Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin

Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin 1

Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin ~ 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.

Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin 1

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.

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This recipe is from Jerusalem, the cookbook that 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.

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You could of course eat these just like a classic hamburger, on a bun with all the fixings, but you can 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.   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 and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin

Yield: about 9 small patties

Serving Size: 2-3 patties


    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


  1. Set oven to 425F
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Set the burgers on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 7 to 10 minutes, just until done inside.
  7. Serve the burgers with the sauce.


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

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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.

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  • Reply
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    […] Turkey Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin-the best way to incorporate zucchini into dinner, hands down!! These are so mouthwatering, and are adapted from the amazing cookbook, Jerusalem. […]

  • 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
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