Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Turkey Feta Spinach Burgers with Pepperoncini Sauce

These are my all-time favorite burgers because of the way the briny feta cheese, earthy spinach and mellow onions combine with the zing from the sauce. It's a pleasure party for the palate.

If you're looking for a different take on July 4 fare, give these a try.

Mixing the feta and spinach with the turkey keeps the burgers super moist and flavorful. The creamy and spicy pepperoncini sauce delivers a refreshingly cool topper for this casual dinner.

I used to only cook these on the stovetop with my grill pan, but I've been toying with variations to keep the burgers from falling apart on my outdoor grill. Thanks to some collaboration with my nutritionist sister-in-law Karen S., this recipe ensures success with either cooking method!

Mangia! Mangia!

Turkey Feta Spinach Burgers with Pepperoncini Sauce
Inspired by chef Sara Moulton

For the burgers
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
5 oz baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
3 ounces feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 egg
1/4 cup or more of old fashioned oats, optional

For the sauce:
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup low fat mayo
2 tablespoons seeded and chopped pepperoncini peppers (from a jar)
1 tablespoon pepperoncini liquid from the jar
1 or 2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to brown, about 5 or 6 minutes.  Add spinach and stir until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a colander and let spinach and onion drain off excess liquid.

As spinach cools, you can mix up the creamy pepperoncini burger topper. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the sauce. Stir well and set aside.

Now you are ready to form your burgers. Mix together ground turkey, egg, spinach and onion, feta cheese, oregano, salt and pepper. If mixture seems too moist and loose, add oats to help add form. Shape into patties. You'll get four large or six to eight slider-sized burgers. Use whatever size makes sense for your family.

Spray burgers with cooking spray and grill over medium heat for about six minutes on each side.

If using buns, spread some pepperoncini sauce on the bottom buns and add the burgers. Spoon more  sauce over the burgers and top with bun. Or go bun-less and just use the sauce.

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