Turkey burgers really can be juicy and flavorful

I know. I know. You’ve tried turkey burgers and it was like eating wet cardboard. Hah! But you haven’t tried my turkey burgers...

Let’s start with the basic ingredient — ground turkey. Labels can be quite confusing. Even though a package is labeled “lean,” the calories and fat in a 4-ounce portion of “lean” ground turkey can range from 120 calories with 1 percent fat to 160 calories with 12 percent fat (which is as rich as a lean beef burger). So be sure to read labels and not rely on words such as “lean” or “white meat” when looking for healthy choices.

Or, better yet, grind your own turkey. As little as a 1½ pounds of turkey tenderloins can be ground to produce six burgers. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes and freeze for 30 minutes. Place in a food processor and pulse until they achieve a medium-grind consistency.

Here’s where the turkey needs some help. It’s bland and dry. But adding sauteed onions, bell peppers or mushrooms, shredded raw Napa cabbage or carrots can remedy that.

These burgers are getting the Greek treatment, so moisten them with spinach, garlic and onions, then season with crumbled feta and fresh oregano.

For a sauce, I used pepperoncini. Also known as Tuscan pickled peppers, pepperoninci are the little green hot peppers that spice up Greek salad. They’re briny, too, which is why I added some of their pickling liquid to the yogurt-mayo base.

Heat the grill to medium. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil and the spinach and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer the mixture to a bowl. Chill in the refrigerator until cooled to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, pepperoncini, pepperoncini liquid, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Mix cooled spinach, feta, oregano, ground turkey, ¼ teaspoon salt and ground black pepper. Mix well, then shape into 4 patties, each about ½-inch thick.

Spray burgers lightly with olive oil cooking spray, then grill over medium heat until just cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. Serve on buns with yogurt sauce.

Nutrition information per serving: 460 calories; 220 calories from fat (48 percent of total calories); 24 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 110 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 29 g protein; 1030 mg sodium.

1½ T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ cup finely chopped yellow onion

5 ounces baby spinach

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 T. minced seeded pepperoncini

1 T. liquid from pepperoncini jar

1 to 2 tsp. lemon juice, or to taste

1 tsp. minced garlic

3 ounces crumbled feta cheese

2 T. chopped fresh oregano

1 pound ground turkey

4 whole-wheat hamburger buns

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