Defy expectations with these juicy, flavorful, and healthy Mediterranean turkey burgers! With fresh herbs and a delicious blend of spices, they pair perfectly with all of your favorite mezze-style side dishes.
Turkey burgers often get a bad rap. While they may be a lighter option to beef burgers, many are bland and terribly dry. It doesn’t need to be that way! These turkey burgers are tender, juicy, and the opposite of bland. They’re also gluten free – no bread crumbs required. A combination of spices and fresh basil add a Mediterranean touch. They’re a little Spanish (smoked paprika), a little Middle Eastern (cumin), a little Italian (fresh basil and garlic)… it’s a flavor symphony. My family loves these burgers. I think you will too!
This recipe contains a little applesauce, which helps the exterior of the burgers to darken and caramelize, adding some extra moisture and depth of flavor. Don’t be scared off – it adds very little sweetness to the finished dish. However, you can omit it if you prefer.
Now that summer is here and grilled meals are becoming part of the weekly routine, I love having a healthy option to add to the repertoire. This recipe creates four standard-sized burgers, but my family likes them slider-sized (dividing into six or seven burgers), served alongside a mezze-style meal filled with tasty salads and dips. Add a zesty lemon herb sauce or herb tahini on the side for even more flavor!
Side Dish Suggestions:
Mediterranean Turkey Burgers
- 1 pound ground turkey (you may substitute ground chicken if you prefer - dark meat is best)
- 1/4 cup finely minced fresh basil (you may substitute fresh cilantro or parsley)
- 2 tablespoons very finely minced onion
- 1 egg
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1/4 tsp fresh garlic, very finely minced)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons applesauce
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Place ground turkey in a medium mixing bowl along with the basil, onion, egg, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper and applesauce. Stir ingredients with a fork and/or clean hands until the spices and herbs are well blended with the meat.
- Divide the meat into 4 patties (or 6-7 patties if you are making slider-sized burgers). The patties may initially seem overly soft, but will firm up as they cook.
- If cooking on stovetop in a nonstick skillet or grill pan, grease the pan with 2 tbsp olive oil, reserving 1 tbsp olive oil for basting. Heat the oil over medium until hot. Place the patties gently in the pan.
- Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, flipping every 3 or 4 minutes and basting with olive oil periodically.
- You may need to adjust the heat a little lower once the burgers are browned to your liking, to avoid overcooking the outside of the patties. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness (165 degrees F in the center of the thickest part of the patty). As soon as they reach 165 or higher, remove from heat to avoid overcooking - you don't want your burgers to turn out dry.If grilling, grease the preheated grill well before you start cooking. Grill over medium flame using the same instructions as above. Whether cooking on the stovetop or the grill, I like to baste the burgers with olive oil periodically to keep them nice and moist.
- Serve these Mediterranean Turkey Burgers with or without buns. We usually enjoy these without bread, and serve them with side salads and mezze instead.