Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Healthy Plate: turkey burgers

Published:Thursday | June 18, 2015 | 6:00 AM

The turkey burger has become the healthy default of grilling season. And that's really not a bad call.

That's because a 90 per cent lean turkey burger (4oz) has only about 160 calories, yet still offers an impressive 20 grams of protein and just nine grams of fat. Just don't be tempted to buy leaner ground turkey. It may be fine in other recipes, but when making burgers, anything leaner than 10 per cent fat will produce tough, dry patties.

But burgers need some fat for flavour, moisture and tenderness. Even 90 per cent ground turkey requires some careful handling in order to ensure a juicy, tasty burger. I have two tricks that are game-changers for your turkey burgers.

First, use an instant-read thermometer. It will be money well spent, and not just for burgers. Unless you are very experienced with meat, use the thermometer to take the guesswork out of grilling. It makes it easy to know exactly when the meat has hit the desired temperature.

A turkey burger needs to cook to 165?F, but don't let it go one degree above that! In fact, I take mine off the grill a degree or two early because meat continues to cook a bit after it comes off the heat.

Second, flavour the burger - both in the patty and with a topping. Turkey burgers are almost always better when they have a little flavouring in the meat. And then you also want to top them with something to add flavour and moisture, such as marinated summer peaches and goat cheese, which I stretched with some high-protein, low-fat Greek yogurt. This is a turkey burger everyone will love.

Turkey Burgers with Goad Cheese and Grilled Peaches

Start to Finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4


11/4 lb 90 per cent lean ground turkey

1tbsp hot sauce

1 medium shallot, minced, divided

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp turmeric

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

3tsp chopped fresh thyme, divided

11/2 tbs white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar

1tbsp olive oil

2 large peaches, sliced into quarter-inch rounds

4oz log fresh goat cheese

Half cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt

Juice and zest of half lemon

Vegetable oil, for brushing burgers

4 burger buns

1 cup arugula (optional)


1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground turkey, hot sauce, half of the shallot, the cumin, turmeric and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 24 hours.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining shallot, 2tsp of the thyme, the vinegar and olive oil. Add the peach slices and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes to an hour.

3. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1 teaspoon of thyme, the goat cheese, yogurt and the lemon zest until smooth. Refrigerate. Can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

4. When ready to cook, heat a grill or large grill pan to medium-high. Divide the ground turkey mixture into quarters and form each into a patty. Use your thumbs to press an indentation into the centre of each patty. Brush each patty with vegetable oil, then season on both sides with salt and pepper.

5. Grill the burgers for about four minutes per side, or until cooked to 165?F at the centre.

6. While the burgers are cooking, add the peach slices to the grill and cook for two to three minutes per side. Brush the cut sides of each bun with vegetable oil and grill for about 30 seconds per side. To assemble, set a burger on top of each bun bottom, then top with 2tbsp of goat cheese sauce, two to three grilled peach slices, and arugula, if using.

- AP