Turkey and Zucchini Burgers

Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin 1

Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin marry plant based ingredients with meat deliciously! It’s a Yotam Ottolenghi favorite.

Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin 1

Turkey and zucchini burgers are a delicious way to lighten up meat

I can’t resist a burger that’s packed with greens, whether it’s green veggies, leafy greens, or fresh herbs, it doesn’t matter, greens mixed in with the meat make burgers extra tender, juicy and bursting with flavor.

These turkey burgers get their green personality from grated zucchini, green onions, mint and cilantro. They’re browned in a skillet and then finished off in the oven, which gives them great caramelization on the outside and  helps insure that they aren’t tough inside. With their spring green color, almost meatball-like texture, and  subtle Middle Eastern spicing, these patties are worlds away from any turkey burger you’ve had lately. But it gets even better — they’re topped off with a wonderfully tangy sumac yogurt sauce. Sumac is a deep red tart spice that’s well worth tracking down. It looks a little like chili powder, and it’s used in a lot of Middle Eastern dishes. It gives a citrusy tang to meats, rice, hummus and salads.

Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin 2

This recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Jerusalem

It came out a couple of years ago to great fanfare, and the fanfare hasn’t died down one bit, at least in my kitchen. It is hands down my favorite cookbook, and everything I’ve made from it has turned out perfect, and has introduced me to something new. Sami Tamimi have a flair for vivid flavors and compelling, but not at all fussy, presentation. I most often choose what I want to cook by eye, and  the photos in this book are so enticing that I can hardly get past a page or two before I’ve made my choice. Every page is a killer. If you don’t have this book, I can’t recommend it enough. When I get in a rut and can’t think of anything to make, I turn to this book. It never lets me down.

Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin 9

You could eat these turkey zucchini burgers just like a classic hamburger, on a bun with all the fixings,

but you can also forgo the bun and eat these just as they are, drizzled with the sauce, or on top of a pile of fresh salad greens for a super low carb option (and the way we like them best.)

You could also put them in pockets of soft pita bread, topped with tabouleh or hummus.

Aaaaaand you could also make these into cocktail meatballs…they’re very versatile little fellows.

Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin 5

Promise me you’ll give these a try — they’ll change the way you look at turkey burgers, for sure, and I bet they’ll inspire you to get creative with all your spring and summer grilling.

Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin 11

More Yotam Ottolenghi recipes

Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin 1
3.33 from 62 votes

Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin

Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin are a wonderful way to lighten up your meals without sacrificing flavor. This Yotam Ottolenghi recipe is a favorite in our house.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Yield 9 small patties
Author Sue Moran


for the burgers

  • 1 lb ground turkey I used white meat, you can also use dark meat
  • 1 large or 2 medium zucchini grated (2 cups grated)
  • 3 green onions sliced
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • oil for browing

for the Sumac Sauce

  • 2/3 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sumac
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper


  • Set oven to 425F
  • Make the sumac sauce by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing well. Refrigerate until needed. Thin with a little water if you like a thinner sauce.
  • Put all the burger ingredients, except the oil, in a large bowl Mix well, using your hands, making sure to get all the ingredients well incorporated, but don't over-work the meat...use a light touch!
  • Form the meat mixture into patties. I used a 1/3 cup as a measure, and made about 9 burgers. (You can make your burgers as large or small as you like, but will need to adjust the cooking time.) Note that the mixture will be very wet. Don't worry, they will firm up as they cook.
  • Coat the bottom of a skillet lightly with oil and heat until it is nice and hot. You should hear a good sizzle when the patties hit the pan, If not, let the oil heat more. Working in batches, brown the patties on both sides, for about 2 minutes per side, and add more oil as needed.
  • Set the burgers on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 7 to 10 minutes, just until done inside.
  • Serve the burgers with the sauce.

notes and variations

You can make these any size you want, from a regular burger size, to smaller patties and even meatballs. Serve them on top of salad greens, in a bun, or pita bread.
Recipe from Jerusalem
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.




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  • Reply
    Marilyn Biderman
    December 21, 2019 at 7:06 am

    Question: Can you freeze these patties after the frying stage and before you put them in the oven?

    • Reply
      December 21, 2019 at 7:11 am

      Hmmm, I would probably suggest freezing them before any cooking. Since they’re so moist you’d have to freeze them in a single layer on a lined baking sheet, and then transfer them to some sort of container or freezer bag.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Do you think these could be cooked on the BBQ? It would make a great summer meal but the oven would warm up the kitchen.

    • Reply
      July 24, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      Definitely, but they’re more delicate than regular burgers, so if you have some sort of grill pan, that would be best.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    I have Yotam’s book at home and am starting to work through it. I agree, what I have made, I love

    • Reply
      June 8, 2019 at 8:19 am

      I hope he never stops putting out cookbooks!

  • Reply
    October 10, 2018 at 11:42 am


    I made this last night following all the steps exactly as your recipe says. It tasted great but my patties did not stay together like yours did. I was wondering if you ,missed a step (did you squeeze the juice out of the zucchini?) or left out an ingredient ( panko or cornstarch?)because your patties look perfect.

    • Reply
      October 10, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      Hey Ashima ~ no I didn’t add any crumbs or cornstarch. It’s possible your zucchini was very wet, in which case squeezing out the moisture might have helped. But as I note in the recipe the mixture is quite wet to begin with. You do need to form the patties nice and firmly before frying, that might have been the issue? If you do make them again you can feel free to add some breadcrumbs to bind it more tightly if you think you need it.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2016 at 5:45 am

    everything i want to make lately calls for sumac, so i guess i’m going to stock up on sumac 🙂 i love it in za’atar, so i’m sure i’ll really enjoy it in this recipe, too. i’m planning on several types of Mediterranean-type turkey burgers/fritters for my Thanksgiving meal, along with Tzatziki and a nice Greek salad with Kalamata olives and Feta. it will be a truly awesome feast, and these burgers will reign supreme!!

    • Reply
      September 21, 2016 at 7:16 am

      Sounds wonderful — you’re so well organized!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    These are delicious! I just made them tonight and I can’t believe how simple, easy, and tasty they were! I made them with the 97% fat free ground turkey and they were still very moist. I did not have sumac so I used the fat free fage yogurt, light sour cream, and and squeeze of a lemon slice for the sauce! Perfect! Thank you

    • Reply
      December 1, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      You’re welcome Chelsea — I love to eat this way! Try to track down the sumac some day, I think you’ll like it.

  • Reply
    August 14, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Wow, Sue, I’m so happy I stumbled upon your site. Your photos are gorgeous, and you seem to cook the type of food I absolutely love. I saw that you enjoyed a simple onion tart as well as these zucchini turkey burgers, which reminded me of one of my favorite recipes that uses zucchini in a tart: http://www.pondermom.com/?s=zucchini+tart I’m definitely going to give these burgers a try. Thanks!

    • Reply
      August 14, 2015 at 10:51 am

      Thanks so much Becky, welcome! I’ve never seen pndermom’s site, that tart looks amazing, I’m going to check out the recipe now…don’t be surprised if you see a version of it here soon 🙂

      • Reply
        August 17, 2015 at 10:13 am

        Ooh, I would love that!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    I loathe turkey burgers because they’re so bland and dry, but the photos made me give these a shot — outstanding! No sumac, so I used the basic sauce recipe and added cucumber and dill to make a bastardized tzatziki. My boyfriend stuffed about 3 or 4 patties in a pita, slathered them with sauce, and went to town. Success!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Outstanding. Just made these turkey zucchini burgers and sumac sauce for lunch (used my homegrown mint and cilantro in the burgers). After the cumin..lime…cilantro…shrimp I made a few days , I am on a roll cooking. This too is a keeper..easy and flavorful and healthy! Thank you for another wonderful meal! BTW, I think this would be even better subbing Lamb for the turkey:).

  • Reply
    April 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Me again. I made these for dinner tonight. The sumac sauce is yummy enough to dip cracked pepper and sea salt fries in. The burgers packed with flavor — no bun required.

    • Reply
      April 6, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      Oh gosh, the idea of using the sauce for fries is genius!

  • Reply
    Helen @ Scrummy Lane
    April 4, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Sue, I fell in love with these burgers in your first paragraph and decided that I’m definitely going to try making them (hubby will love them!), and then I couldn’t believe it when you started talking about Yotam’s Jerusalem! I wrote my next blog post yesterday in which I did exactly the same as you … gushed about that book being my favourite! (Great minds … !) The funniest thing is that I don’t even own the book! Haha! It’s just that every time I see a recipe of his online it grabs my attention and I want to make the recipe, so I know intuitively that when I do buy it (I’m holding off as I’m moving house) it’s going to become a firm favourite! I’ll let you know when I make these. They truly look and sound amazing.

  • Reply
    Louise @ INGREDIENTS
    April 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Hi Sue, thank you so much for posting this recipe!! I tried it the other day and it was a smash hit with my family – my kids ate everything and didn’t even notice there were greens inside the burger! The sumac sauce was incredibly delicious too.

    • Reply
      April 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that, I loved them, too. I am already thinking about variations… definitely meatballs are in the works!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    April 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    These burgers look so enticing!! I love all of the greens mixed into them! It makes for such colorful pictures. 🙂 Pinned!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    April 2, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I just bought sumac and can’t wait to try this (I had to order it online). I do love a good turkey burger too. I also love my new Jerusalem cookbook! You’ll see the roasted butternut squash and onions with tahini sauce on my blog soon 🙂 Absolutely delicious.

  • Reply
    March 31, 2014 at 11:41 am

    A friend brought these for lunch today – I loved them! And honestly, I am not a turkey burger fan, but these changed my mind.

    • Reply
      March 31, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      I so agree, turkey burgers can be dry and dull, these are anything but!

  • Reply
    [email protected] Vikalinka
    March 30, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Looks absolutely delicious! I just discovered sumac through Jerusalem cookbook myself. I love it! I can’t wait to try this recipe. 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    March 30, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I love to add veggies in the meat patties too. These look so beautifully done and delicious, Sue.

  • Reply
    Gerlinde in Dallas
    March 29, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Your burger looks terrific! I don’t remember that recipe, but I’ve already packed my copy of Jerusalem; I’m moving to California (if all goes well, lol).

    • Reply
      March 29, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      Oh you’re moving here? We have to get together!

  • Reply
    tina jeffers
    March 29, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I have to agree, I love Ottolenghi and I make a version of these as well but I’m going to have to try the sumac yogurt! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      March 29, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      I am so glad to have the sumac in my spice arsenal — if only for sprinkling on hummus!

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    March 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    It’s a great cookbook I agree! I’ve loved everything that I’ve made from there. I really ought to give this a try too!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    These look perfect–I love veggies everywhere, and that sauce sounds amazing. Just gimme a plate and a fork–no bun necessary!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    These look absolutely amazing. Your pictures are stunning. Looking forward to reading more of your blog! Thanks for stopping by. <3

  • Reply
    March 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I tracked down sumac for another recipe I’ve tried that you’ve posted. I promise to try this very soon! Enjoy your weekend.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Another huge fan of their book! And, I’ve had this recipe in my mental folder to try soon ever since I got the book. not sure what[‘s wrong with me…

    maybe you will be the one giving me the final push in the correct direction!

    beautiful photos… loved this post!

  • Reply
    Liza in Ann Arbor
    March 28, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I have made this before from Jerusalem. It’s delicious! Thanks for the reminder.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2014 at 9:51 am

    These look gorgeous Sue, love your sumac sauce!

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