Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pesto Turkey Burgers

As I mentioned in my container gardening post, I have a plethora of basil.  Pesto is always a great way to use some, but it's what to do with the pesto that can pose the problem.  Obviously tossing with pasta is an easy way to use it, but I like to shake things up, so I mixed some pesto into ground turkey and made pesto turkey burgers!  Topped with a thick slice of tomato, some grilled onions, melted provolone cheese, and a smear of pesto on a toasted bun, you have a mighty fine burger.

Turkey burgers have the reputation of being dry, crumbly, and tasteless, but the pesto certainly solves those problems.  The olive oil in the pesto keeps the burgers moist, and of course they taste bright and fresh thanks to the basil and fresh garlic.

If you're looking to mix up your summer grilling, give these a try.  Any number of sides - especially grilled vegetables - would go well with this - I went with grilled asparagus caprese salad, and it was a stellar choice.  Happy grilling!

Pesto Turkey Burgers
adapted from Oishii Food

adapted from Cook's Illustrated
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian parsley
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup grated Pamesan cheese
Toast nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Add to the food processor. Add the garlic cloves to the skillet and toast, tossing frequently, until the skins are toasted and garlic is fragrant. Peel and add to food processor as well.

Process until finely chopped, and add remaining ingredients except cheese. Process until finely chopped.  Transfer to a small bowl, add the cheese, and adjust seasonings if necessary.


  • 1/4 cup pesto, plus more for serving
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 buns, split open and brushed with olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced into thick rings
  • 4 tomato slices
  • lettuce
Prepare grill.  

In a medium bowl, combine the pesto, ground turkey, Dijon mustard, garlic, and salt and pepper.  Lightly but thoroughly mix to combine.  Form into 4 equal-sized patties.

Brush the grates of the grill with olive oil, and grill the burgers 4-6 minutes per side, or until cooked through.  When the burgers are almost done, top each patty with a slice of cheese, close the grill cover, and cook until the cheese has melted.  As the burgers cook, also grill the onions, turning once.  Toast the buns on the grill about 1 minute, or until golden-brown.

Top the burgers with lettuce, tomato, and grilled onions.  Spread a small amount of pesto on one of the buns and serve.


Made in Sonoma said...

Sounds absolutely amazing. I wish I had your basil problem...

Blog is the New Black said...

I have been on a huge turkey burger kick- I've done "chicken parm" abnd honey BBQ, buffalo, etc.... adding this to the list!

Emily @ She Makes and Bakes said...

I just posted this pesto recipe today....great idea on the burgers! Looks fantastic!

Shawn @ I Wash...You Dry said...

Love this! What a great looking burger!

Eileen said...

That pesto burger looks delicious--but I have to say I'm really excited to hear about your grilled asparagus caprese! DO TELL.

Laura said...

Those grilled Vidalias on top look absolutely to die for! Putting this on the list for next month when basil is in abundance.

Brianna said...

I'd forgotten about these burgers! Thanks for reminding me that I need to put them on the menu again soon :) First I need to keep an eye out for perfect tomatoes ...

Joanne said...

I really do find that pesto makes EVERYTHING better! These look awesome!

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

Oh, Josie! This burger looks so delicious! the fact that it's made of turkey...yipee! That's surely one way of cutting down fat intake but still yielding a great-tasting burger! Have a wonderful weekend!

Chrissy said...

GORGEOUS photo!! Your burger looks great!

Anonymous said...

Looks yummy! Hope you don't mind that I pinned this recipe :-)

paper cup machines said...

Wow! What an awesome recipe! Looks great.

LV said...

Looks delicious! I love turkey burgers!

Cathleen said...

Yum! Pesto is one of my FAVORITE ingredients. I put it in almost everything. This looks great!

Shuree Hohn said...

Had these tonight... they are fabulous.

Julie said...

These have become our new favorite burger. They are so good.

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