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A Spicy-Cool Southwest Turkey Burger Recipe

Drop the beef for this leaner meat that perfectly jibes with intense flavors.
A Spicy-Cool Southwest Turkey Burger RecipeMitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

A few years back, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s reached out to us and asked for help designing a new line of turkey burgers that would improve on an otherwise high-calorie menu. A lot of time and testing went into the burgers, during which we learned just how well turkey takes to intense, vibrant flavors that might not jibe as well with beef. In the end, this spicy-cool burger didn’t make it on the menu, but it remains one of the best turkey burgers we’ve had. Now, with this turkey burger recipe, you can judge for yourself…

Nutrition: 470 calories, 26 g fat (7 g saturated), 520 mg sodium

Serves 4

You’ll Need

2 Tbsp olive oil mayonnaise
1 Tbsp chipotle puree
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 lb ground turkey
1 Tbsp Magic Blackening Rub (1 Tbsp paprika, 1 Tbsp salt, 2 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp ground cumin, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp dried oregano, and 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper)
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 slices pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese
4 English muffins or potato rolls, lightly toasted
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup Pico de Gallo (make your own, or buy pre-made)

How to Make It

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the mayo, chipotle puree, and lime juice. Reserve.
  2. Preheat a grill, grill pan, or cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
  3. Gently form the turkey into 4 equal patties (being careful not to overwork the meat, which makes for dense, tough burgers).
  4. Season both sides of the burgers with the blackening rub, plus salt and black pepper.
  5. Cook the burgers on the grill for about 4 minutes, until a nice dark crust has formed on the bottoms.
  6. Flip and immediately cover with the cheese.
  7. Continue cooking for about 4 minutes longer, until the cheese is melted and the burger is just firm to the touch.
  8. Top 4 English muffin halves with the avocado slices and Pico de Gallo, then place a burger on top of each.
  9. Spoon the chipotle mayo over the burgers and serve.

Eat This Tip

Turkey is a lean meat, that’s why using it in place of beef for burgers is such a major healthy shift. To keep this choice a healthy one, take extra caution as you choose the brand of meat you buy. Stick to brands like Applegate Naturals, who live up to their name by staying away from artificial additives.

This recipe (and hundreds more!) came from one of our Cook This, Not That! books. For more easy cooking ideas, you can also buy the book!

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