Apple and Arugula Bison Burgers

This recipe reminds me of my Sage Bison Burgers with Balsamic Bacon Apple Chutney I made back in the day. Apple and meat goes together so well. It’s just a fact.

This puppy of mine, Jackson, has been absolutely wonderful. If you’ve seen my instagram lately, you know I’m absolutely obsessed with him. Sorryimnotsorry. When trying to decide his name, I turned to instagram and asked everyone what they thought he should be named. There were over 2,000 comments, some which were awesome ones. But we ended up deciding on our own, surprisingly. We decided to go with Jackson because the boyfriend’s favorite baseball player is Bo Jackson and then we could also call him Jack Bauer (which is my last name and the star of 24 if you’ve ever watched that show). I’ve never watched it, but everyone thinks they’re hilarious when they ask if I’m related to Jack Bauer, so I’ll entertain them with this one.

Jackson has been awesome. He sleeps in his crate, only cries to go to the bathroom at night, and is starting to get this whole peeing outside thing down. The only thing we are starting to go through now is the teething process. We have some great things for him to chew on, but damn are his teeth sharp. I fed him an apple slice yesterday to hopefully help him get used to being more gentle with fingers…fail. He pierced the skin. Blood and all. So my question to you dog parents (or children parents. they bite stuff, don’t they?) do you do anything to keep them from biting everything? I heard put Bengay on the things you don’t want to bite…that seems a bit unhealthy for the dog to lick though? Am I right or am I right? And I’m not really into constantly scolding him for biting at things. Not my thing. I’m more into the kissing him constantly kind of things. Advice please. Only good advice, though. Kgreatthanks.

It’s crazy how fast he’s growing up. It’s freaking me out. Is this how parents feel when their kids grow up? I don’t like it. He used to just cuddle up in my arms and want to love me constantly. Now he just wants to bite and bark at inantimate  constantly. Oh, and eat goose poop. He’s such into that. I told my boyfriend I think he’s becoming a goth teenager. Just a rebel without a cause. As soon as his ears popped up, the drama set in. But I can take it, I’m a mom now. I saw what my mother went through with me as her demon spawn…I can take it with an animal that can’t use actually words. Like the swear words I liked to use. Now look at how great he is!!



Apple and Arugula Bison Burgers

  • Yield: 4-5 1x


  • homemade sweet potato fries (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 pound ground bison (or other ground meat such as beef, turkey or chicken)
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 small green apple, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped arugula + extra for garnishing burgers
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • extra coconut oil or butter, to coat pan
  • Against the Grain gluten & grain free rolls or my breakfast biscuits


  1. Make sweet potato fries and biscuits, if preparing with your meal.
  2. In a medium saute pan, add coconut oil along with onion and a bit of salt. Coat in oil and let cook for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and brown.
  3. When onions are almost done cooking, place beef, egg, apple, arugula, garlic cloves, salt and pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl and mix well to combine.
  4. Form 4-5 patties, pressing a thumb into the middle to keep the burgers from puffing up.
  5. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add a bit of coconut oil or butter to grease the pan. Then add patties, making sure not to crowd the pan. Cook on both sides for 5-6 minutes or until patties are cooked to preference.
  6. Make patties with half of a biscuit, arugula, burger patty and onions.

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PaleOMG Apple & Arugula Bison Burgers


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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


65 thoughts on “Apple and Arugula Bison Burgers”

  1. To stop the bitting buy the teathing toys (the ones you put in the freezer) and everytime he bites something you don’t want him to tell him no and replace with a toy he can bite. Also, when he is biting you, get dramatic…he doesn’t want to hurt the people that feed him, so make sure he knows that it hurts you. And I’m sure you’ve heard this before but be consitstant!!! Love your food and your blog. And Jackson is adorable!!!!

    1. And “getting dramatic” means to yelp like an injured dog. That sound indicates that he has injured the alpha (you), and is a warning to back off. After the loud yelp, withdraw from play, so he knows it’s a deal breaker, find a suitable toy to give him, then don’t engage in play for at least 5minutes(if you can resist!), or until he seeks you out. We’ve used this with our dogs and all others we have become friends with, and it works very well with consistency.

      1. I second the ‘getting dramatic’ tip. A dog trailer told me this too. You’re supposed to make it clear, with a loud ‘OUCH’ that he has hurt you. It’s the loud noise that scares them – no hitting! Just like the pups mom would snap at him if he did it to her, you are doing the same thing. And be consistent!


  2. Redirection. Any time he’s chewing on something he shouldn’t, say No, and hand him a toy he’s allowed to chew on.

  3. There are several natural sprays you can get. Yuck! is another one. Be careful when you use them though. If you get it on your hands it is really hard to get off. Think *Eating a burger* Ew.

  4. Our pup used to go after our shoes! It was like a game and every time we moved our feet she would try and nibble. I agree the bitter apple spray works well, we would spray it right on our shoes, just about anything chewable. It is available in any pet store. Beware of leaving shoes laying around, we learned that the hard way! By the way your recipes are awesome. I’m new to paleo and I stumbled upon your site just recently. Good luck with Jackson!

  5. I wouldn’t go spraying my furniture with weird things. Frozen carrots gives them something hard and crunchy to chew on, while the cold soothes their achy little gums. We always keep a bag of carrots in the freezer for our dog to chew on. Keeps him occupied and lets him know there are things he CAN chew on and not get yelled at.

  6. I used bitter apple, but still lost an item or two when I got distracted. Mine had a fondness for Nike apparel. Tip: when it gets quiet go find him! If you catch him chewing on something approved, lots of good boys and belly rubs. Whenever I found something unapproved, usually a stern “no” and take it away worked for mine. Also, I never handed them treats, always set them in the bowl or on the floor – those darn needle teeth move fast!!!

  7. Jana de Libero

    Yay food!!!

    As far as biting… There is a spray that you can buy that is non-toxic to spray on things you don’t want him to chew on. We used it with our boxer puppy and it worked great! And didn’t stain. For biting humans, I whole-heartedly stand by making dramatic, “hurt” noises. That is how we got our boxer puppy to bite gently and it took her 2 days to learn. Basically, if she bit too hard when I gave her something, I would kind of yell, “ow!” In a high pitched voice. She took that as I was hurt and then I would try and give her the same thing again, saying ow and not giving it to her until her bite was gentle enough. Of course, give him praise when he does it right!

    He is super cute!

  8. Bitter apple spray and patience! Also a little spray bottle with water and just spray him with a little water when he is biting can go a long way. My pup quit jumping quickly once he learned about the spray bottle.

  9. Yes to the Bitter Apple Spray. I also used to take a wet washcloth , twist it around and freeze it . It was like a doggy teething ring!

  10. The burger looks good, yeah, but I’m too distracted by Jackson! He looks so cute and content on his “perch.” ;^) More puppy photos! More!

  11. HAH! This kills me. Just keep reinforcing the good habits, and smack his nose or bum when he does bad things like chew your boots. The chewing and biting got better with our dog. It was a toddler phase. He keeps his chewing to himself and his toys now.

  12. Maria is right. I have always been told to yelp like the mom when a pup bites something. And say “no bite” (or growl)then back away. He needs a good soft stuffed toy to chew and good rawhide stick.
    Burgers look good but I am on AIP and will try it without the egg.

  13. When our Boston was a puppy (she’s 10 now), we bought this stuff at the pet store that tastes really bad and put it on our table legs, etc…. Fortunately for us, Molly was more into tearing up her own stuff! Couldn’t keep a toy for anything back then. Congrats on your furbaby, he’s so precious!

  14. Don’t forget Bo Jackson also played football and had AWESOME legs…HOT! Great name!
    We used Tabasco Sauce on our kitchen furniture and door jams. Sorry I didn’t want to mess around. Watch some Dog Whisperer episodes-to get the Alpha deal. Loved the picture of him at your box.

  15. Ever seen a Kong? You can fill with gooey nut butters or specially made treats. A friend of mine froze baby food inside hers. It helped while her lab was teething. If the natural stuff doesn’t work, try the Bengay (or Tiger Balm). I’m pretty sure the smell alone will keep him away. However, keep a close eye on him. He likes goose poop. He may also like strong, minty things. I’ve also seen people fill a metal can (like a coffee can with coins & replace plastic lid. When he does something undesirable, shake the can. My friends called it the ‘naughty can’.

    1. The Kong is an excellent idea with the frozen baby food, just be careful about nuts and nut butters. Dogs don’t digest nuts very well and are high in fat. Too much fat in a dog’s diet can cause pancreatitis. I agree with the dramatic “ow” response, after raising 2 German Shepherds, I can say it really works.

  16. Definitely the bitter apple, and when you’re playing and he starts nipping, say no or eh-eh or however you scold him, and then stick his chew toy in his mouth instead…it seemed to work with my pup


  18. McKenzie Kiichler

    Reading through the comments and I absolutely agree with them all! What you can also do is baby gate off areas that you don’t want him to go near. Positive reinforcement is always good, so once you replace the bad item he’s chewing with the good item (anything else), then also give him a little treat once he’s settled into chewing on the good thing. Don’t give him a treat right away, otherwise you’ll create a behavior “I’ll chew on the bad thing, then on the good thing so I get a treat”. Make sure it’s long enough that his little puppy brain forgets he was even chewing on the bad thing!

    Also, this may have been one of your funniest posts yet. Love it!

  19. Definitely with everyone else on the kong, careful with rope toys (if they shred they them can get bound up intestinal).. also BEST ADVICE play with their feet alot, when they get bigger you will be able to clip their toenails no problem, my dog actually sits and lifts a paw and lets me clip and he’s 110 lbs.
    Unfortunately some dog LOVE to chew, it will get better once he looses those puppy teeth. 🙂

  20. Absolutely recommend the Bitter Apple spray too! My Frenchie pup is still gated off in the utility room when I can’t directly supervise her, but she I guess got bored one day and ATE THE WALL. I repaired it and sprayed the Bitter Apple on it…she went right back to the wall she likes to chew and took one taste and shook her head and backed off…hasn’t nibbled it since! Good luck!

  21. I agree with what other people are saying about replacing whatever he is not supposed to be chewing with something he can chew. Bitter apple spray is also a great suggestion. In this stage though, a lot of it is honestly training yourself as much as you are training the dog. Remembering to keep things out of reach (as much as possible). It’s so easy to slip your shoes off at the door like you normally do and then before you know it, they’re all chewed up.

    Personalities vary and what works with someone elses dog might not have any effect on yours. My parents have several dogs and some have to be trained differently because they have a different personality.

    I am by no means a dog behavior expert, so take this all with a grain of salt, but another thing I’ve heard is to try ignoring them. (Doesn’t work if they’re chewing up your stuff or peeing on the carpet). But if he’s nipping at you or jumping all over you, and you want him to stop, just ignore him and walk away. It’s kind of like saying, “I don’t like that, and I’m not going to give you attention for bad behavior.” Above all else, be consistent.

    1. Erin! you got it! ignoring is an awesome training method. If they aren’t getting the attention (whether good or bad) they’ll go do something else.

  22. I agree with the comments. We also taught our pup “Soft Bite” so when he played, he never would actually bite you, just kinda gum you. For the most part we never let him bite or chew, but just wanted him to learn that IF there was ever a hand in/near his mouth, it wasn’t acceptable for him to actually bite it.

    Also, where did you get your little Frenchie?!? What a cutie! I want one so bad but it’s hard to find good breeders. I’m in KC so Denver isn’t too bad of a jaunt… 🙂

  23. I totally agree with the yelping 🙂 When he nips you just yelp then say “no”. Just one firm no. I neeeever yell at my dogs and they listen to me very well now that they are grown ups (my younger one turned 5 yesterday and I kind of can’t handle it). I just say one firm command and they listen, which is impressive because other than that I have a someone relaxed attitude with them (they are allowed on the furniture, I let them climb on me-despite being 65 lbs, ext).

    Also, when you catch him chewing something bad just say “no” firmly, and when he is chewing something good praise the heck out of him. I like to praise good behaviors much better than I like to reprimand.

    And while teething, frozen stuff is the best. Frozen baby carrots are really good-sooth his little mouth. 🙂

  24. I agree with the commenter named Erin about ignoring them when they’re nipping at you or jumping on you. It worked when we were training our dog not to bite us when we were playing with him. Whenever he nipped at us, we would just get up, go in another room and shut the door behind us, and stay there for 20-30 seconds. The thinking behind it is that dogs don’t like being left alone and if you “punish” them by ignoring them for a brief time, they will eventually learn not to do the behavior that results in you ignoring them. Also, apparently when they’re puppies, if one pup plays too rough with its sibling, the sibling will turn its back on him, signaling that he’s had enough, and that helps teach the dogs how to play nice. I don’t remember exactly where I read that but I’m sure there are plenty of websites online that talk more about it. It did take a few weeks for our dog to finally get the message (he was older when we got him though so maybe a younger pup will catch on faster), but we haven’t had problems with him for months now.

  25. I’ll just suggest a book on dog parenting for you. I’ve read a lot of them and she is easy to follow and balanced in her approach in my opinion (funny too but that’s just a perk).
    It’s Me or The Dog by Victoria Stilwell.
    Happy reading.

  26. My bulldog was definitely a biter when he was a puppy. You just have to keep a close eye on them and let them know it’s wrong when they go for something they shouldn’t. Let him know that his toys are his and everything else isn’t – including your fingers. He will catch on but it will be frustrating for a little bit.

  27. Puppies chew on everything. You just have to watch him, and give him his own toys to chew on. It will pass soon. Just watch out for your shoes! My Jack went through 3 pairs.

  28. I love that you started off this recipe with sweet potato fries, because who can eat a burger without fries, duh?!?!! LOL

  29. This looks so good!! Putting it on next week’s menu for sure. My daughter was a biter when she was little and we had to keep our eye on her and be ready with a toy. When we could see her trying to bite someone we would just stuff it in her mouth. I also bit her once so she could understand what she was doing after she bit a boy really hard and she never bit again (this might be weird with a dog though).

  30. Yep, make a loud “Yip!” sound when he bites you. It’s what cues puppies that they are playing too hard with their littermates, and they back off.

    Our dogs love their Kongs, and they are easy enough to fill with peanut butter or a treat. They’re also good for replacing whatever your puppy is chewing on that he shouldn’t.

  31. Yup, the teething thing is brutal! My Sally is a year and a half, has stopped chewing everything, but still loves to chew. I have antlers that I leave on the floor in the living room and she has whittled those down to nubs. I always give her the marrow bones after I have boiled them for stock. She always has at least five in various rooms of the house! Crazy how she chews those things up, but she has beautiful teeth 🙂 Oh…and she would definitely eat these bison burgers with me!

  32. Juli, First you need to do yourself a favor and get this book. Good Owners, Great Dogs. It was the best thing we ever did when getting a puppy. It will help you with all current and future training. I noticed someone else already described to you the yelping thing but this works like a charm- when he nips you squeal and whine a bit and they will learn to be more gentle with the teeth. After all he is probably as in love with you as you are with him so he just wants to please you but he doesn’t know it hurts. 🙂

  33. BITTER APPLE SPRAY! Or anything with a citric acid spray. They dont like it and it’s natural stuff.

  34. To stop biting you, make a high pitched cry when he does. That mimicked what puppies do amongst their litter when another bites to hard. That’s how they learn play biting vs hurt biting. Also make sure you’re putting your hands in his food, taking it away (you can add treat when doing that) and returning it quickly and getting your face near when he eats. This will prevent any food aggression.

  35. We used bitter apple spray on things we didn’t want our pup biting/chewing, mostly furniture or structures (such as the stair railing) and also his leash. And then we kept around lots of things he could chew on, mostly rubber toys by Kong and West Paw. And once he got his adult teeth we added in split elk antlers. Our dog is a huge chewer, so having things around at all times he could chew on while keeping things he couldn’t chew on put away or sprayed with bitter apple was key. As for the biting, we only told him “no bite” when his teeth made contact with our skin during play and would then immediately stop playing with him (but only for a minute or so, just long enough for him to get the point that teeth on skin = the end of something he likes.) As for biting when taking a treat, I think a lot of it has to do with how you offer a treat… If from your fingertips they’ll probably use their teeth to get a grip on the treat, but if from an open palm they’re more likely to be gentler and use their lips and tongue more. They do grow up so fast! My pup is nearly two now, but he’s still my baby pup! 🙂

  36. Hey Julie!!!!!!!!!!!
    To help out with all things Jackson (best name ever—reminds me of Jackson on Grey’s Anatomy and whew, what a looker), check out Victoria Stilwell’s training videos on youtube. She uses only positive training methods and it’s important to be a leader for your pup without terrifying him! =) When he bites too hard, just teach him bite inhibition by making a loud yelp, standing up and walking away. By removing playtime when he bites down, he’ll learn he needs to go easy. Also, you can teach him wait/leave it and that will help him from ripping your fingers off when you give him treats.
    As for chewing—get him some antlers (check out doggyloot-dot-com for great deals!!!) and kongs. I usually fill my kongs with a little peanut butter (not sure if they can have sunbutter, but I don’t see why not), then fill up the rest with pureed sweet potatoes, bananas, pears, apples, etc… I usually use babyfood bc I’m too lazy lol. I then toss that sucker in teh freezer and VOILA- treat that last hours and keeps him busy AND his teething under control. I still do this every morning with my 5 and 1 yr old pups and they LOOOOOOVE it!!!
    All the best and I can’t wait to make these burgers!


    1. Oh yeah, and just replace things he shouldn’t be chewing on with his toys. If I catch my pups with something in their mouths, I tell them to drop it (something you’ll have to teach them as well) and replace with a toy of their choice. I usually use an “AH!AH!” noise too that gets them to stop chewing on something immediately—I use that noise a lot too to get their attention or prevent them from doing something they shouldn’t be. Works like a charm.

  37. Burgers look awesome! Will try them soon!
    Our pup would chew on us, furniture, shoes (still sometimes a problem) but I would blow in his face and redirect. He doesn’t like the air in the face and would stop and happily chew his toy, antler, toy…

  38. IMO, best and cheapest option:

    To avoid something that isn’t natural, and the expense also, try a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water, then add some citrus extract or citrus oil (any citrus will do). Dogs hate the smell of both of those. Put it in a spray bottle and spray it on anything you don’t want him to chew. Also works great on any spots that were marked and keeps them from returning to those spots to mark again. And the vinegar will help remove any spots from marking. It’s great stuff and cheap!!

    They also hate the smell of cinnamon and cayenne, so you could also use those oils/extracts.

    Recipe looks awesome. Can’t wait to try it. And Jackson is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! Congrats on getting your first furbaby! I had one once. Now I have 5. 🙂

  39. I can’t believe no one has commented on how great your bum looks in this pic! LOL not to creep you out, just I know how much work I put into mine and a compliment is always appreciated 😉

  40. Invest in a dog product called “Bitter Apple”!!! It’s the most genius thing ever. It’s completely safe for dogs and you just spray it on whatever Jackson is chewing on or what you don’t want him to chew on. He’ll hate the taste. Trust me. It cured my dog of biting and chewing so fast!

  41. Never had any luck with those sprays. Kennel him when you’re not around to keep him from getting into stuff and make sure you have anything you dont’ want chewed stowed away. Also, make sure you’re exercising him, preferably structured exercise like walking, so you’re tiring him out and making him less apt to be bored. True, they need to teeth, but a lot of behavior issues stem from doggy boredom. Walking him also gives you the opportunity to play alpha and simulates daily migration. I’d suggest reading one of Cesar’s books on puppy rearing (he’s got several). He’s got some haters but his principles have worked for me (and I’m not as strict as he would say I should be). Good luck! Dogs are so much fun!

  42. Frozen bone marrow. Most special pet stores sell it. And its good for them. And then he will chew on the bones when marrow is gone. Also, antlers. Cured my pup…

  43. Hi! Love your blog. My friend is a dog trainer who I consider to be excellent. Google Tiamat Warda. She has incorporated a lot of Cesar Millan’s techniques. While all puppies have their special needs, Cesar and Tiamat have practical, easy solutions for starting the discipline early on.

    I read “Cesar’s Way” and have Tiamat’s DVD. Both have helped me tremendously with the dogs I walk for pocket money. One in particular used to be anxious and antsy on our walks and learned to respectfully walk at my side and only fetch on cue.

    Tiamat’s website for the DVD ($20 I think):

    Cesar’s more practical dog training book “Be the Pack Leader”:

    Hope this helps. The reason I like these two “dog whisperers” best is because they make it fun, and isn’t that why we have dogs?

  44. SO good! They turned out perfectly. You really don’t taste the apple or arugula too much, but they both work together to keep the burgers moist and somewhat flavorful, although the onions on top really add the flavor. I ate my burger atop arugula and EVOO and didn’t feel like I was missing out by omitting the bun and fries – the burger alone filled me up!
    P.S. Love the pup!!

  45. When we were training our Dane, we used chewy treats (like jerkies), before I gave it to him I’d say NICELY. If he starts to take it like a maniac, I would take it back and do it again.
    If he takes it nicely, he gets to keep it.

    I wasn’t beyond actually fishing it out of his mouth and taking it back (I know, gross). but he’s been great ever since

  46. Made the burgers. Fantastic recipe. Substituted spinach for arugula and added sweet curry powder to the onions. Will definitely do this again. Husband called them orgasmic….lol….men.

  47. Fantastic burgers. The whole family loved them and couldn’t guess there were apples in it! We’ll be adding this to our regular rotation of dinners.

  48. This doesn’t pertain to biting specifically, but some of the best puppy advice I got – lay the puppy on their back on your lap and everytime they try to flip over, make a claw with your hand and push on their chest (not super hard, but enough to know you’re there) and growl. As long as they lay calmly on their back, love on them and pet them. They’ll resist for awhile, but the more often you do this (especially when they’re young) the sooner they learn that you are the alpha and it makes overall training easier. We did it with our store bought puppy at 4 months and our rescue at around 8 months (when we got him). They’re both very well behaved now and get compliments all the time. 🙂

  49. Couldn’t tell the apples were in these! Great flavor combination. I was too lazy to make the bread/biscuit to go with it, and I used ground turkey because that’s what I had on hand. I hate changing up recipes too much, but it was great!

  50. Made these when you first posted but never reviewed. At the time, Whole Foods was “unsure when they’d be reordering bison,” but luckily the ground turkey we had on hand worked just fine, although the real deal prob would’ve been a bit less dry. We aren’t big bread eaters, so we just put the burgers atop the leftover arugula and added the onions with a few slices of avocado. Another great recipe! Hoping to try again with actual bison meat.

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