Turkey meat is much leaner than beef or pork, so it can be a challenge to make a burger with ground turkey that still gives you the satisfaction of eating a juicy burger. One trick I use to infuse moisture into ground turkey is to add freshly grated zucchini. (Perfect for summer when those of us who garden have more zucchini than we can possibly use.)
It’s a trick I learned making these spicy turkey zucchini burgers with middle eastern flavors from the Jerusalem cookbook. No, the burgers don’t taste like zucchini, and yes, the grated zucchini works great to keep the burgers from drying out. Just make sure you are using fresh summer zucchini, and not something that’s shipped from thousands of miles away in the dead of winter when they are out of season.
Zucchini doesn’t add much in the way of taste, and ground turkey is mild as well, so we need to bump up our turkey burgers with herbs and spices. In this Italian inspired turkey burger we are including chopped fresh basil and oregano into the burger mix, and serving the burger with a slathering of garlic mayo.
Turkey Zucchini Burger with Garlic Mayo Recipe
These turkey burgers don't have a binder in them so are best cooked gently on the stovetop rather than the grill. If you would prefer to grill them, I recommend squeezing out some of the excess moisture from the grated zucchini, and adding some mayonnaise to the burger mix. The egg in the mayonnaise will help bind the burger while it cooks, and the oil in the mayo will help the burgers stay juicy.
I have found that zucchini have a higher water content than patty pan or other types of summer squash, so are the best type of summer squash to use in this recipe.
- 1 pound ground turkey (thigh meat preferred)
- 2 green onions, white and green parts, minced
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 pound of zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
Rest of burger
- Several leaves of lettuce
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Thinly sliced tomato
- Burger buns
1 In a large bowl place the ground turkey, green onions, chopped basil and oregano, garlic, black pepper, and salt. Using clean hands mix together thoroughly. Then mix in the grated zucchini until well distributed throughout the ground turkey.
2 Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Carefully form six patties with the turkey zucchini mixture. Working in batches, gently cook the patties for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. You don't want the heat to be too high or the patties may get too browned before they are cooked through. Remove to a plate to keep warm.
3 When you are finished with the pan for the burgers, wipe out any burned bits. Melt a little butter in the pan and place the buns in the pan, cut side down to brown. Increase the heat to medium high. Remove from pan when the edges start to brown.
4 To make the garlic mayo, whisk together the finely minced garlic and the mayonnaise in a small bow.
This is how we recommend to build the burger. Start with the bottom half of the burger bun. Spread a layer of garlic mayo over it. Place a layer of lettuce leaf over the mayo. Place the burger over the lettuce. Place the onion on the burger. Place a slice of tomato on the onion. If you want, place another lettuce leaf on the tomato. Top with the other half of the bun. The lettuce leaf on the bottom of the burger help prevent the juices from the burger from running into the bottom bun and making it soggy.
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