The Garden Churkey Burger

By jan d’atri

You’re looking for something yummy. You’re trying to eat lighter. You’re craving a burger. You’ve come to the right place.

How about a Churkey Burger! It’s a delicious combination of ground turkey and chicken (no, it’s not redundant – really!) with moistness and flavor added to the mixture from pesto, onion and crushed red pepper. Then, once it’s grilled to perfection, top it with avocado, sliced tomato, onion, arugula and your favorite cheese. Your craving is about to be satisfied!

So why use both ground turkey and ground chicken? You could certainly use just one or the other – they’re pretty much equal in calories, fat and protein. But while turkey has a nice flavor, it tends to be a bit dry. Chicken, it seems, has a little more moisture, and it acts more like ground beef when mixed together with other ingredients for patties. Add the pesto for even more moisture, and the Churkey Burger becomes a hearty and satisfying alternative to the usual burger fare. Now here’s a tip for a delicious condiment for your Churkey Burger: If you have some leftover pesto, let it drain through a sieve to get most of the olive oil out. Place the pesto in a bowl, add a little mayonnaise and stir. It makes a wonderful slather on your bread and the perfect complement to the burger. Dive in and enjoy!

Garden Churkey Burger


– 1 lb. ground turkey

– 1 lb. ground chicken

– 4 heaping tablespoons pesto

– 1 red onion

– 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

– 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste

– 1 teaspoon salt

– 1 teaspoon pepper

– Oil for cooking burgers

– 2 large tomatoes, sliced

– 1 avocado, sliced thin

– 2 cups arugula, spring mix or romaine leaves

– Mayonnaise, optional

– Slices of cheese, optional

– Hamburger buns or rolls


Slice red onion into 1/4-inch rings. In a sauté pan with two tablespoons of olive oil, sauté onion rings until soft. Let the onions cool. Set aside half of the onion rings for burgers, and dice the remainder of the onion rings fine. In a bowl, combine turkey, chicken, pesto, cooled diced onions, red pepper, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Make burger patties (approximately eight). In a large skillet, heat remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Cook patties until browned on both sides and patties are thoroughly done. To build the burger, slather a little mayonnaise on the bread if desired, then layer with a slice or two of cheese, churkey burger, avocado, tomatoes and sautéed onion rings. Top with arugula if desired.