Turkey burgers in the oven tend to be people’s go-to for having a healthy lunch option at the ready. But I’ve always found them a little dry and disappointing compared to other ground meats. That is, until I discovered this ground turkey burger recipe which somehow adds more moisture while at the same time adding more nutritious veggies to the mix.
A few months ago, I collaborated with my friend Alyssa Gagarin of Meal Prep Chef on an online cooking class. Naturally, we focused on make ahead recipes, since that’s what her incredible private chef service specializes in in NYC. I made the epic caper-herb potato salad and southwestern wedge salad from my book, SIBO Made Simple. And she brought these Smoky Spinach-Avocado Turkey Burgers to our virtual table.
The burgers use one of my favorite healthy cooking hacks: frozen chopped spinach. Once you defrost the package and squeeze out all the moisture, you’re left with an incredibly nutritious hockey ball of greens that are perfect for adding body to veggie or turkey burgers alike. I even have a green falafel in my book that uses the same technique.
To bind these paleo burgers together, Alyssa uses almond flour and egg. But the ultimate glue is the avocado itself! It might seem weird to cook avocado, but once you mash it, the mixture just becomes another flavorful healthy fat in the background keeping the burger tender and moist.
Avocado is one of those weird medium FODMAP foods that you can get away with a small amount of, an 8th of an avocado to be exact. This is very awkward unless you’re using it in a dip or stretching it as part of another dish. Since this ground turkey burger recipe yields 8 patties it’s actually a perfect way to not overdo it on the avocado front. To keep your meal low FODMAP, you can have two patties on their own, or one patty and use a slice of the remaining half avocado as a topping.
If you don’t like cilantro, feel free to use any herbs in the burger mixture. Fresh dill, parsley, chives or mint would be delicious. But I love the combination of cilantro with southwestern spices like smoked paprika and chili powder.
Lastly, if you don’t want to make these turkey burgers in the oven you can easily sear them stovetop. The mixture is quite wet and sticky so I found it easier to form it into patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet. But Alyssa prefers searing them in a nonstick pan and then transferring them to the oven to finish. I found that if you flip them halfway through the baking process, you can still get a lovely browning on both sides.
Since Charlie doesn’t eat meat anymore, I’m always looking for great make ahead options to keep on hand in the fridge, and these spinach-avocado turkey burgers have been a go-to for breakfast and lunch. Read on for the turkey burger recipe!
With health and hedonism,
Smoky Spinach-Avocado Turkey Burgers (Low FODMAP)
You can make these turkey burgers in the oven, which is one reason why they are so easy. They are adapted from my friend Alyssa Gagarin of Meal Prep Chef, and are a client favorite over there. By loading them up with spinach and avocado, these burger patties are packing some serious nutrient density and are an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin A. The best part is that they remain moist and juicy, thanks to the creamy avocado! Since it’s divided between 8 patties, the avocado still remains low FODMAP if you stick to a single serving. To make this AIP omit the spices, mayo and egg, and use 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch instead of the almond flour. These are Whole30 friendly if served “naked” on a lettuce wrap. To make a smoky herbed mayo for serving, just combine ¼ cup mayo with ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. These are my preferred GF buns!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl, coarsely mash half the avocado. Add the turkey, egg, almond flour, cilantro, olive oil, smoked paprika, chili powder and salt together until just fully combined.
Gather the thawed spinach in a dish towel an squeeze out all the moisture. Add the bowl with the turkey mixture. With clean hands, mix the ingredients until the turkey is nicely distributed but not overly worked.
Form the turkey mixture into 8 small burgers – an ice cream scoop or wet hands helps – and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet evenly spaced. Pat the balls and form into patties on the sheet. The mixture will be quite wet, but it will hold together in the oven!
Drizzle the burgers lightly with olive oil or give them a spritz of cooking spray. Transfer to the oven until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Flip the burgers and cook for another 5-10 minutes on the second side until lightly browned.
Serve the burgers on toasted buns or “naked” as lettuce wraps with a dollop of smoky herbed mayo (see note), one thin slice of the remaining avocado half, and a few arugula leaves.