Turkey Caprese Burgers


Burgers have to be one of the easiest ways to transform a recipe. For instance, this one. I love caprese salads. The flavor combination of fresh tomatoes, with the delicate basil and creamy mozzarella is incredible, and one of my favorite things to eat when I want something light and refreshing.

I actually prefer it without balsamic and olive oil. To me it’s easy to overwhelm the delicate tomato and basil flavors with oil and vinegar.

I love to cook, so when I was thinking through dinner ideas one night, I had the idea to put these ingredients on a burger and see how it ended up. I was pleasantly surprised with how great it was. Seeing how the caprese flavors are more of the fresh and delicate, I really didn’t think that beef would marry well.

So I decided to try turkey, which has less of its own flavor compared with beef. So I mixed ground turkey with some garlic, basil and parmesan (and a lot of breadcrumbs! Yikes, turkey is a super wet meat).

Now before we continue, I will say that I use a lot of basil in all layers of this–the meat, the spread and just on the burger itself. Despite this, it is not overwhelming when you eat this delightful meal.

Ok, continuing on.

Let the meat rest before forming patties and cooking. I used my George Foreman grill, because it was easier and quicker than frying them in a pan or baking them. Also, ground turkey and chicken can end up tough if you’re not careful, so the grill seemed the best way to cook them quickly and completely. One thing I will say about the actual patties is that you really should have thin burgers, not thick ones. As burgers are never something that seem to reheat well, I usually try to make our 1 pound package into three (my hubs, myself and my son). But I usually make my husband about a 1/2 lb. patty, and split the remaining half about 1/3 for my son, and 2/3 for me. Don’t focus on the math, just take my warning to make sure to make 1/4 lb patties, or 1/3 lb ones, but make sure they’re thin.

The sauce is tomato based, however, not fresh tomato based. Instead, I decided to use a sundried tomato spread as the base (cheaper and quicker than making my own, or even buying and mincing a jar of sundried tomatoes), parmesan cheese, basil and garlic. You could use fresh garlic, but I’m all about time saving, so I buy a big jar of minced garlic and use it as I need it. It certainly saves time. It does give a little different of flavor (less potent than fresh garlic), but not in a way that ruins a recipe. But to each their own, if you’re a freshie nut, have at it.

Mixing these ingredients together, I make a spread/tapanade/tomato pesto of sorts to use as the tomato element of the caprese salad for the burger. Lastly, I buy a ball of fresh mozzarella and slice it to use on the burgers. (To explain my picture, the ball I got was on sale, and I didn’t look closely…it was mozzarella pearls smushed together, so it came apart a big when I tried to slice it. Still tastes good, so no worries.)

Now if you were into the balsamic vinegar element, you could easily reduce some and add to some mayo (we detest mayo, so I didn’t bother with this) to use as a spread. It would add a bit more moisture. You could also use fresh tomatoes, but I did not either as I just wanted the spread.

Layer your bun with the tomato spread, basil leaves and the turkey. When the burgers are cooked, make sure you add the cheese immediately so it can get ooey-gooey and melty all over the turkey. (Clearly the picture is just so you can see the cheese, it should go on the burger.)

And there you have it! The burger is packed full of amazing flavor from the sundried tomatoes, the fresh basil, garlic and the creamy cheese. It all melds together on the tender turkey patty to make for one incredible burger. Give it a try, and tell me what you think.

 

Ingredients:
For the patties-
1 lb ground turkey or chicken
2 Tbsp fresh basil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4-1/2 c breadcrumbs (this will depend on how wet your meat is)

Mix well, form into patties and grill until completely done.

for the tomato spread-
1- 9oz jar sundried tomato spread
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil

Mix together well and set aside.

Directions:

Grill the burgers, top with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Spread a generous helping of tomato spread on a bun, and add slices of basil if desired. Enjoy!

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