Who doesn’t love a good, juicy burger? It’s a menu staple for basically any holiday that involves grilling (and beer). While I’m not a fan of the cheat-day mentality going buck wild at the potluck BBQ, I do believe in a sustainable lifestyle that allows us to enjoy the beautiful moments (and food) life brings.

I set out to create turkey burgers that are not only delicious, but they contain a secret ingredient to upgrade the nutrient content: cauliflower. This cruciferous vegetable is so versatile, from “rice” to smoothie thickeners to ground meat substitutes, there’s nothing cauliflower can’t do. Plus, you’re reaping the benefits of sulforaphane. If you’re trying to cut back on your meat consumption or simply add more fiber and micronutrients in your diet, this recipe is for you. It’s a great way to sneak extra vegetables in your children’s (or husband’s) diet without them knowing.

I also included one of my new favorite snacks that I learned at the Natural Gourmet Institute. If you’re obsessed with bacon like me, then you’ll quickly become addicted to this non-meat alternative to one of my favorite foods. Snack on it by itself, or add it as a substitute to bacon in recipes, or use as a low-carb “chip” with guacamole or hummus. These recipes will not let you down, and when enjoyed together, you have yourself a well-balanced meal that can be enjoyed any day, not only for those special occasions.

Yields: 6-8 burgers
Cook time: 25 minutes
Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients (Turkey Burgers)

● 1 lb. ground turkey meat (look for labels: organic, Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, GAP)
● 1 small head of cauliflower
● 1 egg, pastured
● ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
● 1 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
● ½ tsp. garlic powder
● Himalayan salt & black pepper, to taste
● 6-8 sprouted grain buns

Ingredients (Toppings)

● 1 sweet onion
● 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
● Salt & pepper to taste
● Handful spinach
● Shiitake “bacon” (see recipe below)
● Chipotle aioli (see recipe below)

turkey burger recipe

Instructions (Turkey Burgers)

1. Chop off the stems of the cauliflower and cut into florets. Add florets to food processor. Pulse in 3-second increments to form “rice” consistency.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add ground turkey meat, 2 ½ cups of the cauliflower “rice,” egg, Parmigiano Reggiano, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix together with you (clean) hands.
3. Form 6-8 burger patties. It’s going to be a little sticky, but you can rub your hands with oil prior to help prevent it sticking too much to your hands. When you form your patties, make them about ¼” wider than your buns and place your thumb in the center of each patty to make an indent. The burgers shrink slightly (diameter wise) and puff up in the center when it cooks.
4. Cook burger on a lightly greased (use a high smoke point oil like avocado oil) cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. Flip after 5-7 minutes. Don’t be that guy who over flips burgers. Let it do its thing. If you flip too early, it will stick to the pan.
5. Meanwhile, slice your onion. When you caramelize onions, you want to slice against the grain so there’s less moisture in the onion. Add slices to pan with olive oil. Cook on medium-low for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Lightly toast the buns. Top the bottom half with a tbsp. of the chipotle aioli, turkey burger, spinach, caramelized onions, shiitake “bacon,” and the top bun. Boom, no guilt!

Shiitake “Bacon”

Yields: ~ 2 cups “bacon” slices
Cook time: 40 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients (Shiitake “Bacon”)

● 3 large shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
● Smoked paprika
● 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
● Himalayan salt & black pepper

Instructions (Shiitake “Bacon”)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Clean mushroom caps with a damp towel. Never run them under water. Mushrooms are porous and will absorb the water. Slice thinly, about ¼“ thick. Lay flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment spray and lightly greased. Generously sprinkle smoked paprika, season with salt and pepper and drizzle the EVOO on top.
3. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip, then bake for 20 more minutes, until crispy. I would make this ahead of time. It’s one of my favorite snacks and an alternative to bacon!

chipotle mayo

Chipotle Aioli

Yields: ⅓ cup mayo
Cook time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients (Chipotle Aioli)

● ¼ cup avocado oil mayonnaise*
● ¼ cup plain full-fat Greek or Skyr yogurt**
● 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
● Juice from ½ lime
● Salt & pepper, to taste
*We love using Primal Kitchen’s avocado-oil mayonnaise.
**We used Siggi’s 4% plain Skyr yogurt.

Instructions (Chipotle Aioli)

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth.