DNA, Greek Turkey Burgers, And Me

I had my DNA processed a few weeks ago and found out that there is a little Greek ancestry mixed in with my very predominate Italian roots. Well, Greece is just across the water from Bari, Italy where half my family is located so not really a big surprise to me. But somehow knowing this I immediately wanted to watch the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” just to refresh myself on any of the bizarre behavior that I  may have missed, most of which is very close to the that of my “older” Italian relatives.

Well, anyway, I decided to add in a few meals from time-to-time that focus on Greek or Mediterranean recipes and ingredients — at least an Americanized version of what I think could be Greek. Okay, maybe there’s nothing really Greek about THIS burger but the title, but I’ll go with that!

Ground turkey has had a semi-poor reputation for tasting bland in some recipes and not bringing full-flavor to the meal, especially when substituting it for ground beef. It’s the fat in the beef that gives it more flavor, so when using a lean ground turkey, you need to add seasonings, spices, and/or other ingredients to bring the flavor level up to par. 

These Greek turkey burgers not only hit the target, they hit the center of the target! They are really tasty and include some of my favorite ingredients – feta cheese, and spinach. I’m not a fan of frozen spinach so whenever a recipe includes frozen spinach, I just cook up my fresh spinach and substitute it – oh so much better in my opinion. But don’t let me sway you if you are a die-hard frozen spinach lover – well maybe just a little?

One pound of ground turkey to get this recipe started. If you buy it pre-packaged, be sure to carefully inspect the package – that the plastic is not bubbled up and the meat looks fresh. Jenny-O has been a consistently good source of pre-packaged ground turkey when I can’t find ground turkey in the meat case at the market.Fresh spinach ready to saute with a little olive oil and garlic. Cool before adding to turkey mixture.

Form into patties. 

One pound of ground turkey makes four nice-sized patties.

Burger on lettuce with a side of tomatoes, zucchini and onions.

Burger on a ciabatta bun.

Serves 4

Greek Turkey Burgers

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  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup spinach (thawed if frozen or cooked if using fresh)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled and/or mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Mediterranean salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Chop fresh spinach and sauté in scant olive oil. When almost fully wilted, add minced garlic. Stir to keep garlic from burning. Set aside to cool.
  2. If using frozen spinach wring as dry as possible and chop up.
  3. Thoroughly mix ground turkey, spinach, feta, spices and herbs in a medium bowl - using hands if possible to get best incorporation of all ingredients.
  4. Form into patties and refrigerate for 2-4 hours before grilling. (Or you can freeze at this point for cooking another day.)
  5. Oil a grill rack for cooking on BBQ or swirl olive oil in a fry pan and heat on stove before adding burgers to the pan.
  6. Cook about 5 minutes per side and check for doneness by inserting a food thermometer. It should register 165 degrees.
  7. Serve immediately.


!OptionsServe on hamburger bun or in pita bread with tzatziki, red onion, and sliced cucumber. Tzatziki can be made by mixing plain Greek yogurt with a squeeze of fresh lemon, dash of dill, and finely chopped cucumber.


Calories: 349 cal
Carbohydrates: 4 g
Fat: 23 g
Sodium: 485 g
Cholesterol: 136 g
Protein: 34 g
Fiber: 1 g

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