large head cauliflower

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken

  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 lime

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 1 large seedless cucumber

  • 1/4 medium red onion

Satay Sauce:
  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

  • garnish: cilantro leaves


Make the rice. Break the cauliflower into florets, removing the stems. Place the florets in the food processor bowl and pulse until the cauliflower looks like rice, about 10 pulses. Place the coconut oil in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and salt, toss with a rubber spatula until the rice is coated with the oil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Leave it alone while you go about the rest of your business.


Shape the burgers. Combine the ground chicken, fish sauce, salt, pepper, and baking soda in a large bowl. Squeeze the lime juice into the bowl; the baking soda will fizz. Mix well to combine, then divide the chicken into 4 equal portions and flatten them into patties.


Cook the burgers. Place the coconut oil in a large, nonstick skillet and warm it over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the burgers and cook, undisturbed, for 3–4 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown. While the burgers cook, thinly slice the cucumber and onion; set aside. Flip the burgers and cook them for another 3–4 minutes. This is a good time to stir the cauliflower rice; replace the lid. When the burgers are browned on both sides, cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low.


Make the Satay Sauce. Smash and peel the garlic and place it in the bowl of the food processor. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and whirl until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure all the sunflower seed butter is incorporated.


Check the rice and burgers. Remove the lid from the cauliflower rice, give it a stir, and turn off the heat. Check the chicken burgers; they should be cooked through and golden on the outside. (Juices should run clear when poked with a fork.)


To serve, mound some cauliflower rice on individual plates and place a burger patty on top of each. Arrange cucumber and onion slices on top of that, then drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with cilantro.


You Know How You Could Do That?

Add sliced hard-boiled eggs to the top of the burger and/or sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes. You could also replace the ground chicken with ground beef, pork, or lamb.

Cookup Tips:

Rice the cauliflower, cut up the raw veggies, and make the sauce in advance; store in separate airtight containers in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, cook the rice and burgers, then assemble.

Print this recipe
SB&J Burger

Dave and I enjoyed many fine meals while we were at the Ancestral Healthy Symposium: among them were Animal with our paleo foodie friends and...

Read More
Chicken Shawarma

There are combo-shops that sell döner kebabs and pizza on every other corner in Prague's city center, and the luscious smells—a unique combination of hot fat...

Read More