These Greek turkey burgers taste just like a gyro sandwich in a weeknight-friendly package. The patties have all the herby, garlicky goodness of gyro meat, and are topped with creamy, tart whipped feta and a simple, crunchy tomato-cucumber salsa. Don’t let the ingredient list scare you, it all comes together in less than 30 minutes!
This Greek turkey burger recipe has been adding some serious delish to my life. I know not everyone is a fan of turkey as a burger meat, but I promise this recipe will change your mind! Turkey is the perfect vehicle for all the Greek flavors, from the holy trinity of Greek herbs to a creamy whipped feta and crunchy salsa inspired by horiatiki salad.
My secret weapon for seasoning burgers: pesto!
Adding fresh herbs to ground meat can be a pain, and during the recipe testing process I ran out of patience for mincing parsley, oregano, and mint. I gave dried herbs a whirl, and while they are a viable option, it just isn’t the same. I finally found inspiration in this meatball recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking, which blends the herbs up into a pesto-like concoction before adding them to the meat. SOLD!
If you have a mini food processor, this is the moment to drag it out from the back of the cupboard. Mine gets used several times a week, and the parts pop right into the dishwasher. It's the perfect size for this small blend of herbs and garlic! I have the Ninja Express Chop Professional, and it works great.
Add healthy fat to create a juicy turkey burger
The next challenge with this turkey burger recipe was the turkey itself. Ground turkey can easily turn out dry because of it’s low fat content. But one of the benefits of working with low-fat ground meat is that you can add in healthy fat to keep it juicy.
Turning the herbs into a pesto offers the opportunity to do just that. Olive oil is a no-brainer, and there’s plenty of that added into the herb blend. I also throw in a couple of walnuts, which not only add healthy fat but also a bit of nutty flavor. It’s just enough additional fat to hold everything together and keep these turkey burgers juicy and delicious.
Some folks prefer ground turkey breast, which is even lower in fat than plain ground turkey. If you do, I recommend tossing in an egg yolk to further boost the healthy fat content and hold everything together.
Add flavor and texture with the perfect toppings
Every burger worth eating has to have some kind of cheese, and any burger that wants to call itself Greek MUST incorporate feta. Feta is one of my favorite flavor boosters, and it is always in my refrigerator. The challenge, of course, is that it doesn’t really melt. To fix that, I simply blended it with some cream cheese and spread it on the burgers during the last few minutes of cooking to achieve just a bit of tart, melty goodness.
The Greek “salsa” stands in for crunchy pickles on this burger, while the arugula adds a bit of spice. You can also use spinach or romaine, I just thought the arugula added something special to top it all off.
Tips for making the perfect Greek turkey burger
- Season the outside of your burgers as you cook them. This has become a favorite trick of mine with all burgers lately. I not only incorporate salt when I’m mixing the meat, I also lightly salt the outsides while they are cooking. It only takes a little bit of salt, but it makes a big difference!
- Use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking. Turkey in any form is notorious for going from undercooked to overcooked in a flash. Resist the urge to turn up the heat to speed up cooking, and use a meat thermometer so you know when the meat is getting close to done, about 160 degrees F. I use this thermometer, which has a magnet on the back and hangs on the side of my refrigerator so it’s always within reach.
- Serve on whole wheat for extra flavor and texture. This is one recipe where whole wheat buns are not a compromise! My entire family…all white bread lovers…actually preferred whole wheat burger buns for these turkey burgers. There was just something about the added texture and flavor that made the whole wheat buns work. You can also serve them in pita pockets or lettuce wraps, they are all delicious!
Greek turkey burgers can be assembled a couple of hours in advance and refrigerated. If refrigerated, let them sit out for 15-20 minutes to come to room temperature before cooking. Leftovers should last 3 days.
The whipped feta and Greek salsa can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated, they will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator in sealed containers. Freezing is not recommended for either.
Did you make these Greek turkey burgers with whipped feta? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Greek Turkey Burgers with Whipped Feta
- Grill or grill pan
- ½ cup diced roma tomato
- ½ cup diced cucumber
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, plus 1 tablespoon chopped
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 ounces feta cheese at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- ¼ cup fresh oregano leaves or 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- ⅛ cup fresh mint leaves
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and trimmed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
- 4 halves walnut
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- cooking spray
- 1 cup arugula
- 4 whole wheat burger buns
- Combine the diced tomatoes, cucumber and red onion with the chopped fresh parsley. Add a pinch of kosher salt and the red wine vinegar. Toss well to combine and set aside.
- In a food processor or bowl, combine the cream cheese and feta. Process or whip with a hand mixer until smooth.
- Add parsley, oregano, mint, garlic, walnuts ½ teaspoon salt, black pepper and olive oil in your food processor. Process until it resembles a loose pesto.
- Place ground turkey in a bowl and add the herb/walnut mixture. Combine until just incorporated.
- Form four ½ inch thick patties and set aside.
- Heat your grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the insides of your burger buns with a little olive oil, and grill for 4-5 minutes until toasty.
- Lightly season the top of your burgers, then add to the grill salted side down. Salt the other side of the burgers in the pan. The meat is already seasoned, so the outside needs just a touch, but it makes a huge difference!
- Grill for 5-6 minutes, until the underside has grill marks and the sides look cooked. Flip over.
- Add a spoonful of the whipped feta mixture to the top of each burger and spread it out a bit. Cook the burgers for 3-4 more minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit and the feta mixture is a little melty.
- Place each burger on a burger bun, and, using a slotted spoon, top with the tomato-cucumber mixture, then the arugula. Finish off with a crank of pepper and the top of the bun. Serve with sweet potato fries and a simple side salad.