Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Versatile Turkey Burgers

Ahh... the humble and "healthful" turkey burger.  Many restaurants add turkey burgers to their menu as a more healthful option compared to their regular beef burgers.  Not surprising though, they often do not taste as delicious as the original.  Also, they really are not that much better for you.  At Ruby Tuesday, a regular hamburger contains 877 calories, 55g fat, 57g carb, and 42g protein.  Comparatively, their turkey burger also comes with 801 calories, 48g fat, 56g carb, and 41g protein.  And these numbers don't even include the french fries.  Still think it's a healthy alternative?

Instead of going out for an overpriced burger, here is what I propose...Buy a box of Trader Joe's frozen turkey burger patties.  Any other plain turkey or beef patty would work well here, but these are what I've been using.  Each patty is a nearly perfect portion of protein (22g).  And the ingredients are simple: turkey, kosher salt, rosemary extract.

While you can of course grill the patties and make burgers, I've found a tastier alternative.  Add them to vegetable salads!  This is not just another lettuce salad, but a more calculated concoction of veggies, herbs, and spices. 

For the basic dressing stir together: 1tbs olive oil, 1tbs vinegar or citrus juice, 1/4tsp dried thyme (basil, oregano, chili powder, cumin would be tasty as well).

For the veggies pick any three of the following and thinly slice about 2-3 cups worth: Fennel, Red Onion, Cucumber, Celery, Radish, Zucchini, Carrots, Bell Pepper, Asparagus, Jicama. 

After the burger is done cooking cut it up into bite size pieces and add it to the veggies and dressing.  This dish travels well; take it to work and you'll be then envy of everyone ordering out.

For a creamy version, use a tablespoon of real mayonnaise such as Hain or Lemonaise, add a table spoon of stone ground mustard and several good dashes of curry powder.  Top this one with some chopped nuts or green onion.  For anyone who's a vegetarian, this same idea can be done with canned tuna or salmon, 3 hardboiled eggs, or even extra firm tofu/ tempeh.  

Some men and very tall or active women may need to cook up two patties for a lunch or supper, but one patty should suffice for most people's breakfast.  Just sprinkle on a little extra rosemary and black pepper for a quick breakfast "sausage."  Eat right away, or pack it up with leftover steamed cauliflower and carrots for a commuter friendly breakfast.  Either way, you are well fueled and ready to face the day!


  1. Courtney RobinsonMay 23, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Hi Brenna,

    I just subscribed to your blog. I saw that you were doing grocery store tours at one point. I am also an RD and I will be doing a grocery store tour in the next couple of weeks. I was wondering if you could offer some tips on what made them successful. Did you follow a certain script or did you just sort of walk around and wing it? Any advice would be much appreciated.


    Courtney R

  2. Hi Courtney, It can be helpful to focus your tour and focus on heart health, cancer prevention, buying organic, how to buy meat and seafood. Spend your time around the perimeter, but go down the cereal aisle, people are shocked when they realize how much carbohydrate/sugar is in even the "health" cereal. It's also helpful to have them read the labels on real cream vs coffee mate.

  3. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.