There’s something so satisfying about a good burger. Packed with protein and literally dripping with flavor, a juicy burger is one of my favorite things. I definitely love a traditional beef burger, especially at a summer BBQ, as long as its made with grass fed, free range beef. But for a regular weeknight dinner I prefer to use turkey since it’s much leaner. I always try to find ground dark meat which has more fat and doesn’t get dried out as easily. I love Diestel brand organic turkey which you can find at Whole Foods or even Amazon. Diestel is a wonderful, family-owned and operated company located near Yosemite. They practice sustainable, organic farming and are a highly ethical company which I love to support. Also, their turkey is delicious.
Another trick to help the burgers stay juicy and flavorful is to mix apples, shallots and herbs into the patties before cooking. The water content of the apples and shallots helps the meat retain moisture.
I like to cook the apples and shallots for just a minute or two before mixing them into the meat. I don’t necessarily want to bite into a chunk of apple or raw onion, so this softens them just a bit while still serving the purpose keep the meat moist and flavorful.
The toppings on this burger are super simple. The same herb mix I used in the patty: oregano, sage and thyme, I mix into crumbled feta cheese and add a tablespoon of olive oil to make it spreadable. Yet another tactic to keeping the burgers juicy.
I finish the burger with slices of heirloom tomato, a layer of tender spinach, then hummus slathered onto the bun. For this recipe I used whole wheat pita pockets instead of regular buns since they go with with the mediterranean flavors of the burger. I also like my burgers less bread-y and more burger-y.
We often eat these burgers wrapped in crisp butter lettuce instead of pita. This is a great idea if you’re gluten free or paleo or just trying to watch your carbs. When we do the lettuce wrap I usually skip the hummus and spinach and add some thinly sliced red onion and avocado. Either version is super tasty!
- 1 lb ground turkey thighs
- 2 whole wheat pita pockets, cut in half
- 1 large handful baby spinach
- 1 small shallot, diced
- 1 small (fuji) apple, diced
- 1 ripe heirloom tomato
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup hummus
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 2 tbsp for feta spread
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh oregano
- 2 sprigs fresh sage
- 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
- Dice the shallot and apple.
- Pick the oregano, thyme and sage leaves from the stems. Pile them up on a cutting board and roughly chop. Separate the mixture in half.
- Add 1 tsp olive oil to a small skillet. Over medium-low heat, cook the shallot, apple and half of the chopped herb mixture for about 2-3 minutes. Just long enough to slightly soften the mixture without browning.
- Place the ground turkey and apple-shallot mixture in a large mixing bowl. Gently mix the two together with your hands, just enough to evenly distribute the apples and shallots throughout the turkey. Be careful not to over mix, it can cause the burgers to be tough.
- Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts and form into patties about 4 inches wide.
- Sprinkle each patty with the salt and a couple of grinds fresh black pepper.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it becomes fragrant. Place each patty in the pan seasoned side down, and cook about 2 minutes. Flip the burgers and lower the heat to medium-low. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and cook for another 8 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
- While the burgers rest, measure 3/4 cup of crumbled feta and combine with the remaining chopped herbs and 2 tbsp of olive oil in a small bowl. Stir mixture with a fork to combine.
- Distribute the cheese spread evenly on top of the burgers.
- Slice the tomato.
- Assemble each bun with a slather of hummus, a few leaves of spinach, a slice of tomato and a burger topped with the herbed feta spread.