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Spicy Zucchini Turkey Burgers

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

By adding grated zucchini to the average turkey burger, we take it to the next level on the juiciness meter. They are moist and flavor-packed with green onion, fresh cilantro, garlic, smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne.


These delectable gems are a healthy, lightened-up alternative that will win over even the most devoted traditional beef burger lovers!

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes


I love a good turkey burger. The keyword here is "good". Turkey burgers often have a bad rap when compared to their beefy counterparts. Lean ground turkey can be dry, bland, and flavorless. Not in this case. Instead of covering up the fact that this is a turkey burger, we embrace it! These burgers have bold ingredients that complement the turkey and add BIG flavor. By adding grated zucchini, we add a ton of moisture but also reap the rewards of added vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fiber. It also works as a great "binder" replacement so it is not necessary to add eggs or breadcrumbs. Bonus: By adding zucchini we yield a much larger burger without adding a lot of extra calories!


To get started you will need to grate your zucchini. I use the help of my food processor, but you can also grate it by hand. For a single batch (4 burgers), you will need about 2 cups of grated zucchini (about 2 or 3 small or 1 medium zucchini).


Next, to a large bowl, add the ground turkey, grated zucchini, sliced green onions, chopped fresh cilantro, minced garlic, smoked paprika, ground cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Mix well. This is when I take my rings off and get my hands in there. Just be careful not to over-mix.


Form the mixture into 4 large patties. To do this, I use a large cookie scoop and a burger patty maker. First, I lay out a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper, then I use a large cookie scoop to make 4 piles that are relatively the same size. Next, I place a piece of plastic wrap on the burger maker, then I place one of the piles in the center of the burger maker and seal with the plastic wrap before pressing down and forming the patty. I repeat the process with the other piles. You can also form them by hand. You'll want to form them into 3-to-4 inch-wide patties. My burger patty maker has a recessed area that makes a small indentation in the center so that the burgers don't puff up when they are grilled or broiled. If you are forming your patties by hand, just add a small indentation to the center of each burger with your thumb.


Next, place the prepared, plastic-wrapped burgers in the freezer for about 1 hour. This will help firm them up so they hold their shape when cooking and don't fall apart.


My preferred method for cooking these burgers is on the grill, but you can also broil or fry them in skillet.


To grill: Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Spray the grill with non-stick cooking spray and grill the burgers about 5 to 7 minutes per side until no longer pink in the center.


To broil: Heat your oven to broil. Place the turkey burgers on a large rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Broil the burgers 4 inches from heat 5 to 6 minutes per side or until no longer pink in center.


To fry: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Place the patties in the pan and cook about 5 minutes, then flip the patties over and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until no longer pink in the center.


Regardless of your cooking method, you will want to cook them all the way through. There is no such thing as a medium-rare turkey burger (yikes)! The internal temperature should be a safe 165 degrees.


These burgers make a wonderful healthy lunch or light dinner served "naked" (no bun required) with a simple arugula salad or my Sweet Potato Oven "Fries" with Chipotle Lime Aioli. For a simple garnish, I add a couple of slices of ripe avocado or a dollop of my Freezer Friendly Guacamole and fresh cilantro leaves.


These are a staple on my make-ahead meal-prep list. I usually make a double batch so I can cook one right away and "bank" one in the freezer for a later time. That's smart cooking, my friends. Bon appétit!


This recipe makes 4 large burgers.


To make this a meal prep meal: Divide the cooked burgers and my Sweet Potato Oven "Fries" with Chipotle Lime Aioli into 4 microwave-safe containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Alternatively, you can store uncooked, individually wrapped Spicy Zucchini Turkey Burgers in a one-gallon freezer bag in the freezer for up to 1 month.


Let’s get cooking!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean (93% lean) ground turkey

  • 2 cups, lightly packed, grated zucchini (from about 2 or 3 small zucchinis or 1 medium zucchini)

  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced, onion greens included

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (tender stems included)

  • 1 teaspoon prepared minced garlic

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)

  • Olive oil for frying or nonstick cooking spray for grilling or broiling

  • Avocado slices and fresh chopped cilantro for garnishing, if desired

 

How to make

Please be sure to visit Simply Recipes for the source recipe and original instructions.


  1. Grate the zucchini in a food processor or by hand. You need about 2 cups of grated zucchini (about 2 or 3 small or 1 medium zucchini).

  2. In a large bowl add the ground turkey, grated zucchini, sliced green onions, chopped fresh cilantro, minced garlic, smoked paprika, ground cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Mix well. Do not over-mix.

  3. Form the mixture into 4 large patties.

  4. Place the prepared, plastic-wrapped burgers in the freezer for about an hour. This will help the burgers hold their shape when cooking.

  5. To grill: Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Spray the grill with non-stick cooking spray and grill the burgers about 5 to 7 minutes per side until no longer pink in the center, 165 degrees.

  6. To broil: Heat your oven to broil. Place the turkey burgers on a large rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Broil the burgers 4 inches from heat 5 to 6 minutes per side or until no longer pink in the center, 165 degrees.

  7. To fry: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Place the patties in the pan and cook about 5 minutes, then flip the patties over and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until no longer pink in the center, 165 degrees.

  8. Enjoy!

  9. Please login to share your comments and feedback.

Spicy Zucchini Turkey Burgers shown pictured with my Sweet Potato Oven "Fries" with Chipotle Lime Aioli.

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