Healthy Mexican Turkey Burgers

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 optional blood orange aioli will convince you… I promise!

A healthy Mexican turkey burger in a hand with sliced tomato, lettuce, and blood orange aioli.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Healthy Mexican Turkey 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 these Healthy Mexican Turkey Burgers. 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 Notes

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

The Patties

  • onion
  • cilantro
  • 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
  • egg
  • 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
  • garlic
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper

To Serve

  • rolls or buns We love these fluffy Gluten Free Hamburger 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

🔪 Instructions

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

  1. Purée – Add the eggs, dijon mustard, roasted garlic, juice and zest to the processor bowl. Process until smooth and creamy.
  2. 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.
  3. Season – Remove the lid. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste, pulse to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

The Patties

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.

To Serve

  1. Generously spread each bun half with the blood orange aioli. Top with lettuce, tomato, and a patty.
  2. Enjoy!

💭 Tips

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.

2 square plates with healthy Mexican turkey burgers, linen napkins, and a black background.

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.

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. This helps to offset the costs of maintaining my blog and creating awesome content! 😊

🍷 Pairing Suggestions

The burger is delicious with kale chips (easy and healthy!), or a tomato and tomatillo salad, a dragon fruit and citrus salad, or (for the adventurous!) a nopalitos salad.

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 this Mexican-inspired turkey burger 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!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

Super Healthy Turkey Burger With Blood Orange Aioli

Healthy Mexican Turkey Burgers

This turkey burger is not bland and boring! Cilantro, green chile, pinions, cotija, and orange zest flavor the patty. Kick it up a level with an optional orange aioli. Deliciously healthy!
5 from 1 vote

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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Mexican/Southwest
Servings 4 servings
Calories 537 kcal

Ingredients
  

Blood Orange and Roasted Garlic Aioli

  • 1 egg - must be at room temperature (see notes)
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup neutral or olive oil*
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic - mashed to a paste (see notes)
  • zest and juice of 1 blood orange - 2 teaspoons
  • salt/pepper to taste

The Patties

  • ½ onion
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup pinions - pine nuts
  • 2 Hatch or poblano chiles - roasted and diced (see notes)
  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 egg - beaten
  • ¼ cup panko
  • 1 pound 85% ground turkey - (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon mexican oregano leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a few grinds pepper

To Serve

  • rolls or buns - sliced and grilled until golden brown
  • Blood Orange Aioli
  • leaf lettuce
  • slicing tomatoes

Instructions

  • Blood Orange Aioli
  • Add the eggs, dijon mustard, roasted garlic, juice and zest to the processor bowl. Process until smooth and creamy.
  • 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.
  • Remove the lid. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste, pulse to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • The Patties
  • 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 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • To Serve – Generously spread each bun half with the blood orange aioli. Top with lettuce, tomato, and a patty. Enjoy!

Notes

If your egg is still cold, it may not emulsify. You can set the egg in a bowl of hot water to speed the process. I use extra virgin olive oil, but some people prefer a more neutral flavor. Try pure olive oil, safflower, canola, etc. if you prefer. Aioli is a mayonnaise seasoned with garlic.
Substitute any orange for the blood orange if not available.
I specified 85% lean ground turkey. You can trim calories by using leaner ground turkey. I feel like the burgers need a little fat. Your choice. Due to variables like your choice of rolls or buns, amount of aioli, etc.
I am reluctant to include macronutrients for this recipe given the variables. I use MyFitnessPal.com, and the figures include 1 small whole wheat bun and 1 tablespoon of olive oil mayonnaise. Macronutrients (approximation only): 537 calories; 30 g protein; 32 g fat; 32 g carbohydrates.

Nutrition

Calories: 537kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 32g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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23 Comments

  1. Like you I have had so many failed mayonnaise/aiolis that I gave up until I saw the method of using an immersion blender. It’s incredible! I now make mayo and aiolis on a regular basis with no problem at all. You should give it a try. The ingredients are all the same.

    Blood orange juice in an aioli for a turkey burger sounds like a great combination to me. I know you call your patty a turkey burger but after looking at the ingredients list, it so much more than just a burger! That’s a meal in itself. Just give me that patty with some aioli and I’m set. 🙂 I think this burger would be a true competitor for a regular beef burger lover.

    1. I do have an immersion blender, and hadn’t thought of trying that MJ! Thanks! Yes, I don’t need the bread with this turkey burger either 😉 It just looks prettier in the photos… Haha! Thanks so much! Of course, it features one of our favorite ingredients 🙂

  2. I love your rebranding Tamara, new website look and this super juicy and tasty burger. Your husband is such a sweetie to wait for his dinner but just looking at your ingredient list I can tell that this is a must try burger and worth all of your valiant efforts to get it right. Just pinned, shared and smoke signals sent!

    1. Thanks for noticing that I switched things up a bit Bobbi! I had really hoped it was an improvement 🙂 That aioli was a bugger! I made an anchovy aioli last night, and it came together lickety-split… I think you’d love the flavors; do you have access to chile, pinions, and cotija? I’m just curious 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Oh My this is STUNNING! It’s hard to believe a killer burger like this is actually healthy! Love it–and that orange aioli–OMG! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Thanks Peter! The ground turkey doesn’t have much flavor on it’s own – unlike beef – but it does provide a great base for creativity 🙂