I bet I know what you’re thinking. Turkey burgers – dry, bland, but better for me than hamburgers so maybe I’ll take a look. The thought of turkey burgers didn’t thrill me either. Especially when I found out that I needed to eat them bunless. And then I tasted my friends Heidi’s and Skya’s turkey burgers and the wonderful world of turkey burgers opened up.
These are delicious and packed with vegetables. I make them often and everyone looks forward to them. They are fragile, but don’t get frustrated or think you’ve done something wrong. The wetness of the mixture varies a bit, depending on how cooked-down the vegetables are. If you handle the burgers carefully, they’ll come out fine. Sometimes a couple of mine break. I just snuggle the pieces up next to each other and no one cares because they taste so scrumptious.
As unlikely as it might sound, they go really well with sauerkraut. My favorite is Bubbies, which is real lacto-fermented sauerkraut and contains no vinegar. Bubbies is in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods and a gourmet food store here.
The smoked paprika sauce is straightforward mixture that takes a few minutes to throw together. The resulting sauce is far more delicious than the sum of its very simple parts. A word about smoked paprika – the flavor varies widely and can make or break the sauce. My favorite is from Spain and made by Chiquilin. It’s available from Amazon and I’ve put it on my Products page. It’s rich and has many layers of deep flavors. Forget about the Spicely brand that Whole Foods sells. I used it once and it was bland and not worth eating.
Give these yummy burgers a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
- For the burgers:
- 2 cups onions, chopped (1 large)
- 3 carrots, unpeeled and grated (about 10 ounces)
- 3 medium zucchini, grated (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil or butter plus additional for cooking the burgers
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 can tomato paste (3 ounces)
- 6 tablespoons Dijon mustard (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup drained capers, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons dried herbes de Provence or 1 tablespoon dried thyme and 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 2 pounds ground dark turkey (or a combination of white and dark)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ground black pepper to taste
- For the Sauce:
- 1 1/2 cups mayonaise (I prefer Best or Hellman's)
- 2 cups plain full fat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, squeezed in a garlic press, pounded with a mortar and pestle, or finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika - Note: the best one is by Chiquilin from Spain. See recommended products page. Stay away from Spicely brand at Whole Foods. Brands vary widely in flavor so taste and add more if required.
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Prepare turkey mixture:
- Heat oil or butter in a large pan (10-12 inch diameter). Add onion and sauté on medium high until softened slightly, about 3 minutes. Add carrots and zucchini and continue sautéing until vegetables very soft, reduced in volume, and much of the liquid has cooked out of them, about 20-30 minutes. Stir as necessary to prevent burning. As vegetables cook down you will need to turn down the heat a bit and stir more often. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes before adding to meat mixture.
- While vegetables are cooking, crack eggs into bowl and beat with a fork. Add tomato paste, mustard, capers, herbs, salt, and pepper. Combine. Add ground turkey and vegetables and thoroughly combine. I use my hands because it's quicker. May be covered and put in the refrigerator for 1 day.
- Make the sauce:
- Put all sauce ingredients in a medium bowl. Thorougly combine
- Cook the burgers:
- Preheat oven to 200° and put your serving plate or a rimmed baking sheet in the oven (to keep burgers warm as you cook them in batches).
- Heat 2 tablespoon of coconut oil or butter in a large nonstick pan (must be nonstick) on medium heat. Form burgers using 1/2 cup of meat mixture per burger. The mixture will be soft. Don't worry. Gently place burgers in pan. Make sure not to overcrowd.
- Cook first side longer than second side because they are easier to flip when they are more cooked. Cook first side until they are pick-upable with a spatula, about 6-7 minutes. Gently flip each burger. Cook on 2nd side until cooked through.
- Transfer to plate in oven.
- Add oil to pan as required and repeat with more burgers. Continue to cook in batches. Pan may get too much burnt stuff on the bottom and you may need to clean it out between batches. That sometimes happens.
- Serve immediately with sauce on the side and sauerkraut if desired (see recipe blurb for sauerkraut recommendation).