Mediterranean Turkey Burgers with Dill Yogurt Sauce

Now that summer’s upon us in full force here in Central Texas, I am one happy blogger. One of my favorite things in life is relaxing in or near a turquoise body of water, and I can’t help but daydream about Greek Islands. In 2004, I had the great fortune to be able to spend a week in Corfu, and it was the closest place to heaven I have yet been.

So, for tonight’s dinner, I decided to combine the very American organic ground turkey in my fridge with some of my favorite Mediterranean flavors. I’ve also been on a yogurt and (especially) sour cream kick lately, so this really hit the spot. It’s a pretty straightforward concoction, but the result is, both refreshing and satisfyingly savory, if not as gorgeous as the Ionian islands.

For the sauce
1 cup cup Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp sour cream (optional)
juice half a lemon
1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, minced (or dash or garlic powder)
1 flat tsp dried dill

In a bowl with an airtight lid, stir all ingredients thoroughly and refrigerate for at least two hours. This will allow the dill time to soften, and for the flavors to blend. This sauce can be used on a pita or sandwich, as a salad dressing, or as a dip for raw vegetables. It also makes an easy and delicious base for potato salad (warm or cold).

For this recipe, a side of raw vegetables for dipping makes a great addition!

This sauce will keep for several days in the refrigerator, as well.

For the burgers
1 lb ground turkey*
2 Tbsp pesto of your choice
~ 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely shredded and diced
1 tsp ground paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup fine Italian breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp olive oil (if cooking on the stovetop)
2 whole wheat pitas
1 cup feta cheese
lettuce or greens of your choice
fresh Kalamata olives as garnish (optional)

1. In a large bowl, mix the turkey, pesto, onion, herbs, salt and pepper, and breadcrumbs. Stir thoroughly with clean hands until all ingredients are evenly mixed.

2. Form mixture into four balls of equal size and mash out flat on a cutting board or other clean surface, to form patties, each approximately 3/4″ or so thick.

3. These may be cooked in a skillet with a little olive oil (about 5 minutes each side) or, as I frequently do, on the grill. As is usual on a weeknight, I used my George Foreman Grill for these (about 5 or 6 minutes). If cooking outside, factor in time to get your grill prepared before tossing them on.

4. While burgers are cooking, prepare pitas by cutting them in half and warming them slightly in the oven, microwave, or high on the grill. Chop any vegetables, such as carrots and cucumber, that you will be serving alongside your burgers.

5. Assemble burgers by sliding the patties into the pita halves and finishing with a dollop of Dill Yogurt Sauce, feta, and some lettuce. Use any extra sauce for dipping side vegetables. Add olives, if using, and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

* Of course, you could also substitute lamb.

Zakynthos, by Craig Grocott, on Flickr

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