sirloin beef sliders with taleggio & pancetta

It’s a burger, loaded with all the goodies and packed with flavor, made small enough to fit in the palm on your hand and destined to be devoured in two bites. Need I say more?

These super sliders are so irresistible, you seriously can’t eat just one. The burgers are made with ground sirloin and get an extra flavor punch from the garlic, parsley, tomato paste, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s grilled and topped with a generous slice of Taleggio cheese, a light drizzle of sweet, reduced balsamic vinegar, crisp pancetta, a dollop of creamy avocado purée and some fresh baby arugula for that little extra bite. It’s a mouthful of flavor, no doubt.

Taleggio cheese is a semi-soft Italian cheese that smells incredibly strong, but tastes surprisingly mild. It melts very easily on the burger and even easier in your mouth =P Smooth and buttery, it’s even good just spread on a fresh baguette. Pancetta is an Italian dry-cured meat, similar to bacon, as I’m sure most of you know, but it’s not smoked and usually rolled up and sliced, giving us the perfect shape and size for our super sliders. Most of the flavors are Italian, but there’s a main ingredient that’s pure Californian… California-grown Haas avocados =) I chose to purée the avocados instead of just slicing them since avocado slices are prone to falling out and the sliders just wouldn’t be the same without creamy avocado in every bite.

Oh, and don’t forget about what brings it all together… the buns! You can make decent sliders with regular dinner rolls or plain mini burger buns, but it’s just so SO good with Hawaiian sweet rolls =D And yes, I’m talking about the King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls. They have just the right amount of sweetness that pairs really well with all the other flavors going on and make a much better slider than a dry dinner roll.

Prepare these sliders as directed and try not to leave out any ingredients. I bet you everybody will be gathering around the kitchen or outside by the grill just waiting for more. It’s a real crowd pleaser, so be sure to make enough to go twice around… at least ;)

SERVINGS 12 sliders



1/4 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, peeled and degermed
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/2 ounce)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound ground sirloin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 slices Taleggio cheese (about 4 1/2 ounces)
12 slices pancetta, thinly sliced (about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 small ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup loosely packed baby arugula
12 Hawaiian sweet rolls



Cutting board
Chef’s knife (See the Guide)
Bread knife
Food processor
Small saucepan
Grill pan
Tongs or a spatula
Mixing bowls
Paper towel
Bamboo or wooden skewers



  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, gently simmer the balsamic vinegar until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  • Place the avocados and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Rinse the food processor bowl.
  • Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
  • In the same food processor bowl, add the parsley, garlic, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the ground sirloin, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Pulse just until ingredients are combined. Form the mixture into 12 small patties, about 1/2-inch thick.
  • Grill pancetta slices until crisp, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside and keep warm.
  • Place patties on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side until cooked through. When the patties are just about done, top with a slice of Taleggio cheese. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Slice the rolls in half and lightly toast on the grill, cut-side down, for less than 1 minute.
  • To assemble the sliders, lay out the bottoms of the toasted sweet rolls. Place a patty on top of each, drizzle with balsamic reduction, top with a slice of pancetta and a dollop of avocado purée. Garnish with baby arugula. Secure the tops of the toasted sweet rolls using short bamboo or wooden skewers. Enjoy immediately!

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