We’ve always been interested in finding more healthy versions of favorite foods, but when it comes to burgers, we seldom encounter any better-for-you substitute that packs the same satisfying flavor and texture punch as the real thing. Shrimp burgers were interesting and tasty, but lacked any beefy flavor. Our one and only homemade veggie burger experiment was an epic fail that ended as garbage with a side order of pizza delivery. Enter the turkey burger. We adapted this recipe by adding a little ricotta cheese (to help keep the turkey from drying out) and omitting the egg and breadcrumbs (to keep the burgers from tasting like meatloaf patties.) The combination of Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne pepper gave the burgers a nice, meaty flavor that makes you forget you’re eating healthy turkey. While there can be no true replacement for the genuinely beefy, red-meat variety of burger, this turkey version has a lot less calories and fat (and therefore, less guilt), and we’re happy to make and eat them instead of beef burgers now and then.
Mix together the ground turkey (we used 93% lean turkey — gotta have a little bit of fat), Worcestershire, Dijon, ricotta, garlic & onion powders, cayenne and salt until just combined.
Form the turkey into patties. This would be a good time to determine the appropriate patty size, so that the burger won’t be too big for the buns or whatever bread you’re using. Instead of buns, we used toasted whole wheat English muffins, which are a bit smaller in diameter than a regular hamburger bun. Our patties were a little too big and hung over the sides of the muffins, is what I’m saying.
We first heard about using English muffins for burgers from Michael Ruhlman, and think it’s a great idea. The nooks and crannies of the muffin soak up the meaty juices and whatever condiments you like, and toasting the muffin provides a nice texture. Bays makes really good English muffins that you can find in the dairy section of most supermarkets.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large non-stick skillet.
Add the burgers to the skillet and cook, flipping once, until browned on both sides and cooked through (about 160 degrees inside) — about 8-9 minutes total.
If you’re making cheeseburgers, add the cheese to the burger for the final 2-3 minutes of cooking time so the cheese gets nice and melt-y.
Garnish the burgers with the condiments of your choice and serve. We served ours with zucchini slaw for a healthy and delicious weeknight meal.
- 1 lb. ground turkey (93% lean)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Mix all of the ingredients (except for the oil) together in a large bowl until just combined. Form the mixture into 4-6 uniform patties.
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the burger patties and cook, flipping once, until browned on both sides and cooked through (about 160 degrees inside) — about 8-9 minutes total. If you’re making cheeseburgers, add the cheese for the final 2-3 minutes of cooking time.
- Garnish with condiments of your choice and serve.