Spicy Turkey and Zucchini Burger

Middle EasternGluten-FreeLow CarbBurger

Turkey burger patties with grated zucchini, herbs, cumin, and cayenne, served with lemony sour cream sauce.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Come July and our refrigerator starts to overflow with zucchinis from the garden. It really is the land of plenty during these summer months. My zucchini radar bursts into action, homing in on any recipe with zucchini in it that sounds palatable.

So when my friend Katie told me about the turkey zucchini burger recipe she makes from the drop-dead-gorgeous cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi I couldn’t wait to try it!

All I can say is WOW. This really is one of the best burger recipes I’ve ever encountered.

You know how turkey burgers can sometimes be on the dry side?

The shredded zucchini added to the mix makes these turkey burgers incredibly moist. Both turkey and zucchini can be a little dull flavor-wise, but you when boost them with herbs and spices like mint, cilantro, garlic, cumin, and cayenne, they are anything but dull.

I’ve made a few changes to the recipe in the cookbook. The original makes burgers that are more like slider-sized, small, only 1 1/2 ounces each (that’s about a third of a quarter-pounder). This is fine for appetizers, but I rather have burger sized burgers, so I make the patties bigger.

Spicy Turkey and Zucchini Burger

The original recipe calls for including an egg in the mix. The turkey and zucchini mixture together is already pretty wet, and it holds together fine; I find I get better results without the added egg.

The original finishes the burgers in the oven, I cook them entirely on the stove-top.

The recipe’s sour cream sauce is spectacular with these burgers, but the original recipe makes at least twice as much as is needed for one batch of patties. Also, the original sauce includes sumac, a lemony spice many here do not have easy access to. So I halved the sour cream sauce amounts and used a little more lemon juice in place of the sumac.

Spicy Turkey and Zucchini Burger Recipe

Print
  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

Recipe adapted from the cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey meat
  • Just under 2 cups, lightly packed, coarsely grated zucchini (from about 2 to 3 small zucchinis or one medium zucchini)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced, onion greens included
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint (spearmint)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (tender stems included)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil

Sour cream sauce:

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Method

1 Make the sour cream sauce by placing all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stirring until combined. Chill until ready to use.

2 Mix the turkey zucchini mixture: In a large bowl place the grated zucchini, sliced green onions, chopped mint, cilantro, and garlic, ground cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir to combine.

With your hands, mix in the ground turkey until the zucchini mixture is well distributed through the ground turkey.

3 Form patties: Use your hands to form 3 to 4 inch wide patties, placing them on a baking sheet. Note that the patties will be rather wet, so they may be a little tricky to handle.

4 Fry gently: Heat 3 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium.

Working in batches, place the patties in the pan. Let cook for about 5 minutes, then flip the patties over and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.

You want them to brown and to gently cook all the way through. If the temperature is too high, they'll get browned on the outside but the inside will still be raw. So, cook them gently.

If the outsides are browned and the insides still aren't done, lower the heat and cook longer.

5 Remove to paper-towel lined plate: Once the first batch of patties are done, remove to a paper towel-lined plate while you cook the second batch. Or you can keep the patties warm in a 200°F oven.

Makes 8 large patties or up to 18 small ones. Serve with the sour cream sauce.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Spicy Turkey and Zucchini Burger on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

Print

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

85 Comments / Reviews

No ImageSpicy Turkey and Zucchini Burger

Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Jeanne

    This is the end of boring turkey burgers! Actually, I made mine with chicken mince as I’m living in Singapore right now and ground turkey isn’t sold here. And I cut the cayenne in half for my first attempt and I thought perfect for my heat tolerance. I’m doing online Weight Watchers and it fits right into the program. These smelled DIVINE as they were cooking and were just delicious. Will be making them again. Thank you, Elise, for the great recipe. I shared your link with my Facebook friends.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Eddie

    These burgers were delicious, I baked them instead of frying added chipotle seasoning placed on onion buns, absolutely a hit, thanks so much

  • Milu

    Loved burger recipe. Added teriyaki garlic sauce to dressing mixture for flavor.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • holly

    I have made this recipe over and over again and shared it with friends and colleagues who also adore it. Thank you for sharing it!!! WE LOVE IT! The yogurt sauce, too!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Carol Watkins

    This looks wonderful. Do you peel the zucchini before grating it?

View More
Spicy Turkey and Zucchini BurgerSpicy Turkey and Zucchini Burger