9 Better-for-You Turkey Burgers

90SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/18/2012 2:00 PM   :  14 comments   :  15,166 Views

Ladies and gentleman start your grills!  Grilling is an excellent way to cook lean meats and add a lot of flavor without a lot of fat. 
 
Burgers are the go-to meat for most of us, but to keep your meal healthy, reach for extra lean ground turkey. Turkey burgers are lean enough to grace the grill every night of the week, but their leanness also makes them a little bland on their own. Let's take a closer look at turkey, and talk about ways to keep this bird burger juicy, healthy, and delicious! 


 
What to buy?  
You can tell by looking at ground turkey how lean it is. Darker pink meat contains more dark meat. It will have more fat than a product that is lighter in color. Ground turkey can range in fat and calories quite drastically. Choose extra lean ground turkey for an almost fat-free protein. Let's compare:
 
3 ounces raw* Calories Total fat (grams)
Ground turkey 220 17
Lean ground turkey 170 8
Extra lean ground turkey 120 1
 
 
*Exact nutrition can vary between brands so read labels before purchasing.
 
Build a Better (Turkey) Burger  
  • Remove meat from the refrigerator when you are ready to season and shape.  Ground turkey should never be left at room temperature.
  • Once shaped return to the refrigerator.
  • Handle the meat lightly to avoid dense burgers. (Mix as little as possible.)
  • Wet hands with water when shaping the burgers.
  • Don't press down on the patty while on the grill.  When you press down, you are actually pressing out the juices.
  • Grill over a medium heat fire. 
  • Cook to an internal temperate of 165 degrees.
Ground turkey has a very neutral flavor, which means it welcomes low- or no-salt seasonings, added vegetables, and flavorful sauces.  Here are some of my favorites flavor combos:
 
Portabella Thyme
The mushroom gets first billing in this recipe. The mushroom adds earthy flavor and intensifies the meatiness of the burger without any additional fat. 
 
Season extra lean ground turkey meat with black pepper and chopped fresh thyme.  Gently combine the spices into the meat.  Remove the stem and inner black gills from the mushroom (use a spoon). Fill with chopped shallots, garlic, and more thyme, then fill in with the turkey. Grill and serve!
 
Spicy Chipotle
Add chopped cilantro and parsley to your basic turkey burger, then grill.
Combine chopped chipotles with nonfat Greek yogurt and chopped fresh peaches. (Adjust the amounts to suit your tastes.) Serve the burger on a whole-wheat bun with plenty of soft lettuce and the chipotle sauce.
 
BLT Burger
Tomatoes add flavor and moisture to this burger. Combine equal parts chopped tomatoes and ground turkey seasoned with plenty of black pepper. Grill and top with a slice of crumbled turkey bacon.
Instead of mayo, combine nonfat Greek yogurt, basil, parsley and cilantro. No bun needed--serve atop a pile of greens with more tomatoes.

More great turkey recipes:
Apple Turkey Burger
The Best Turkey Burger-Jeff's Ultimate Recipe
Black Bean Mini Turkey Burger
Greek Turkey Burger
Salsa Turkey Burger
Turkey Spinach Feta Burger


 
A note on food safety: Turkey is poultry. (Duh, you might say!) But I would need more fingers and toes to count the number of people that I have helped in the kitchen who for some reason think that ground turkey should not be treated the same as raw chicken. 
 
Ground turkey should be treated with the same precautions as raw chicken.  Ground turkey must be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees and reheated to the same temperature.  All cutting boards, utensils, work surface areas, hands and yes even the handle to the sink that was exposed while trying to wash your hands should be cleaned and sanitized after coming into contact with ground turkey.
 
Want more turkey burgers tips and recipes? Check out our grill guide, with 75 hearty, healthy recipes!
 
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Comments

  • CHERRYZMB60
    14
    this is perfect timing for the 4th. i will be making Jeff's, Greek and Portabella Thyme. I usually grill and freeze burgers for later eating and reheat wrapped in the oven. Thanks again for the ideas - 6/30/2014   11:04:36 AM
  • SUNSET09
    13
    I enjoy my turkey burger with grilled green, red peppers and onion, then I through a few jalapenos on it! That's real eating! I have never had a problem cooking gound turkey as I am not a beef nor pork eater, thanx! - 10/21/2012   5:43:52 AM
  • 12
    Thanks for all the tips, needed some extra humf...for flavor ! - 7/27/2012   2:45:08 PM
  • PTOUCHET63
    11
    I love turkey burgers but this gives me more ideas on how to mix up flavors. - 7/27/2012   12:52:01 PM
  • DQLWORSHIPS
    10
    I love cooking turkey burgers. use grated red onions italian seasoning, low fat mozzarella mixed in the meat on sandwich rounds with a variety of lettuce and grilled zuchini - everything is moist and juicy not condiments needed - YUMMMMMYYYYY!!!!! - 7/24/2012   1:55:20 PM
  • 9
    for the last 3-4 yrs I have replaced every ground beef recipe with ground lean turkey ( extra lean if I find it)...its not just good for burgers.....beef is almost a total stranger in my Kitchen! - 6/22/2012   7:35:09 AM
  • 8
    i love cooking with ground turkey i put it in my tacos, burritos, spagetti, and ect. thanks for this recipe, i will try it. - 6/21/2012   12:13:24 PM
  • MCOTTRELL1
    7
    very cool
    - 6/19/2012   8:52:13 PM
  • 6
    Mouthwatering!! - 6/19/2012   4:32:34 AM
  • 5
    I do love turkey burgers! And it is funny some people don't want to try them, and then they find out that they already did, and they loved them! To funny, but true. - 6/19/2012   1:11:02 AM
  • 4
    Thanks for the break down on the different types of ground turkey. Also, for pointing out that it should be treated like raw chicken! These recipes sound very delish. - 6/18/2012   11:06:22 PM
  • 3
    ARGH! The reason I buy ground turkey and not chicken is that I wasn't intimidated by the turkey. Now that I read this, forget the turkey too. I thought it was safer handling turkey than chicken. I have been buying ground turkey once a week, it's a shame to give it up.
    I also liked the turkey because it is healthier for the family than beef.
    My fav Spark recipe was the turkey burger italian which I made on a Costco purchased "grill" that sits right on top of my electric burner. I left out the cheese & pepper.
    SO sad. - 6/18/2012   9:28:12 PM
  • GAYLE119
    2
    looks good! love the varieties!!! - 6/18/2012   5:26:23 PM
  • 1
    Looks amazing! I'm going to try it this week :) - 6/18/2012   4:11:33 PM

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