There’s something about Labor Day that makes me want to grill and pop open a beer.
So, we did.
Since I try to refrain from eating red meat, we made the turkey burger instead of the norm, ground beef patty. It’s better than it sounds, I promise! Try it out. I actually get a craving for this burger, now, just like a cheeseburger. I’m not suggesting it will fill the craving for a real cheeseburger, that I too enjoy sometimes, but it’s a great alternative for most of the time, when you are trying to avoid a higher fat meal.
A great turkey burger is all about the toppings. You have to top it with your favorites. Try mine: light Hellman’s mayo, Heinz ketchup, crispy lettuce and Kosher dill pickle slices. YUM!
Let’s start with the ingredients:
1-pound of ground turkey BREAST
2-cups of chopped, very fine, mixed veggies of your choice
(I used carrot, green onion, white onion and green pepper)
1/2- cup chopped, fresh spinach
1 – teaspoon each: Montreal or other chicken seasoning, Lawry’s, Old Bay
2-3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Salt (I use about 1/2 teaspoon) and pepper (I use about 1/4 teaspoon)
When you shop for your ingredients, it’s important to choose ground 99% fat-free turkey BREAST. The alternative will normally just state ground turkey on the package, which will include all the dark meat and really not be lean white meat, like you want. Make certain it says ground turkey breast on the package. It will significantly cut down on the fat! It will increase the price by a few dollars per pound, but well worth it. If you use the entire turkey, ground, you might as well eat ground beef. The fat content is similar. So, avoid this pitfall when purchasing your turkey and make sure it’s breast only.
The chopped veggies I use are normally whatever I have on hand, but feel free to use more of whatever flavor you like and less of another. I make my turkey burger with a heavier onion flavor so I use more of those. I also like to throw in celery, as well.
Now let’s move on to the directions:
Make these burgers a few hours ahead, if you have time. Spray a pan with olive oil (or Pam works fine too), very lightly. On the stove, let the pan heat up first, add your chopped fine veggies (not the spinach). The goal is to soften this mixture without browning. I like to cook mine without the fat since it really doesn’t add flavor, so I add water as needed, a little at a time. Stir the mixture frequently, until all the vegetables are soft to the touch. It takes about 15-minutes. Remove from the heat and let this cool.
Mix, in a medium bowl: all of the ingredients, including the cooled veggies. Mixture will be well mixed through when you’re finished. Divide this mixture into 4-large patties, making them as uniform as possible, for easy grilling times. I usually cover a baking pan with aluminum foil and place the patties on top.
Cover the burgers with a layer of foil or plastic wrap. Put patties into the fridge for 3 to 4 hours OR into the freezer for 15-minutes.
Brush your grill with a little oil or spray it with Pam, just enough to discourage sticking. Pre-heat your grill to about 400 degrees. You can use a grill pan on the stove, as well.
Place all four patties on the grill. Grill for 3-minutes. Rotate the burgers (turn) clockwise 90 degrees (to establish a nice grill pattern) and cook an additional 3-minutes.
Flip burgers over and repeat for the second side, grilling each side for a total of 6-minutes. Burgers should be cooked through after 12-minutes, but If your grill is not hot enough, it will take longer . Be sure to adjust your cooking time if you make smaller burgers. You can also cook to your desired temperature, but remember Salmonella Enteritidis and other foodborne bacteria may be found in turkey meat and cooking thoroughly destroys the bacteria. The internal temperature when you are finished should be 165 degrees.
Top each burger with your favorites or try a few of these combos:
~ Sliced onion, pickles, mustard and light mayo.
~ Spicy light mayo (add hot sauce or cayenne pepper ~careful~ to your mayo), lettuce, tomato and sliced jalapeños.
~ FAGE 0% yogurt or guacamole and your favorite salsa or pico.
You can serve on fresh buns or without. I like to eat mine inside a huge iceberg lettuce leaf since I don’t eat bread. I still top it just like I would on a bun!