As we approach the official summer, the weather gets warmer and warmer allowing for more and more nights spent relaxing and grilling outdoors. When one think of grilling, the usual suspects come to mind like hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken. While those staples of grilling certainly get put on the menu once and a while in the summer, I love to get creative with the classics and mix things up a bit. I also try to eat a healthy diet. Although I go for an all-beef burger once and a while, we try to change it up with 99% fat free ground turkey. With the right flavors, a low fat turkey burger can be just as delicious and interesting. In fact, I think turkey gives way to more of a blank slate in order to make any number of styles of burgers. There are no limits to what you can do...Greek burgers, Mexican Burgers, Italian Burgers or, maybe, Asian Burgers.
On a recent grilling night, I opted to pull out the ground turkey and create a Thai version of a turkey burger. With ginger, lime, cilantro, and soy sauce on hand, I knew I could pull it off. I decided to add spicy mayo, avocado, and a cabbage and cucumber slaw to complete this dish. If you like Asian flavors, then I recommend keeping things like fresh ginger, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and Asian chili sauce on hand. You can keep fresh ginger in your freezer wrapped in plastic wrap or in a plastic bag. Whenever you are ready for the ginger, take the edge of a spoon to scrape off the brown skin before you use the ginger. Using a zester or microplane to grate the ginger is the best way to get a small amount of ginger well distributed throughout whatever it is you are cooking. Your family and friends will love to try something different, so give your grilled dinners a creative spin to give your guests something to talk about.
Lizzy M.'s Thai Turkey Burgers
1/2 lb 99% fat free ground turkey (My recipe is based on two servings. Use 1/4 lb. per person.)
2 tbsp Tamari (dark soy sauce)
1 tsp spicy mustard
1 tbsp ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tbsp red onion, diced small
1 tbsp cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
Zest of half of a lime
Half of an avocado, mashed
1/2 cup light sour cream or non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp Asian chili sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
Cabbage and Cucumber Slaw
1 cup green cabbage, sliced thin or shredded
1/2 cup cucumber, sliced in thin long sticks
1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin
1 green onion, diced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
Zest from the other half of lime
Juice from half of the lime
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Prepare the slaw first by chopping all ingredients, cabbage, cucumber, onions, and cilantro. Mix these ingredients with the lime zest, lime juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Prepare the spicy sauce by mixing all ingredients well and refrigerating. Feel free to add more chili sauce and/or smoked paprika to add more spice. If you want less spice, then add more sour cream or yogurt to cut the spice a bit.
3. In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients except for the ground turkey. Mix these ingredients well before adding the ground turkey. Once the ground turkey is added incorporate the saucy mixture well with turkey. Form round patties to make the burgers.
4. On a hot outdoor grill or indoor grill pan, cook the turkey burgers for about 5 minutes on each side or until firm to touch. You need to make sure the turkey is cooked all the way through. One way to do this is to allow for the burgers to rest under some aluminum foil for about 4-5 minutes before eating.
5. Take and mashed avocado and add a dash of salt. Mix well. On each hamburger bun, spread the avocado on the bottom of the bun. Place the hot turkey burger on top of the avocado. Next, add a generous dollop of the spicy sauce and pile the slaw right on top. Place the top bun over the slaw and serve. Serve the extra slaw on the side of the burger.
Get out and get grilling. Try new recipes and ideas that will be healthful and flavorful for you and your family. Turkey makes for the perfect canvas to create any kind of burger, so why not try a Thai Turkey Burger!