Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mini Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Creamy Sumac Dipping Sauce

These Mini Turkey and Zucchini Burgers are exploding with flavor (zucchini, green onions, mint, cilantro, garlic, cumin and cayenne).  In addition to their wonderful flavor, these burgers are also incredibly moist.  In fact, the mixture was so moist I had to add breadcrumbs in order to shape the patties.   

These burgers are tasty all on their own, but they are absolutely addictive when paired with this refreshing and creamy sumac dipping sauce.  For those of you who have not tried sumac, it is a bright red spice that is popular in Middle Eastern cooking.  Sumac is usually described as sour, but I don't feel like that's a positive or accurate description.  I would describe sumac as a colorful, bright, and refreshing spice that is reminiscent of citrus.  I'm crazy for the bright red color and the special zip it adds to dishes. 

I took some liberties with the recipe for the sumac dipping sauce.  Originally, the dip was made with a base of sour cream and Greek yogurt.  I don't care for sour cream so I decided to sub mayonnaise in place of the sour cream/yogurt base.  My substitution worked perfectly and the recipe below reflects my change.  I will, however, add a special note for those of you who might like to try the recipe as it was written, with the sour cream/yogurt base.  

Mini Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Creamy Sumac Dipping Sauce
Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi
Makes about 18 burgers (serves 4-6)

1 pound ground turkey
2 cups grated zucchini 
3 green onions, thinly sliced
about 1/2 cup panko or breadcrumbs
1 large egg
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
about 6-1/2 tablespoons canola oil, for searing

Creamy Sumac Dipping Sauce
heaping 1/2 cup mayo
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Note: This recipe was originally written to include a scant 1/2 cup sour cream plus a scant 2/3 cup Greek yogurt.  If you'd prefer this option then simply omit the mayo in the above recipe and replace it with the sour cream and Greek yogurt.  All other ingredients remain the same. 

First make the creamy sumac sauce by placing all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Stir well and set aside or chill until needed. 

Preheat the oven to 425F.  In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the burgers except the canola oil.  Mix with your hands and then shape into about 18 patties/burgers, each weighing about 1-1/2 ounces.

Pour enough canola oil into a large frying pan to form a layer about 1/16 inch on the pan bottom.  Heat over medium heat until hot, then sear the burgers in batches on all sides.  Cook each batch for about 4 minutes, adding oil as needed, until golden brown.

Carefully transfer the seared burgers to a baking sheet or cast iron skillet, as I've done here, and place in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until just cooked through.  Serve warm or at room temperature, with the sauce spooned over on the side.

Theme: Mezze Madness!


  1. That looks amazing. I am definitely going to try them.

  2. You have a perfect sear on these burgers--they look absolutely mouth-watering! Good to know mayo works. I don't always have sour cream. And sometimes I don't want to buy a container just to use half (or less)!

  3. Oh my goodness! These look so wonderful! They look like they would be two bite treats! That dipping sauce is really the topper! Yummah, as they say here in New England! Killah!

  4. Hi Kim,
    These looks so good! I have actually bookmarked this recipe to try (and dozens of others!! LOL!) And am so glad that I finally found a jar of sumac! Have not tried it yet, hopefully soon.
    I would happily stuff myself full with these burgers! Using mayo is a great idea, my daughter and myself love sour cream, but not my son, he prefers mayo!

  5. Such delicious-looking little burgers and I love the sounds of that sumac sauce! The mayo was a good call. ;-)

  6. Boy these look good and it's only breakfast time here. So glad you've explained sumac. Although I've heard of it, I've never used it in cooking.

  7. They are perfectly golden and crisp looking; I can just imagine how good they were with a tangy dipping sauce.

  8. SOUR sumac?! Never heard of such a thing! I agree with you - it's all notes of citrus for me. The flavors in these mini burgers sound AMAZING. I need to get a veg version going on in my life!

  9. This looks definitely fantastic!!

  10. Oh I really do want to dive in to these right now! All those flavours sound just amazing, I'll most definitely be adding these to the must make list.

  11. Kim, your burgers look amazing. I've been eyeing this one up for ages - now I know I really need to give them I try. That flavour combination sounds wonderful.

    I agree with you about sumac - for me, citrus is definitely the word that springs to mind rather than sour. And that sauce - sounds incredible, and I love that you changed it out to suit your own tastes.

  12. You don't like sour cream but do like Greek yogurt? That's odd, since to me they are so similar that I freely replace sour cream with Greek yogurt.

  13. Rock On! These are most definitely addictive and with the sumac-whoa.


  14. oh my god, this looks amazing, I was very excited for a recipe that contains sumac (I've acquired recently in a bazaar in Istanbul and I didn't know exactly how to use it) I will definitely try this! thanks!

  15. I discovered your blog Googling Ottolenghi—and after making these burgers, I'm still dreaming of them two weeks later! I'm so glad I bought sumac, even though it was a little pricey and hard to track down. I wanted to eat the sauce with a spoon!


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