It’s innate. The unchecked, primordial desire for a juicy, decadent burger, beckoning from the greasiest spoons to glam restaurants. An American addiction gone global, we yearn to make our habit a healthy one.
So consider this tasty morsel. The bold flavors of Tuscany, the healthful bennies of a Mediterranean diet: lean protein, fiber and antioxidants fashioned into a single patty–the Reader’s Digest version of modern nutrition. Voila! A knockout burger with all the decadence of steamed broccoli, we can’t get enough of this healthy stuff.
Under the Tuscan Bun Ground Turkey, Chickpea and Spinach Burgers
Makes 6 burgers
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste (can substitute cooking spray)
14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 pound ground turkey breast
6 cups fresh baby spinach, sautéed and roughly chopped
1/2 toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper (jarred is fine)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano, preferably whole, rubbed between your palms
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
6 ciabatta rolls, halved and lightly toasted, if desired
Roasted red bell peppers
Fresh basil leaves
Sliced red onion
2 roasted yellow bell peppers (jarred is fine), optional
6 tablespoons olive oil mayo, optional
Coat bottom of a large, nonstick sauté pan with olive oil and heat to medium-high. When oil is shimmering, add chickpeas in a single layer. (You may need a spatter screen if the peas are not fully drained.) Allow to cook, undisturbed, until bottoms are golden brown, tossing to evenly brown. When chickpeas are crisp golden brown, drain on paper towels, discarding most of oil, until cool.
Transfer chickpeas to a food processor and pulse until a coarse meal forms. Alternately, use a mortar and pestle or potato masher.
Combine chickpeas with turkey in a large bowl. Squeeze excess moisture from spinach and add to bowl, along with pine nuts, roasted red bell pepper, salt, pepper, oregano and fennel seeds. Lightly beat egg and add to mixture. Stir in Parmesan and lemon juice. Thoroughly mix with hands form 6 patties.
Cook burgers over medium-high heat 5 minutes per side, working in batches if necessary. Keep warm until serving, allowing 5 minutes for burgers to rest.
Serve on toasted ciabatta with preferred toppings. If desired, blend together yellow bell peppers and mayo for a gorgeous, golden spread.
Diva Confession: Soar to new levels of yum with some not-so-common condiments. For our turkey burgers, we kicked up olive oil mayo with roasted yellow bell peppers straight from the pantry. Alternatively, add off-the-shelf olive tapenade or basil pesto to mayo, ketchup or mustard. If you’re seeking a low-fat, low-sugar option, whisk together equal parts plain Greek yogurt with your favorite hummus. Turn up the heat with Srirracha or wasabi; try them with mayo and or ketchup. Or keep it fresh with fresh basil, tarragon, parsley or mint.