For many years, I’ve wanted to create a turkey burger that is full of flavor– tender, juicy, and the opposite of bland. Recently I discovered the perfect blend of flavors to make even the most boring ground turkey into a scrumptious, savory flavor bomb. I used my mother-in-law’s Ima Burger recipe as a base, then added smoked paprika, Middle Eastern spices and a touch of applesauce. The genius of Ima’s original recipe is the bread soaked in olive oil, which adds heart-healthy fat to the lean turkey meat. Instead of bread crumbs, which can dry out the meat, using bread soaked in olive oil gives the burgers moisture and flavor. Applesauce adds a little more 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’m so excited to share this recipe with you… and with 4th of July just around the corner, the timing seemed perfect!
Since we usually serve our meals mezze-style with lots of salads and dips, I generally prefer making my burgers slider-sized. This allows me to enjoy a burger without filling up on it, so I have room for all the other tasty side dishes. Of course, you can make the burgers bigger if you prefer… just substitute regular sized buns and use 1/2 cupful of meat mixture per burger.
I like to serve these spiced-up bad boys 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 for the 4th of July and get ready for a patriotic party in your mouth.
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Spiced Up Turkey Burgers
Turkey Burger Ingredients
- 1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey (1 package)
- 1 slice white bread, crust removed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more for brushing the burgers)
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons onion, very finely minced
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Heaping 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or more to taste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons applesauce
- Vegetable oil, for frying (optional, if not grilling)
- 10 slider-sized buns for serving
Lemon Herb Mayo Ingredients
- 1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise (I like Spectrum)
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
- Baby kale or butter lettuce, fresh tomato slices, dill pickle slices
- 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, till all 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 meat mixture in 1/4 cupfuls and make small, thick 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 till 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 1/4 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 till well blended. Serve as a sauce for the Turkey Burgers.