Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Italian-Inspired Turkey Burgers

While I enjoy a nice, juicy ball or patty of ground beef as much as the next person, sometimes I'm just not in the mood for all that delicious fat (we all know fat tastes good, so shut it). This change of pace is usually suggested and/or requested by that little shoulder devil reminding me about eating healthy and taking care of myself. And yes, it's a devil because I definitely don't have shoulder angels. Heeding the devil's advice, I usually switch out the ground beef for ground turkey and continue on my merry way. You can just substitute in that turkey, right? Wrong.

Ground turkey just lacks the flavor of ground beef--it's decidedly dull and boring and requires a lot more work than beef. So unless your beefed up recipe features a lot of spice and flavor, you're going to have to do some tweaking. This, of course, is where my recipe comes into play. I actually use this recipe for meatballs--the flavors of my beef meatballs just didn't meld well with the turkey. It's full of garlic, basil, onion, oregano and panko. Trust me on the panko--it absorbs the little fat that the turkey contains and keeps the meat nice and moist, which is another problem that plagues ground turkey. I would have made meatballs this evening if it weren't still 70F out and the new barbecue wasn't calling my name. Instead, I am regaling you with my kicked up Italian-inspired turkey burger. Don't fret--it may be healthier than most burgers, but it tastes insanely good.

Now, what's going on in that picture up there? First, we have a perfectly grilled turkey burger filled with garlic and basil. Then there's some tangy soft goat cheese (yes, they make and eat goat cheese in Italy). After that, some barbecue-wilted spinach and homegrown tomato. To follow that up, I spread homemade tomato-basil pesto on the bun. Amazing. So if you're trying to figure out how to improve the plight of ground turkey, try out these burgers during grilling season or whip up some meatballs when you're craving pasta. I promise you'll thank me.

Italian-Inspired Turkey Burgers
Makes 4 Patties

Burger Needs Accouterments
11 oz. 93% lean ground turkey
1/3 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup panko
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/8 cup pesto
1-2 oz. goat cheese
2 cups spinach leaves
1 tomato, sliced
bread for buns

Hello, my name is Goat Cheese & I photograph horribly.
In a large bowl, mix together all burger ingredients aside from the turkey. Break turkey up into large chunks and massage all ingredients together. If the mixture is a little dry and not sticking together, add a tablespoon of water at a time. Separate into patties and grill.

Grill bread to toast, and melt cheese on top of burger. With spinach, a minute before you remove bread from grill, place half a cup on bottom half of each bun. Close lid and let wilt for a minute. Serve burger on top of wilted spinach, add pesto to top half of bun, and add tomato. Devour.


A Little Yumminess said...

Very inspired. Good recipe that I am to try on little one. I am fascinated with the Accouterments...yum!!

ravienomnoms said...

I love this post! And that Turkey Burger looks to die for. I have to agree that you definitely need to do some tweaking when it comes to turkey burgers, but this one looks just delicious! I gotta try it :-)

Victoria K. said...

Your burger looks yum!! Love the goat cheese and pesto on there. Goat cheese and pesto make EVERYTHING better :)

Just Food Snobs said...

I am always looking for new ways to make turkey burgers and these look really good! Pesto is an interesting idea, thanks for sharing!

Joshua Alan Burgin - New Day, New Way said...

I love using ground turkey! This is now on my list of recipes to try out!

Monet said...

Wow! That first shot spoke volumes. I wanted a turkey burger at that first instant (and I'm not usually a fan). I love the italian flavors and can never go wrong with goat cheese!

Angie's Recipes said...

Never had turkey burger with goat cheese before....looks very delicious!

whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

Looks so good, but I think I'd still crave pasta! I'm waiting for the pill that will finally squash the cravings! I do like your spin on the turkye burger though!

Magic of Spice said...

Great flavor combinations...sounds wonderful :)


Hilarious--i just finished writing an Italian burger post last night--great minds! Mine will go out next week. Your burger looks amazing, even with ground turkey!

Jean said...

I definitely need to follow your lead and start being more mindful of what I eat. Overall, I cook healthy food but starting the blog has caused a slight shift in my habits. More baking and at greater frequency.

Your turkey burger looks yummy. I can see the goat cheese and the pesto really amping up the flavor of the burger. Nicely done!

Stella said...

Yum! I used to eat turkey burgers all the time, and my Cauldron Boy ate one every day while he was in law school. A bit obsessive he used to be-smile! Your Italian version sounds really wonderful...

Chef Dennis said...

now this is a turkey burger I could love!! I don't eat beef so I am always looking to jazz them up! I have been using ground chicken lately it doesn't seem as dry......your burger definitely kicks butt!!

Jennifer said...

That looks really good! I think I'll try it.

Chow and Chatter said...

wow this looks amazing great idea love the pesto and cheese

baking.serendipity said...

I love turkey burgers. I think the fact that they let their add-in ingredients shine is what makes them so versatile and delicious in my house. You've definitely created a winner here!

FabiolousCookingDay said...

looks fantastic!

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jackiee said...

Wow this looks amazing! You should enter this (or any other recipe) into this cooking contest that’s coming to Cleveland on September’s the Aetna Healthy Food Fight. You can go to for more details, but the deadline for Cleveland is September 8th. Oh, and throughout the contest, celebrity cooks will be judging (Bobby Flay, Sunny Anderson, Sara Moulton, or Cat Cora). Good luck if you decide to enter and if not, please post more recipes! :)

Dayna said...

IfI am interested in using this recipe for meat balls, what temp should I bake them at and for how long?


Baking Barrister said...

Dayna -- I've never baked my meatballs. I usually brown the sides in a frying pan with a little olive oil & then throw them into my sauce while it heats up. If you brown them first, and they are about the size of a golf ball, they probably only need 5 minutes at 450 in the oven.

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