Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin

Jerusalem had a special place in my heart, so when I came across the cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi (author of Plenty) and Sami Tamimi, it was not even a question in my mind of whether or not I should get it - I KNEW it had to be mine. This was the first cookbook I had bought in months, so I was pretty excited. I think it's safe to say that Middle Eastern food is probably my absolute favourite. It's exotic, yet there's something about it that is very comforting and and I feel like I'm celebrating whenever I eat it.

Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin was the first recipe I saw that I instantly wanted to make, and being on a bit of a break from school this week I finally got a chance to make them today. You know a recipe is good when you blog it the same day you eat it. Now these are not the same kind of burger that you would put in a category with American cheeseburgers; they are more like meatballs, although it's best to shape them into small patties because that makes them better for searing which, I think, is a pretty important step, and I just have to add that the good thing about this recipe is that it's gluten free, dairy free if you don't make the sauce, and yeast free/candida diet friendly.

Let's begin with the sauce:

Sour Cream and Sumac Sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sumac
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Make the sauce first so the flavours can meld together while you're doing everything else. Just put everything in a bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to eat.

Sumac is a Middle Eastern spice which I unfortunately don't have and couldn't find ANYWHERE! I was a little disappointed but I am determined to keep looking. For now I just left it out and added a dash or two of cumin and coriander, and I also just used a cup of Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream/yogurt mixture. It's a delicious sauce.

Now for the burgers:

1 lb/500g ground turkey
1 large zucchini, coarsely grated (scant 2 cups)
3 green onions
1 large egg
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
some sunflower oil for searing

Gather your ingredients

Grate your zucchini, chop your herbs, crush your garlic, etc, etc.

Note: for the mint, instead of 2 tablespoons of the fresh mint, I added about 1/2 teaspoon of the dried stuff. Add more if you wish!

Add all the ingredients in one bowl.

Mix well and shape into patties. I made mine about the size of sliders.

Put just enough oil in the bottom of a pan to cover, and once it reaches medium heat begin to sear the small patties. About 2 minutes on each side should do.

Transfer the patties to a baking sheet and finish the cooking in the oven on 425 degrees, about 5-7 minutes more.


These are easy and quick to make and incredibly moist, which is why I think the searing is an important step as it seals in all of those juices. There is great flavour in these burgers - seriously, So. Tasty.

There are many other recipes that I hope to make from Jerusalem, and I plan to share them on here, too. I haven't been active on here the past few months because of school, but also because I lacked motivation and inspiration. I feel like I'm getting back to normal now, however, and school is calming down a bit, so I hope to have more recipes on here soon :)


  1. Buy sumac at Penzeys.com (http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeyssumac.html)

    They have wonderful spices and herbs.

  2. I have zaatar which I think I'll use in place of the sumac. I just wish I had some fresh mint.

  3. I got the Jerusalem cookbook for Christmas. I made the turkey burgers last night. They are so good and easy to make. I left out the mint as I'm not a big fan of mint in meat. Cumin is my favorite spice, so pretty much anything with that I like. I'm not used to many of the spices in this book and its really interesting learning what other wonderful flavors are out there in the world. Thankfully we have a store in town that has pretty vast bulk spice selection so I was able to find the Sumac and a few others. I am making the clementine and almond syrup cake today. Can't waint to try it.

  4. I love this recipe. I am allergic to beef and really missed having the traditional burger. No longer…This recipe is awesome and the sumac sauce so good!