Spiced Up Turkey Burgers

by Tori Avey June 29, 2017


spiced-up-turkey-burgers-uneditedFor many years I’ve wanted to create a turkey burger that is full of flavor…tender, juicy…basically the opposite of bland. Recently I discovered a fabulous blend of spices to infuse ground turkey with scrumptious, savory flavor. I started with my mother-in-law’s “Ima” Burger recipe as a base, then added smoked paprika, some additional Middle Eastern spices and a touch of applesauce. The original Ima Burger recipe replaces the usual breadcrumbs with bread soaked in olive oil. This genius substitute adds texture, flavor and heart-healthy fat to the lean turkey meat. Applesauce adds moisture and just a faint touch of sweetness to balance out the spices; the touch of natural sugar also helps to make some great dark grill marks on the burgers. I am excited to share this recipe with you and with barbecue season in full swing, the timing seems perfect!

We usually serve our meals mezze-style with lots of salads and dips. Because of this serving style, I generally prefer making my burgers slider-sized. This allows us to enjoy a burger without filling up on it, so we have room for all of the other tasty side dishes. Of course, you can make the burgers bigger if you prefer, just substitute regular-sized buns and use a half-cup full of meat mix per burger.

I like to serve these spiced-up patties topped with freshly sliced tomato, baby kale, and a simple Lemon Herb Mayo sauce. They don’t really need a lot of “dressing up” with so many awesome herbs and spices in the mix. You can of course add your own favorite toppings – dill pickles, ketchup, mustard, sriracha, whatever you fancy! Grill these up and get ready to celebrate a summer of good eating.


Patty Ingredients:

1 ¼ lb lean ground turkey (1 package)

1 slice white bread, crust removed

1 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the burgers

¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely minced

2 tbsp onion, very finely minced

1 egg

1 ½ tsp smoked paprika

¾ tsp cumin

½ tsp garlic powder

Heaping ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp salt, or more to taste

½ tsp pepper, or more to taste

1 ½ tbsp applesauce

Vegetable oil, for frying (optional, if not grilling)

10 slider-sized buns for serving

Lemon Herb Mayo Ingredients

½ cup good quality mayonnaise (I like Spectrum)

2 tbsp fresh basil, minced

1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 ½  tsp lemon zest

Optional Toppings:
Baby kale or butter lettuce, fresh
tomato slices, dill pickle slices

You will also need: Mixing bowl,
grill and grill-safe spatula or
frying pan, pastry brush

Total Time: 35 min

Servings: About 10 slider-sized burgers

Kosher Key: Meat


Cut the crust off of your piece of bread. Pour olive oil onto a small plate. Soak the crustless bread in the olive oil, turning the slice once, until all of the oil is soaked up by the bread.

Place ground turkey in a medium mixing bowl. Shred and crumble the oil-soaked bread into tiny pieces and add it to the meat along with the parsley, onion, egg, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and applesauce.

Stir ingredients with a fork and/or clean hands until the spices and herbs are well blended with the meat. Gather the mixture in quarter cups to make small patties (they will shrink up to slider-sized during cooking). The patties will initially be soft, but will firm up as they grill.

If grilling, grease the preheated grill well before you start cooking. Cook the patties by grilling or frying (I recommend grilling). I like to brush the burgers with olive oil periodically as they grill to keep them nice and moist. Grill for 15-20 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Cooking times may vary by grill type.

I also like to grill the buns. If you’re doing this, brush the internal sides of the buns lightly with olive oil, then grill them open-side down for 2-3 minutes until they are warm and golden crisp around the edges.

If you prefer not to grill the burgers, you can cook them in a skillet using ¼ cup of vegetable oil. I like using olive oil; any oil with a somewhat high smoke point will do. Heat the oil over medium heat till hot but not smoking. Fry the burgers for 10-15 minutes, flipping occasionally, until thoroughly cooked.

Serve turkey burgers on slider-sized buns with Lemon Herb Mayonnaise and your choice of toppings.

TO MAKE LEMON HERB MAYONNAISE: Mix mayonnaise together with herbs, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl until well blended. Serve as a sauce for the turkey burgers.


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