May 6, 2013

A Squash is a Squash is a Burger {Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin}

It's getting to be burger time.  I find it hard to resist a good, cheesy burger right off the grill.

But burgers don't really jive with the lower-carb, lower-cal meals we've been trying to focus on.

These Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin from Yotam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem (served with Sour Cream and Sumac Sauce) seemed like a smarter choice.

While I'll use ground turkey in place of beef in casseroles and chili, I'm not usually wild about turkey burgers since I find them dry.  Not the case here.  The grated zucchini helped keep the turkey moist.  Green onion, cumin, and mint gave great flavor to these burgers.

My sauce ended up lacking the sumac because I never could find it.  Instead, I decided to mimic  the cumin in the burgers by adding some to the sauce.  The cool, creamy, lemony, sauce was really nice.

These burgers were a smarter choice.  Genius, actually.

Thumbs up all around

The drawback to the zucchini adding moisture was that the turkey mixture was a bit wet to work with.  I ended up adding some breadcrumbs to the mixture to hold it together.

While these burgers would be great in pita with lettuce, tomato, and the tangy sauce, I served them as is with the sauce on top.

This post is part of "A Squash is a Squash, of Course of Course" week @ I Heart Cooking Clubs.
Visit my IHCC pals for more Ottolenghi squash recipes.
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Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin
Sour Cream and Cumin Sauce

slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem

*Make the sauce first so the flavors can meld.

1/2 cup light sour cream
2/3 c plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp lemon zest plus more for garnish
juice of 1/2 large lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp ground cumin
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with lemon zest, and chill until ready to serve.

1 lb lean ground turkey
about 2 cups grated zucchini (roughly 1 large)
3 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp mint, chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs *see note
olive oil for cooking

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix all of the ingredients, except for the breadcrumbs and olive oil, in a large bowl.  Add in the breadcrumbs 1/4 cup at a time until the turkey mixture just holds together.  Wet your hands and shape the mixture into 18 patties.

Meanwhile, add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large skillet, placed over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, place the patties in the skillet, but do not crowd.  Cook on one side until golden, about 2-3 minutes.  Carefully turn and cook on the second side for another 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a baking sheet.  Repeat with more patties if needed.  Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for about 7 minutes, or until burgers are cooked through.  Serve with the chilled sauce.  Serves 4.

*Note: you may not need all (or any) of the breadcrumbs.  It will depend on how much water is in your zucchini.


  1. Oh yum! I was looking through my Ottolenghi books last night for something "squashy", and this was one that I bookmarked. They look so good. Thanks for the tip on adding the breadcrumbs to overcome the excess moisture from the zucchini. If you had the time, you could also grate the zucchini in advance and let it drain for a while, then wring out any excess moisture - a bit like you would spinach. Absolutely loving the sound of that sauce too.

  2. I love all the flavours used in these - have to give them a go, look so tasty!

  3. Looks yummy. :) Where in the world do you get sumac? What does it taste like?

    1. Of course, none of the grocery stores here carried it. I looked at World Market when I went to town. No luck there either. Penzey's has it online, but I didn't think far enough ahead. It's supposed to have a mild lemony flavor. I just hoped the lemon juice would be enough and added some cumin for kicks.

  4. I love how freshly grated zucchini adds moisture and nutrition to burgers! Great choice! I've never tried it with turkey (not much of a ground turkey fan) but this sounds great! It might even make me change my mind :)

  5. I keep eyeballing this recipe because I think those burgers look delicious. The trouble is I don't like sour cream and I don't know what to sub in place of it. How do you think mayo would do as a sub?

    Also, a friend just recommend a website named My Spice Sage. They have everything! I just ordered sumac, za'tar, baharat spice, and orange blossom water. The shipping was free and if you spent $20 then you got 6 free vanilla beans (awesome deal there). You also get to pick out a 1 ounce package of another spice for free with every order. It was an awesome deal and I got my order the very next day. I'd definitely recommend it!

  6. Michelle, these Turkey Zucchini Burgers sound like something I would really like! And it's grillin' weather now! ;)

    We’re so glad you joined us for Let’s Get Social Sunday- hope you’re having a great week!

    Joy from

  7. I'd like my other-half to try these burgers. Not with this sauce (we're not allowed to eat dairy with meat), although I will try the sauce for other dishes

  8. I am always looking for a healthier "burger"

  9. Ooohh...these look SO good!! I want one right now, yum! Thanks for following me - I'm following you back! I hope you're having a great week!

    Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy

  10. Looks yummy, I make turkey burgers at least once a week so I'll be trying this one!

  11. These burgers look like they have so much flavor and I am loving that sauce. I like sumac but I adore cumin so it sounds perfect to me. ;-) Great pick!

  12. Love these burgers, it's great when food combines delicious & healthy. Genius idea to add zucchini for moisture rather than fat!! These will be perfect when the warmer weather rolls around again.


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