Turkey and Spinach Burgers

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We were in the supermarket, the four of us buying food for the long weekend vacation that we were about to spend in Palm Springs, tossing ideas back and forth on what we could make, when our friend Brad exclaimed “I could make these amazing turkey and spinach burgers one day for lunch!”

I admit it. My initial reaction went something like this in my head: Turkey burgers? With spinach? Are we being punished for something? Maybe if I pretend I didn’t hear him, he’ll forget he said it. 

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Listen, I’m the furthest thing from a food snob. I’ll eat just about anything. But there’s one thing I generally don’t have any desire for:  so-called “healthy food.” To me, the real healthy food (no quotes) is food that’s fresh, made from things that didn’t grow in a lab, and that has not gone through twenty machines in a giant factory before wrapped into plastic and stuck in a freezer.

So, as soon as I heard the words “turkey,” “spinach,” and “burger,” I thought “healthy food.” Which was unfair, because in reality, these burgers are healthy food. However, I was still wary of the idea of burgers made with turkey, a meat usually just a step above styrofoam in flavor, and spinach, the only leafy green that, when cooked, makes me gag.

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But, since Brad is one of my dearest friends and because I know he loves good food as much as I do, I said “Sounds good!” and continued with out grocery shopping. And then when he made these burgers for us and I took a bite, I was happy I trusted his food judgement. This burger’s name belies its flavor. The healthy dose of cumin gives the usually bland turkey meat a jolt of umami. And the chopped spinach and scallions provide not only flavor but also ensure that these burgers are juicy, despite the leanness of the turkey meat.

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Turkey and Spinach Burgers – Slightly adapted from Bon Appétit

Makes 6 small burgers

Ingredients:

1/2 bunch flat-leaf spinach, thick stems removed, leaves chopped (about 3-4 cups)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

Combine spinach, scallions, garlic, turkey, and cumin in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Using a fork, mix gently just to combine. Form turkey mixture into six 1-inch-thick patties.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook patties until golden brown and cooked through (resist the temptation to press down on patties with your spatula while cooking), about 5-6 minutes per side (a meat thermometer inserted in the middle of a burger should read 160° F). Transfer to a plate.

Serve burgers on toasted buns with sliced tomato, pickles, ketchup, and mustard, or any of your favorite condiments.

DO AHEAD: Patties can be formed 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

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