These juicy Pesto Zucchini Turkey Burgers topped with fresh mozzarella and thick slices of tomato will make you forget all about those dry, flavorless turkey burgers you’ve had in the past!
It’s been a while since I’ve shared a new burger recipe. I think the last ones I made were these Greek Turkey Burgers and that was two years ago! Obviously it’s time for something new. Since my garden has been pumping out at least 2 zucchini a week it only seemed fitting to make these Pesto Zucchini Turkey Burgers.
Turkey burgers get a reputation for being dry and flavorless and I’ll be the first to admit that many times that’s true. I especially despise the ones you can find in the freezer section. They’re literally like hockey pucks and even those might taste better. So, what’s the trick to getting a juicy turkey burger that’s full of flavor?
How to Make Juicy Turkey Burgers
- Buy ground turkey with a some fat in it. It doesn’t have to be dark meat, but I would steer clear of the extra lean stuff (99% fat free). For most of my turkey burger and turkey meatball recipes I use 93% lean ground turkey.
- If you only have extra lean ground turkey add a little fat in the form of olive oil, I’d suggest a tablespoon. If you’re completely opposed to that, sauté onions or add zucchini for extra moisture.
- Don’t over mix the meat mixture. It’s similar to baking in that the more you mix it the more dense, rubbery and chewy the end result will be. I always notice this texture issue with frozen burgers or meatballs.
- Create patties that are uniform in shape so you don’t end up with dry edges. I like to make them about an inch thick.
- Don’t press down on the patties with a spatula. This will push out all those precious juices and flavors.
- Only flip the burgers once. Flipping more than once slows down the cooking time which can result in a dry burger.
- Don’t overcook the burgers. Turkey burgers should have an internal temperature of 165° F. When it comes to turkey, treat it the same way you would chicken, you don’t want to see any pink inside.
- Let the burgers rest for several minutes before serving. This ensures the juices stay inside the burger instead of running out all over your hands and face.
Now that you have the tools to make these juicy Pesto Zucchini Turkey Burgers, let’s talk about how easy they are to make. You only need six ingredients for the burger mixture. Ground turkey, zucchini, breadcrumbs (gluten-free if needed), garlic and onion powder and pesto. Blue Moose of Boulder basil pesto is my go-to when I buy store bought pesto. The flavor is great, moderate on the calories and fat and no preservatives.
The zucchini turkey burgers can be grilled, which is what I did, or you can cook them in a skillet on the stove. Whichever method you choose, be sure that the pan or the grill grates have been properly oiled so the burgers don’t stick. Once the burgers are nearly cooked through top them with a generous slice of fresh mozzarella cheese.
I served these burgers on toasted buns and topped with a thick slice of tomato, extra pesto and mixed baby greens. If you want a lower carb burgers serve it on top of a salad or as a lettuce wrap. Enjoy!
More Turkey Burger Recipes
- 1 pound lean ground, I used 93% lean 7% fat
- 1/2 cup grated zucchini, this amount after excess liquid has been squeezed out
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons pesto
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
- 4 slices of tomato
- Mixed greens or lettuce
- 4 buns
- In a large bowl combine the turkey, zucchini, breadcrumbs, pesto, granulated garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper. Use your hands to gently combine the mixture.
- Divide the turkey mixture into fourths and form into evenly shaped patties. Preheat your grill or skillet to medium-high heat and oil the grates or skillet. Cook the burgers for about 5 minutes then flip over and cook another 5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165° F. and the middle is no longer pink. During the last minute or two of cooking add the mozzarella slices. Let the burgers rest for 5 minutes.
- Serve the burgers on toasted/grilled buns topped with mixed greens, a tomato slice and an extra drizzle of pesto.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 455Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 555mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 49g