If you’re looking to grill some burgers this weekend, try turkey burgers as an alterative to beef. This recipe has south-of-the-border flavors with cumin, herbs, garlic, avocado and tomato on whole grain buns. Add ancho chili mayonnaise instead of the usual mustard or ketchup for one great burger.
Although traditional beef burgers may be an American institution, I don’t enjoy them because I’m not a beef-eater. Now a turkey burger is a different thing. Those I enjoy, but there are a few things to understand when buying ground turkey.
When purchasing ground turkey, there are multiple options at the store. The amount of fat in ground turkey varies depending on what goes into the grinder, and fat content controls the flavor and moisture of your burger. You need to read the labels and ask questions if purchasing from a butcher counter.
About Ground Turkey
Ground turkey can be very lean from all ground breast meat with almost no fat, to lean with a mixture of breast and thigh meat, or all thigh meat. Some of these mixes have added turkey skin, which increases fat content. Know what you are working with and you can achieve flavorful, moist turkey burgers that fit your nutritional needs.
If you buy the leanest ground turkey breast with almost no fat, you’ll need to add a little olive oil to the mixture or you risk ending up with dry burgers. Frankly, that’s not what I choose for my burgers. I prefer a breast and thigh meat combination or all thigh meat for more moisture and flavor.
A Better Burger
For a generous burger, I use 6 ounces (168 grams) of ground turkey per person. That much protein in a burger (approximately 34 grams) and a tossed green salad or grilled vegetables make a good meal. If you plan to add other side dishes, you might consider making thinner burgers of 4 ounces each.
To spice up your burgers with south-of-the-border flavor, add ground cumin, garlic, chopped fresh orgegano and chives, salt and pepper. Depending on the turkey mix that you purchase, you may need a little olive oil for healthy fat and flavor.
Now to the rest of the burger. Choose whole grain burger buns for more fiber and better nutrition than white burger buns. I buy a smaller organic whole grain buns made by Rudi’s Bakery. They are also great for sandwiches with chicken or egg salad.
Top off Your Burger with Fresh Flavors
To top off the grilled turkey burger, add a slice of fresh tomato, a thin ring of sweet onion, a few slices of avocado and be sure to make the ancho chili sauce. It’s a combination of reduced fat mayonnaise (I love Vegenaise for the clean, light taste), lime juice, ancho chili powder, paprika, plus salt and pepper. Want some heat? Add a little ground chipotle, tobasco or Sriracha.
Grill your burgers until done (160-165 in the center) and serve with grilled vegetables or a tossed green salad for a healthy summer dinner.
Spiced Turkey Burgers with Ancho Chili Sauce
Servings: 2 (scales up easily)
- 12 ounces ground turkey, preferably breast and thigh combination or thigh
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, depending on your turkey mix (optional)
- 2 slices ripe tomato
- 2 thin slices red or spring onion
- 2-4 slices of avocado
- A few leaves of green or red lettuce
- 2 whole grain burger buns
Ancho Chili Sauce
- ½ cup reduced fat Vegenaise or mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon ground ancho chili powder (or a chili powder blend)
- 1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- For heat, add a little ground chipotle, Tabasco or Sriracha (optional)
- In a medium bowl, combine ground turkey, cumin, garlic, parsley, oregano, chives, salt, pepper and olive oil if you are using ground breast. Mix well but gently with your hands. Form into patties, cover with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours.
- While the burger patties are chilling and resting, make the ancho chili sauce and refrigerate until serving. The recipe will make more than you need. Extra is good on a sandwich or as dip for raw vegetables.
- Fire up the grill (or a grill pan) until hot. Make sure the grill is brushed clean, then coated with a grill-safe spray or a little oil on a wad of paper towels with tongs. Turn heat down to medium and add your burgers. Grill on one side until browned and grill marks have formed. Turn the burger and finish cooking until they reach 160-165 in the center with a digital thermometer. They will feel firm but not hard.
- To build your burgers, place lettuce on the bottom of the bun, add the burger, and top with tomato, onion, sauce and avocado.
- Oven baked sweet potato fries would be good along side these burgers. Toss them with a little of the chili powder before baking. From Simply Recipes.
- No grill? I’ve made these many times in my grill pan. Two good options, one is from Lodge and Le Creuset makes several. A skinny grill pan, easier to store, or the 10 1/4″ grill pan with deeper sides and a handle
- Add this refreshing cucumber and zucchini carpaccio salad recipe from Cristina Ferrare and her cookbook Big Bowl of Love. Super healthy too!
- Nutritional information on ground turkey
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