Kitchen InFerno: Turkey Burgers, Meet Excitement

Healthy eating and college don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but knowing the right tricks can help turn eating right into a daily routine. Let Kiersten Ferno be your guide for navigating the health-food scene without taking a chunk out of your schedule. Welcome to the inFerno.

Let’s start with one of the easiest recipes I could think of– turkey burgers. Sounds standard, I know, but with a little tweaking, a boring burger can be healthy and delicious. Paired with the side of your choice, you can now add a new fresh, healthy, and easy meal to your rotation. Enjoy, and comment with success stories!

What you’ll need:

1 package ground turkey breast (makes about 5 small burgers). Always buy “breast,” as it’s leaner than regular ground turkey. It’s a little drier, but there are ways to avoid a dry burger; see below.

½ cup crumbled feta cheese. Adding a small handful of cheese helps keep the burgers juicy! It does add some fat, but because we’re using turkey breast, it balances out.

½ small red onion, minced. Hello flavor-town! Red onion is a great way to add color to the burgers and gives them a nice bite– complimenting the rich flavor of the feta.

Olive oil. Instead of using butter or fatty cooking spray, putting a tablespoon of olive oil in your pan to cook the burgers is a much healthier option. It also gives them that crispy golden brown layer when the burgers are done.

1 avocado, thinly sliced. Yep, you’ve heard it a million times over. Avocado is a super food. It’s an amazing source of vitamins K and B6, is loaded with potassium and dietary fiber, as well as monounsaturated fat, which speeds up your metabolism! Just a couple slices will help keep you full, but don’t eat more than that at a time. Avocados, although good sources of nutrients, tend to rack up calories.

1 tomato, sliced. Tomatoes add a splash of color and are chock-full of antioxidants. Get excited– tomatoes are awesome for keeping you disease-free!

1 head of lettuce, washed. Instead of getting overly full from of a processed bun, use two large leafs of lettuce as a “healthy bun.” If you’re looking to limit carbs, it’s an easy way to do so, as well as cut sugars, and adds a nice bit of freshness and crunch.

1. Use your hands to mash the ground turkey in a bowl with the feta and onion.

2. Shape burgers into about 1-1 ¼ inches thick so they cook quickly. Put the pan on medium heat and add the olive oil. Let warm for about a minute, then place burgers in pan. Flip when base turns golden brown.

3. Layer your “lettuce bun” with burger, tomato, and avocado, and if you need a little kick, crushed red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt should do the trick.

4. Ta-da! Tasty, juicy burgers are ready in minutes! Turkey burgers are lean and a great source of protein, plus by pairing them with other nutritional veggies you just can’t go wrong. I served with a side of corn drizzled with olive oil and fresh black pepper. See, I told you it would be delicious.

Tip from inside the inFerno: Make a few burgers at the beginning of the week to have ready-to-eat in the fridge. One minute in the microwave with a splash of water, and a burger is reheated. Dinnertime stresses: resolved.

Photos by Elysia Mann