Greek Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

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So I had made some random pasta dish over the week and used this awesome black olive fettuccine I had in the pantry, obviously you have to go Mediterranean with this one! I marinated shrimp and tossed the pasta with feta, sun dried tomatoes and black olives. It was pretty darn good! I had all of this left over Mediterranean goodness in my fridge and thought.. what will I make next?? Gyros??.. nah.. meatloaf??.. maybe another time… turkey burgers??.. YES! And there you have what I call a light bulb moment, my very own healthypassions original. It’s always fun to make your own recipe and I loved the way this one turned out. I am happy to share it with all of you and hope you make a successful meal out of it!

This recipe made about 3 large burgers, you can make 4 smaller sized ones or use an extra ½lb of meat to make 4 large burgers. Since my husband is on deployment I am trying to get used to cooking for 1, which still turns out to be enough for 2-3 people, but hey you can’t hate leftovers! These would be great on the grill, I don’t have one currently but if you do I would highly recommend it!

The first thing you want to do is make your tzatziki sauce, you can find that by clicking the direct link given here. This sauce is a definite must with these burgers (although I did try one without the sauce and they are still very good!) Let sit in the fridge for a few hours.

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Next take a large bowl and mix all of your ingredients well. Try not to overmix and I would recommend using your hands to make any kind of burger or meatloaf, etc. It is the best way to mix and to tell if the ingredients are incorporated evenly.

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Once mixed, form into burger patties. This is where you can choose how big or small you want them to be. Just remember they will shrink a little while cooking. They will cook longer the larger they are. Place on a non stick skillet, or grill pan if available. Cook your burgers trying to flip only once (this keeps the juices inside and prevents a dry burger). Mine took about 5-7 minutes on each side. You want to take it off the heat when a meat thermometer reaches 165°. I placed mine on a paper towel to soak up some excess grease.

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If you don’t want to make the Tzatziki sauce (but really, why wouldn’t you?!), these taste great with some avacado and a sweet potato as a side dish! But, you should give the sauce a go, it’s simple and tastes great with the burgers.

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Toast your pita bread, gently open the pocket and cut your burger lengthwise, carefully place your burger in the pocket with some feta cheese, spring mix, and tzatziki sauce. Go ahead and add some avocado on there too if there’s room! Or mash it up and make a spread. Personally, I like avocado with just about everything. Now all that’s left to do is feast on your scrumptious and juicy greek burger!

FYI bragging rights are included with the making of this recipe.

What you’ll need:
1lb ground turkey (1½lbs for 4 large burgers)
½ cup feta cheese crumbles (or in my case a handful)
5-6 sun dried tomatoes, diced(I recommend using the dry kind)
6-8 kalamata black olives, diced, make sure the brand is without pits (I recommend using a jar not a can)
1 tsp of the olive juice
A couple shakes of Worcestershire sauce
½ tbsp hamburger seasoning
½ tbsp cajun seasoning (a staple for every burger in my opinion!)
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Spring Mix
Extra Feta to sprinkle on
Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

 

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Tzatziki Sauce

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Tzatziki sauce…. tzatziki… tza.. how do you even start pronouncing this word?! Truth be told, I don’t even know if I say it correctly, but who cares?? This stuff is good! If you’ve ever had a gyro, (pronounced yuro; I know, the Greek’s really like to make words difficult!) the creamy sauce that comes on one is tzatziki sauce and I’m going to show you how to make it. It’s super simple and yet it has so much flavor! The garlic and dill pair perfect with yogurt, but you may want to have a piece of gum handy after this one ya’ll, your breathe gets a bit stinky. (Totally worth it)

This will literally take you 10 minutes or less to make once you’ve dehydrated the cucumbers. The best part about this sauce is you can put it on many different things, it doesn’t have to just be gyros! Use it as a dip with a veggie tray, or put it on some salmon! Endless possibilities and such good results!

To get started, take a cucumber and wash well, peel it and take all of the seeds out. Chop into chunks and place in a coriander in the sink with salt sprinkled over top. Let sit for 30 minutes, then pat dry with a towel to soak up any excess moisture (this prevents the sauce from becoming runny and watery). 

While your cucumber dehydrates mince your dill, and grate your garlic. Once the cucumber is done, chop into small pieces (unless you want a chunkier sauce). Add this plus the garlic, dill,  a little salt and pepper, and lemon juice to 1 cup of yogurt. Mix well. Taste to make sure flavors add up, add more lemon juice, or yogurt to balance the flavors. Sit in the fridge for at least two hours before serving to really get a nice flavor. Serve.

Simple as that! Now go on Google Translate and figure out how to pronounce tzatziki sauce so when your friends and family members ask you what this delicious sauce you’re serving is you won’t look like an idiot! Just kidding… (no seriously, that is a direct link for you!)

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What you’ll need:
1 cucumber, washed, peeled, and seeds removed

1 clove of garlic, grated small
1-1½ sprigs of dill, minced
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 cup plain greek yogurt (I like Chobani)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mediterranean Hummus Dip

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One word about this dip… amazing.

I found this recipe on, you could guess, annies-eats.com one of my favorite blog sites! It was my last day at work before leaving for my new job and we had a pot luck where everyone brings a dish whether it be entrees, appetizers, desserts, etc. I thought bringing an appetizer was a safe bet and it was very easy to carry with me! Hummus is very common to me, but some people don’t even know what it is, so I figured I could also introduce any first timers!

This dip is super easy to make, the most time i spent was making the pesto. Annie’s recipe called for homemade hummus, but I didn’t have time to make that and pesto so I used Sabra hummus instead.

To get started, make your cilantro pesto. In a food processor combine pesto, garlic, 2tbsp olive oil, pecans and pine nuts. Pulse until a paste-like consistency forms. Scrape the sides of the bowl and pulse again at the same time adding the rest of the olive oil. Place in a bowl and add the parmesan.

Next you assemble the rest of the layers together!! Spread a thick layer of hummus (I used the whole container of Sabra) Next you layer the pesto on top, then the cucumbers, onions, banana peppers, olives, feta cheese and dried tomatoes. Serve with Pita chips and Voila!!!

Simple right?? You would be amazed how fast this dip will disappear! And it’s so easy and relatively cheap to make!

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What you’ll need:

For the cilantro pesto:
1½ cups fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
2 tbsp. pecans
2 tbsp. pine nuts
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

To assemble the dip:
Hummus
Cilantro pesto (above)
Cucumber, seeded and diced
Red onion, diced
Banana peppers, chopped
Sliced olives (black or Kalamata)
Crumbled feta cheese
Sun dried tomatoes

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Chicken Gyros

The first time I ever had a gyro was in Perdido Key in FL while visiting my soon to be hubby. We stopped at this po-dunk Greek Stand on the side of the road, talk about creepy. Here is a little glimpse of this marvelous treasure:

Just look at the awning and lawn chair haha. This little place was bursting with flavor and the cooks are a father and son originally from Greece. And don’t ever ask a Greek man for ketchup, he will be insulted, ask RJ about it. Let me tell you, I was in LOVE. RJ had a hard time winning me over after those! It was with lamb meat, cured off of a skewer roasting and turning for hours, let me just say it was oozing with marinade. Tons of flavor! So with this dish, it is important to marinate your chicken for a few hours.

I will admit, I attempted to make my own pita bread, I failed… epically. So luckily I had some pita bread back up from the store, probably wouldn’t have been as good but oh well! I toasted the store bought pita in the oven with a drizzle of EVOO on each side.

For the tzatziki sauce, I go ahead and strain the yogurt using cheesecloth over a bowl.  Let strain for several hours or overnight, if possible, to remove as much moisture as possible. While straining, start the marinade.

To start, I go ahead and make my marinade. Combine the smashed garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.  Whisk together until mixed well.  Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

 

When the yogurt has been strained, make the rest of the sauce. Shred the cucumber. Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible.  Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice with a food processor if you have one, if not just mix with a spoon, but you may want to coarsely chop the cucumber.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to absorb.

Once the chicken has been marinating for at least a few hours, cook it on the skillet only turning a few times to keep the flavor and prevent chewy meat. I had to drain some of the juices from the marinade after cooking the meat for about 10 minutes. After straining, cook another 10 or so minutes until the chicken is no longer pink. Let sit for 5 minutes.

When sitting, prepare your tomatoes and onions. I am going to add shredded lettuce next time as well! (ohhh yes, there will be a next time) Take your pita bread and toast them, mine were too big for the toaster so I put the oven on high broil and drizzled each side with EVOO and kept in for 5 minutes flipping half way through. Now all that’s left is to assemble and devour!

Ingredients:
For the tzatziki sauce:
16 oz. plain yogurt (not nonfat, if possible)
1/2 hothouse cucumber or 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press (or finely minced)
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil

For the chicken:
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tbsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 lbs. chicken pieces (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

To assemble:
Pita bread
Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
Red onion, sliced thin

OPA!!!! I hope you like this dish 🙂 And as always I got it from my fav. blogger annies-eats.com, who got it from “Elly Says Opa!” You will impress and not be disappointed with this easy meal!