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Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion & Cumin

April 2, 2014

(aka Lean Green Burgerettes)


By Kath Dedon


I thought I didn’t like turkey burgers. Indeed, I had never tried one that was any better than just OK. That said, I was drawn to Yotam Ottolenghi’s Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion & Cumin in his latest book, Jerusalem. Jonathan Lovekin’s photo of the burgers is irresistible. (The whole book is filled with gorgeous photos by Lovekin and Adam Hinton. If you’re looking for a new cookbook to add to your collection, check out this one!) The ingredients sounded like they would come together to make great burgers. And I do love zucchini.

I gathered the ingredients, opened the cookbook, and went to work. Bob wandered in and took one look at the recipe and said, “Ewwww….”, or something like that. I guess he thought he didn’t like turkey burgers, either. I told him, “These will be good”, and carried on.

The final verdict? These Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion & Cumin are fantastic! Served with the Sour Cream & Sumac Sauce, they are full of flavor with a tender texture. They are not at all dry like some turkey burgers. Bob and I both thought they were delicious and blog-worthy.

Bob said, “OK, they may be good, but the name of the recipe is terrible!” I don’t agree; I think it’s descriptive and it made me want to explore the recipe.

The next day, Laura came over and enjoyed the leftover burgers with Bob for lunch. She loved them, too, but agreed with Bob about the name. So they came up with a new name: Lean Green Burgerettes. Whatever…

I highly recommend these burgers, no matter what you call them. If you’re cooking for 1 or 2, make the whole recipe. The leftovers are great reheated or even eaten cold from the refrigerator. (I may have tested one cold from the refrigerator the next morning.  Just so I could confirm that they are very good cold from the refrigerator. ) 🙂


Zucchini and turkey burgers_edited-1


Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion & Cumin

(Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe in Jerusalem)


The burger mixture is very loose and wet. You could shape the burgers with your hands, but I found a 2-tablespoon scoop that made it easier. I just scooped them on to the parchment paper and then flattened the mound with my hand.


(print the recipe)


Serves 4 (Makes 16 – 18 small burgers)


1 pound ground turkey

1 large (about 7 – 7.5 ounces) zucchini

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons chopped mint

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

About 6½ tablespoons oil for frying


Sour Cream & Sumac Sauce

Scant ½ cup (100g) sour cream

Scant 2/3 cup (150g) Greek yogurt (not nonfat)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 small clove garlic, crushed

1½ tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sumac

½ teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Coarsely grate the zucchini, put it into a strainer and set aside.

2. Make the Sour Cream & Sumac Sauce. Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 425˚.

4. Press the zucchini with paper towels to remove any surface water. (There won’t be much because it wasn’t salted.)

5. Mix all of the burger ingredients together with your hands. Put a large sheet of wax paper or parchment paper on a cutting board. Form into small (about 1½ ounces each) burgers. Place the burgers 2 – 3 inches apart on the wax paper or parchment paper. When they are all formed, cut the paper between the burgers so each one is on its own little piece of paper. (Trust me on this; it makes it much easier to transfer the soft burgers from the board to the pan.)

6. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large rimmed baking sheet. (Ottolenghi says to use wax paper, but I wouldn’t use that in a 425˚ oven.)

7. Heat enough oil in a large frying pan so you have about 1/16 inch of oil. When the oil is hot, lift a burger with the paper under it and carefully flip the burger into the oil. (You have to be careful not to splatter oil on your hand.) Continue adding burgers to the pan until it’s full but not crowded. (I cooked them in 3 batches.) Cook for about 2 minutes, then turn and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the burgers to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Add more oil to the pan, if necessary. Cook the remaining burgers in 1 or 2 more batches and add them to the baking sheet.

8. Bake the burgers for 5 – 7 minutes, or until just cooked (165˚ with an instant-read thermometer).

9. Serve with the sauce over them or on the side.





7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2014 6:09 pm

    I’m sure I’ll be making lean green burgerettes soon! 😉

  2. April 9, 2014 2:24 pm

    I made something very similar recently – great way to keep the meat moist. Ottolenghi is great isn’t he!

    • April 11, 2014 1:14 pm

      Yes! I have both “Jerusalem” and “Plenty” and I’m looking forward to trying more of his recipes.

  3. April 9, 2014 8:52 pm

    I have made a few recipes from that book already and love it. I ended up making a meatloaf instead of burgers and my husband really loved it. I myself love burgers and am gonna try this again on the grill soon. Hope you are having a good week.

    • April 11, 2014 1:15 pm

      That’s a great idea to make a meatloaf, Gina! It would be a lot easier than forming the burgers but you’d still get all of the great flavor.

  4. September 10, 2021 12:15 am

    Turkey, green onions, zucchini, cumin are the perfect combination. I love that.

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