Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pesto Turkey Burgers

After my last post, you might have been wondering what I was going to do with my fresh baked buns.  The answer: Burgers!  Turkey burgers to be exact.  Now, there are a lot of things I like about ground turkey.  It has less fat, less calories, and costs less money (have you SEEN the price of beef lately???).  But let's face it, ground turkey is a little....boring.  And if you don't add things to it, it can leave a little to be desired in the flavor department.  That's how I came up with the idea of Pesto Turkey Burgers.

First, you'll need to make the pesto:

Basic Pesto
Makes 6 servings
Start to finish: 15 minutes

1/4 cup pine nuts, walnuts, or sunflower seeds
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano
2 packed cups basil and parsley
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Now the assembly is pretty easy but there is some important prep work.  First, you'll want to toast your nuts (nobody like raw nuts).  Put a small skillet over medium-high heat and toss in the nuts.
You'll know they are done when you can smell them.  Keep an eye on these guys though because they are done pretty quickly and can burn easily.

The next thing you'll need is a lot of basil.  A lot a lot a lot.  I have two basil plants in my backyard and when I make pesto I still have to supplement with parsley because 2 packed cups of basil is quite a bit.
Now, I can make this pretty easily because I have these plants growing in my backyard, but to be honest, if you don't have this stuff handy, I would not spend the money to buy it in the store. For the price you'll pay buying up enough basil you could have bought a tasty jar of it a couple aisles over.  So, if you don't have fresh basil at your disposal, just stop right now and join me about 3 steps down.

What comes next is pretty easy.  You just take all your ingredients, toss 'em in a food processor and let it rip.

Process until smooth and paste-like.  

You may need to stop half way through and scrape down the sides.

Now it's time to mix this lovely concoction with the ground turkey.  If you are using store bought pesto you should start here.  First, reserve 1/4 cup of the pesto and set it aside.  You will need this later as a topping for your burgers.
Dump the remaining pesto in with 1 lb of ground turkey.  It will look something like this when you're done.
Form the meat into four evenly sized patties.  If you're measuring, each patty should weigh about 5 oz.  
What you do next is up to you.  You could cook these in a skillet, in a Foreman, on a grill pan, or you can do what I do and pass the buck to your husband, the grill master, and tell him not to overcook your delicious turkey burgers.  :-)

When you're ready to serve, don't forget that pesto you held back.  It makes a delicious substitute for mayo.  


  1. OKay - I DID not know you could use other nuts besides pine nuts! Good info Klinks. And those burgers look super yum.

  2. Great pesto recipe. Nuts are soooo expensive, especially pine. I am going to try almonds the next time I make it. I am always looking for something new to do wth pesto. I have never made a turkey burger, so I will try it. The pesto is really good with bruschetta and fish.