I hope this uncharacteristic recipe post for a turkey burger doesn’t turn off too many of my most dedicated vegetarian readers. I personally follow a Mediterranean diet, which means lots of beans, whole grains and veggies, but also some poultry and fish. I do feed my kids meat more regularly than I eat it myself, mostly because I've got an aspiring fruitarian son who teeters on the verge of anemia all the time, and I’m constantly obsessing about whether he's getting enough iron.
Not surprisingly, my latest experiment was to create a high-iron burger that was moist and delicious enough for the kids to accept, but healthy enough for the adults in the family as well. For the latter reason, I chose turkey instead of beef, though red meat does have more iron than turkey. By using ground dark meat turkey and adding iron-rich quinoa as a binding agent, I thought I could compensate for some of the difference, while sparing us all the extra saturated fat. (Oh goodness.. reading this out loud I just realized that Turkey-Quinoa burgers are exactly the kind of thing people imagine nutritionists feed their kids, aren’t they? When did I become such a stereotype…?)
Makes 4 burgers
- 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup grated zucchini (or substitute 1/2-3/4 cup well-chopped spinach)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce (can substitute Dijon mustard if you avoid fish)
- 1 lb ground turkey (preferably dark meat/thighs)
- Kosher Salt
- Cook quinoa according to package directions in a very small saucepan. You may need to add a bit of extra water to account for evaporation since the quantity is so small. Note that 1/4 cup dry yields about 1 cup cooked.
- Meanwhile, while quinoa is cooking, saute the shallots and garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes until starting to sweat. Add the zucchini (or spinach) and continue to saute for 2 minutes more until veggies are soft and sweating. Remove from heat.
- Combine ground turkey, cooked quinoa, worcestershire sauce and sauteed veggies in a mixing bowl. Add a generous pinch of kosher salt. Mix with hands until well-blended.
- Form mixture into 4 patties of equal size.
- Grill burgers on a preheated grill until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. (About 10 minutes on an outdoor grill, flipped halfway through; 7-8 minutes on an indoor sandwich press grill, such as the Cuisinart Griddler, set at “high”)