These spinach feta turkey burgers will transport you straight to Greece! They’re a classic family favorite at our birthday dinners, with juicy patties and buttery burger buns. Slather the burgers generously with a refreshing, creamy tzatziki sauce made of yogurt, lemon and herbs and voila!
This recipe is a tribute to Greek cuisine which is rich with cheeses, meat, olive oil, herbs, yogurt and citrus flavors. Still, Greek recipes are quite balanced, providing the nutrients our bodies need!
These burgers are far from those at any fast food joints. I try to avoid highly processed foods when possible, so it’s important that these patties are made from scratch.
Speaking of health….
Is this Recipe Healthier than Beef Burgers?
Beef and chicken are more common for burger patties. So why did I choose turkey for this recipe? Scientifically, turkey has less saturated fat content which makes it a healthier option than beef.
Another consideration is whether you’re opting for lean cuts or the fatter cuts from each meat. Beef is a type of red meat, and I know some diets require reduced red meat intake as too much of it may increase the risk of certain types of cancers, heart disease, and diabetes.
As a matter of fact, too much of anything is not a good idea! Recently, I’ve begun practicing a more moderate lifestyle, and I make it a point to strike a balance in what I eat.
Turkey Patty and Tzatziki Ingredients
Lean ground turkey
You may come across packaging that says 93% or some other number. These indicate how lean your meat is, with 99% being the leanest made of breast meat.
If a mix is preferred, ask the butcher to grind both breast and drumstick or thigh, with slightly higher fat content. Fresh ground turkey should be a light pink color. The vacuum pack that seals the meat should also wrap the ground meat nicely, but if the plastic has inflated, it’s a bad sign.
Feta cheese is the MVP in this recipe for two reasons: it injects a tangy, briny taste to the patty, and being a source of fats, it is going to soften turkey and create a heavenly combination of textures. Unlike its cheddar, parmesan, or mozzarella counterparts which are yellow, good and fresh feta cheese is whitish.
Bind the patty together with feta and spinach.
Sweet onion/yellow onion and garlic
A must-have in burger patties! Not only are they great for masking any raw meat smell, they simply make the burger more palatable. Garlic will also be used in the tzatziki.
Salt and pepper, sea salt, basil, and dill.
Spinach isn’t a common mix-in in burger patties, but surprisingly turkey goes quite well with spinach! Please see the next section for more information about suitable spinach choices.
The base of the tzatziki sauce is a non-flavored Greek yogurt, with a really thick and creamy consistency. You will find vanilla, strawberry, mango and a variety of other flavors, which make a good dessert, but simply won’t work for tzatziki. I always reach for Olympic Greek yogurt!
Grated, squeezed and dried. This goes into the greek yogurt and enhances freshness.
Tzatziki gets its citrusy flavor from freshly squeezed lemon juice or lime juice.
Extra virgin olive oil
Stirred into tzatziki for fragrant hints of Greek olive!
What Kind Of Spinach Should I Use For This Recipe?
There isn’t a specific type of spinach that I would recommend as most spinach varieties will work for this spinach feta turkey burger. The most important thing is that they are fresh! Not canned, not frozen. These leafy greens are healthy and refreshing but slightly bitter (you know what they say about bitter foods – they’re good for you!).
There are generally three types of spinach:
- Savoy: very crunchy, has dark green leaves, and possesses a crinkled texture
- Flat leaf: smooth, broad leaves in a bright green color
- Semi-savoy: a combination of both types, savoy and flat-leaf
No matter which type of spinach you manage to find at the market, make sure to chop them very finely before mixing it into the ground turkey. The last thing you want is to bite into a whole, bitter spinach leaf in your burger!
To make these spinach feta turkey burgers, you will need to make the turkey patties and tzatziki sauce from scratch. Fret not – we’re going to do this step-by-step!
Wash spinach and chop finely. Mince the garlic cloves and grate half of a large sweet onion. Also grate half a cup of cucumber. Drain the brine off the feta cheese and crumble the feta cheese into small bits.
To make turkey patty:
First, whisk the egg until it is smooth. In a large bowl, combine the turkey patty ingredients and the eggs. Mix well with your hands, making sure the turkey is evenly seasoned and the feta cheese has spread throughout.
Pro tip: To achieve a more tender patty, lightly oil your hands before mixing. We want to handle the turkey swiftly. Too much kneading creates meat gluten that will really toughen up the meat.
With your hands, roll the patty into a ball and press down firmly to form 4 patties. Make a small dent in the middle – this allows the patty to stay in shape! Set aside for an hour or so to marinate the turkey.
Next, grill the patties on a cast iron skillet (a barbecue grill or pan is also fine!) over medium heat. Stop when the temperature of the turkey hits 160F, making sure it’s fully cooked through. The patty should start to brown and sizzle!
While waiting, spread some butter on burger buns and grill, allowing the butter to fully ooze into the bun as it melts.
To make tzatziki:
With your cheese grater, grate half a cup of cucumber. Cucumbers have high water content, so be sure to squeeze all the water out. Stir cucumber into greek yogurt together with lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, salt, and dill. This can be put in the chiller until ready to serve.
Assemble the burger:
Now that you have your separate parts, it’s time to put it all together to make magic.
Start off with half of a burger bun at the bottom, followed by any fresh vegetables of your choice (I’ve chosen the classic lettuce and tomato).
Next, put on the ground turkey patty. Spoon a generous helping of tzatziki sauce over the patty before placing the other bun over it.
With these burgers tasting so darn good, I highly doubt there will be any leftovers! In any case, store grilled patties in the fridge. They will last up to three days. Uncooked patties should be wrapped tightly in cling wrap and stored in the fridge with minimal exposure to air – these can be kept for up to two days only.
This spinach feta turkey burger is just one of my favorite Greek-inspired recipes! Have you checked out my Greek chicken kabobs with tzatziki? It’s another one that should not be missed!
Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers Recipe
SPINACH FETA BURGERS
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 1/4 cup fresh spinach finely chopped
- 3/4 cup feta cheese crumbled
- 1 large sweet onion grated
- 1 egg whisked
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 cups grated cucumber (from about 1 medium cucumber)
- 2 cups thick whole milk Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill
METHOD SPINACH TURKEY BURGERS
- In a small bowl crack egg and whisk egg until smooth
- In a large bowl combine all of the Turkey Spinach Feta burger ingredients plus the whisked egg and mix well.
- Form into 4 patties. In the center of each patty, make a small dent with your thumb (this will help them retain their shape).
- Grill for 10 minutes on one side, flip and grill for another 6-8 min or until cooked through (160ºF internal temp).
METHOD FOR TZATZIKI
- Start by grating the cucumber. Using your cheese grater!
- Next, squeeze the water out of the grated cucumber. This step is essential for making a creamy tzatziki – if you skip it, the water from the cucumber will cause your sauce to separate. Place the cucumber on a towel (or paper towel) and gently squeeze out the excess water directly over the sink.
- Then, stir everything together! In a medium bowl, combine the squeezed cucumber with the yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, salt, and dill. Chill until ready to use.