A healthy, Thai twist on a summertime staple—the turkey burger! This Thai-spiced pineapple turkey burger will offer your taste buds a much-needed vacation from the typical ketchup- and mustard-laden fare and elevate your next summer barbecue or grill out.
If you’re thinking, didn’t she just share a recipe with Thai spices and pineapple?
You’d be correct!
Specifically, it was my healthy one-pan pineapple fried rice recipe.
I guess you could say I’m having a moment with pineapple and Thai food and I’m not going to apologize for it.
I never not having a moment with these two things.
The two really are kind of magical together.
There’s just something irresistible about pairing spicy with sweet, especially when it comes to Asian-inspired dishes. You know?
If you don’t know, get on board, stat!
After all, the official start of summer is only a few weeks away (two weeks to be exact, but who’s counting?) and nothing says summer quite like tropical fruit and burgers.
As such, I’m going on record to say that these Thai-spiced pineapple turkey burgers are quintessentially summer on a bun.
Or summer on collard/romaine lettuce leaf if you prefer to roll—errr not roll?—that way.
Not only is this recipe a fresh twist on a summer classic, using ground turkey for burger patties is a healthful alternative to traditional grill fare—i.e. ground beef burgers and processed hot dogs with suspect ingredient profiles.
Ground turkey breast (i.e. 97-percent lean or greater) is sustainably lower in overall fat and calorie content compared to beef and is an excellent source of satiating lean protein.
In my experience the aforementioned characteristics of ground turkey tend to segment people into one of two camps—those who love turkey burgers for being a fabulously healthy and versatile lean protein or loathe them for being too dry or bland.
If you’ve ever been one to make such a complaint or been generally underwhelmed by a turkey burger in the past, don’t give up hope just yet!
I mean, HELLO. Look at these beauties! Mmm. Could you really call these bland?
Seriously, I promise that this recipe will take the most skeptical turkey burger haters and turn them (or you, if you’re the hater) into a turkey burger lover.
At the very least, they will expand your horizons a bit and give you an easy meal to have in your arsenal for busy weekdays or to wow your turkey-loving pals at future summer shindigs.
It’s probably the reason that I like to cook with Thai spices so often—they always take an otherwise “ho-hum” dish to “hey-now-that’s-fancy!” in a flash.
It’s also why this turkey burger recipe has become a staple in our kitchen, whether we’re hosting a large group of friends or family for a barbecue or simply making dinner for two during the week.
Actually, we’ve pretty much stopped making beef burgers altogether in our home simply because neither of us eats red meat all that often and I thoroughly enjoy exposing others to more healthful alternatives whenever possible.
And I assure you that none of the guests lucky enough to snag one of these burgs will complain about the lack of fat in these juicy and flavorful patties. I mean, yes, you’ve got to do your part and not overcook them, obviously (I believe in you!).
The secret is in the seasoning, which includes traditional Thai ingredients like fresh lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce, as well as a few twists…
Adding pureed pineapple may seem strange but it really gives the burgers a ton of flavor, including a subtle sweetness, and helps keep them juicy and moist (yeah, I hate that word, too, but sometimes it’s unavoidable).
They taste complex but couldn’t be easier to throw together.
Because in case you haven’t noticed, beyond creating recipes centered around pineapple and Thai spices (kidding!), I like ones that are simple and straightforward.
In my opinion, the absolute best recipes are those that can easily be prepped and/or cooked and frozen in advance, which is another thing I’m always striving to do—make choosing healthy easier for you guys.
These bad boys meet those criteria and then some.
They come together super fast—less than five minutes—and only take 15-20 minutes to grill. You can use an outdoor grill if you have access to one or a grill pan works great, too.
MEAL PREP IT
- Assemble the burger patties a few days in advance and store in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.
- Fully cook the turkey burgers and then freeze them between wax paper.
Either way, you’ll have a quick and simple weeknight meal or lazy lunch on the fly. Simply thaw, reheat and voila! Lunch/dinner is done.
This recipe is truly perfect for busy summer weeknights when you’re low on time and/or don’t have the energy to make a meal from scratch. I promise that having a batch of precooked turkey burgers on hand will save you from succumbing to take out or even worse—the drive through!
BEYOND THE BUN
The no brainer way to eat these Thai-spiced turkey burgers is obviously between a bun—preferably a sprouted, gluten-free bun, wink, wink…OR gluten-filled if that’s your jam—no judgment!
However, I’d highly recommend branching out and thinking beyond the bun because there’s so many healthier-yet-still-hearty ways to eat ’em…
Wrap in lettuce or collard leaves
Alongside an epic pile of grilled summer vegetables
Serve on top jasmine rice (or try cauliflower rice for a paleo version)
Crumble over a mixed spinach and kale salad
Roll into a rice paper wrap with julienned carrots and cabbage
Scrape out grilled zucchini or eggplant and stuff with the crumbled, cooked ground turkey
Scramble with eggs for a protein-packed breakfast
DON’T PASS THE KETCHUP (UNLESS IT’S SRIRACHA)
Don’t get me wrong, I love dousing my burgers with gobs of ketchup and mustard as much as the next person (I’m hopelessly heavy handed with the salt shaker and a recovered sugar addict), but this turkey burger holds its own sans condiments.
Plus the Thai-inspired flavors are such a nice departure from the norm, don’t you think?
HOWEVER, I wouldn’t hold it against you if you wanted to add fresh or grilled pineapple and/or a scoop of homemade peach mango salsa, but it truly doesn’t need either.
That’s a different story. I’d definitely recommend a sizable squirt or two on top of these burgers. You could also dollop a few tablespoons of kimchi on ’em for some gut-loving probiotic action!
Oooh and if you happen to have a copy of Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook—It’s All Easy*—I bet the lemongrass mayo on page 160 would be LEGIT served alongside these burgers. (You best believe that trying it is on my to-do list and will be crossed off ASAP.)
Fine. Who am I kidding?
Condiments are EVERYTHING.
So make these burgers, top them as you see fit, and get back here pronto to tell me all about it—specially what you put on top!
Let’s get to it!
*Side note: You really do need GP’s new cookbook, like stat! It’s full 0f simple and beautifully photographed recipes and so, so well written. I literally can’t stop swooning over each and every page and have yet to read a recipe that I don’t want to make.
- 1 lb 97% lean or higher ground turkey breast*
- 1 green onion stalk, diced
- 1 tbs fresh lemongrass, diced (or 2 tsp dried lemongrass powder/spice)
- 1 tbs fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbs fresh grated ginger root
- 1 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tbs coconut aminos (sub GF tamari or soy sauce per pref)
- 2-3 limes, juiced
- ¼ cup fresh or canned pineapple, pureed**
- sea salt and pepper
- Add all spices and diced green onion into bowl with ground turkey and mix by hand.
- Quickly stir lime juice, fish sauce, coconut aminos and pureed pineapple in a bowl and add to ground turkey and mix some more.
- On a plate or cutting board covered with wax paper, divide ground turkey into four evenly sized spheres and press flat, forming ¾-inch thick burger patties.
- Heat the grill to medium high (~425-degrees Fahrenheit) and cook patties on each side for 5-6 minutes until browned and internal temp reaches 165-degrees Fahrenheit.
- For cooking indoors, preheat oven to 375-degrees Fahrenheit and lightly brush a grill pan with coconut oil. Brown burgers over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side and then transfer to a foiled-lined baking sheet and pop into the pre-heated oven to bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked throughout.
- I love eating these over simple grilled summer vegetables or wrapped with a collard green or romaine lettuce leaf. You can also toast a bun—my rec is a sprouted, gluten-free bun if you can find one! Top with fresh pineapple, peach mango salsa, a splash of coconut aminos, and/or sriracha sauce. Can also serve with red onion and mixed greens or romaine.
**Use a blender to puree the pineapple and squeeze as much of the juice out as possible before adding to ground turkey
I hope you all enjoy these easy, fuss-free turkey burgers! I’ve also got a few amazing vegetarian and vegan burgers on deck coming later this summer, so stay tuned if that’s more your jam. 😉
Cheers to summer!
YOUR THOUGHTS >>>
What’s your favorite thing to eat on the grill? Are you a turkey burger fan? How will you be celebrating Memorial Day Weekend?