Turkey burgers don't have to be bland and boring! The Mexican flavors - cilantro, cumin, Mexican oregano, green chile - in my Healthy Mexican Turkey Burgers With Blood Orange Aioli will convince you... I promise!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Healthy Burgers and Kitchen Fails!
Healthy food and fitness are equal contributors to a healthy lifestyle. Consequently, my cooking is focused on lean protein sources, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, and minimally or unprocessed foods. I occasionally have to have a burger, but we rarely eat beef.
Plain ground turkey formed into a patty isn't very appealing in my opinion. However, it does make a lean, healthy base for Healthy Mexican Turkey Burgers with Blood Orange Aioli. I hope this has you smiling! 😀
Had I given in to the discouragement I felt in bringing this recipe to completion, you might not be reading it right now. I felt like "Murphy" was my middle name this past weekend when I was attempting to finalize the ingredients and quantities, and photograph the finished turkey burgers.
After a week with a kitchen torn apart by a new enamel paint job for our cabinets, and a 25 mile bike tour Saturday morning early, I really felt the pressure to get this done. I had no problem with the turkey mixture, but I couldn't get the aioli to emulsify.
After 2 failed batches, I grabbed the jar of olive oil mayonnaise in my refrigerator, added a bit of blood orange juice and zest to it, and fed my very patient husband dinner at 9:00 p.m. Keep in mind it was technically 10:00 as clocks were to be set forward. This at least allowed me to evaluate the flavor combination of the blood orange mayonnaise with the spicy burger. It was delicious!
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.~~ Maya Angelou
Not to be defeated by the "epic fail" on Saturday, I set about conquering the blood orange aioli on Sunday... OH MY GOSH! I thought Saturday's disaster was a fluke. NOT. I went through another 6 eggs and 2 more cups of oil before I finally produced a lovely, silken batch of citrus and garlic infused aioli!
Having made homemade mayonnaise and aioli for over 30 years, I am still puzzled as to what the source of the problem could have been. Once again, my prince charming (Mark) helped me get a couple of really nice photos before wolfing down a delicious burger... I'm a lucky girl.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
Blood Orange and Roasted Garlic Aioli
- egg - Your egg needs to be at room temperature for best results.
- dijon mustard
- neutral oil - Safflower, canola, grapeseed and peanut oil are good options. Olive oil will affect the flavor. I typically use grapeseed oil.
- roasted garlic - I put a whole bulb of garlic in a ramekin in the oven at 400° (as is) for about 30 minutes until very tender. Cut a slit in the clove of garlic and pop out the roasted garlic. Store remaining cloves in the refrigerator in a zip bag.
- zest and juice of 1 blood orange - Of course you can substitute other oranges!
- salt/pepper to taste
- pinions (aka pine nuts)
- chopped green chile - I try to keep Hatch green chile on hand, but I don't always have it. Roasted poblano chiles are a great substitute.
- cotija - I keep a block of aged cotija in my refrigerator and grate it as needed. You can find pre-grated cotija in the Mexican cheese section of many markets, and it's fine in this application.
- orange zest
- panko bread crumbs
- 85% ground turkey - You can reduce fat and calories by using leaner turkey, but I think a little bit of fat improves the taste and texture of these turkey burgers. I have also made these burgers with ground pork and chicken.
- ground cumin
- Mexican oregano leaves
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- rolls or buns - Choose what you like!
- Blood Orange Aioli - If you don't want to take the extra time to make the aioli, try adding the orange juice and zest and roasted garlic to good quality prepared mayonnaise.
- leaf lettuce
- slicing tomatoes
I make the blood orange aioli first, and leave it in the refrigerator until I'm ready to assemble the burgers. I then combine the ingredients for the burger mixture, and prep the tomato and red leaf lettuce. While the burgers cook - about 4 to 5 minutes per side - I brush the buns lightly with olive oil and toast them. Generously spread both buns with the delicious aioli, add the lettuce, tomato, and patty, and dig in!
Blood Orange Aioli
- Purée - Add the eggs, dijon mustard, roasted garlic, juice and zest to the processor bowl. Process until smooth and creamy.
- Emulsify - Using the chute on the processor (yes, this is a requirement,) pour the oil in a thin, steady stream while the processor is in the locked "on" position. This process allows the eggs to emulsify the oil.
- Season - Remove the lid. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste, pulse to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Prepare the onion - To the clean processor bowl, add the ½ onion. Process until very finely minced. Spoon the onion into a strainer, and press with a rubber spatula to remove liquid. Add back to a dry processor bowl.
- Add the cilantro and pinions - Add the cilantro leaves, and process until the onion and cilantro are both very finely minced and well-combined. Add the pinions. Pulse a couple of times so that pinions are just slightly chopped.
- Finish the burger mix - Scoop this mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Using your hands, very thoroughly combine. Don't wreck the texture by combining all of the ingredients in the food processor!
- Cook the burger patties - Divide ground turkey mixture into 4 large patties. Cook thoroughly on medium heat, and all the way through (undercooked ground turkey isn't tasty and could be dangerous). Times will vary according to the cook top and size and thickness of patties.
- Generously spread each bun half with the blood orange aioli. Top with lettuce, tomato, and a patty.
Do I have to make the blood orange aioli from scratch? I realize many (if not most) skip my "Tamara Talks" section, but I explain my experiences with this aioli. I will always be transparent with you. Aioli is an advanced skill, and results can vary. Starting with room temperature ingredients (especially the egg!) is imperative. You can
cheat by adding roasted garlic, dijon, and orange juice and zest to good quality mayonnaise!
Double the turkey burger mixture for a second meal! I often double this recipe, even though I'm cooking for 2. I cook 4 so we have patties for lunch the next day, and I freeze the rest. Go ahead and make 4 patties, and place them in a zip bag with a layer of wax paper between. They'll keep in the freezer for 1-2 months.
Why purée the onion? Onion has a lot of water! I have found that removing the water results in a firmer patty with better texture. It's worth the extra step. It also avoids chunks of onion.
🌡️ Useful Stuff
A good food processor is a very important kitchen appliance. I use my Cuisinart food processor frequently, and always when I am making a ground mixture like this one. I do NOT use a processor for the final mixing! I have a small food processor with a drizzle lid that makes mayonnaise/aioli easier.
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🍷 Pairing Suggestions
Pair the turkey burgers with a farmhouse saison or a crisp rosé. If you prefer a red wine, a pinot noir would be a nice option...
How does my Super Healthy Turkey Burger With Blood Orange Aioli sound to you? If your only experience with a turkey burger is one of those plain turkey patties from the freezer section at the supermarket, you should definitely give this recipe a try. If you try it, please take a moment to provide feedback through my "comments" section at the bottom of the page... I love hearing from my readers!