The Best Burgers on a Bun: Turkey Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Manchego, Avocado and Spicy Aioli

Turkey Cheeseburger. Photo Credit:  Heather Platt

Turkey Cheeseburger. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

I never thought I would be writing about turkey burgers. How boring. I’ve never ordered a turkey burger at a restaurant, or really like them that much.  The idea of a “healthy” version of anything that is normally delicious tends to make me roll my eyes. But on a recent grocery shopping trip, my husband suggested that we ( meaning, I) make them for dinner. Instead of turning my nose up to such a non-traditional burger idea, I saw it as a challenge. How can I make this low-fat concept into something completely mouthwatering and delicious? Homemade aioli, avocado, caramelized onions, bacon and a perfectly ripe California avocado came to mind. Oh, and don’t forget the toasted brioche bun.



Turkey Burger. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Turkey Cheeseburger. Photo Credit: Heather Platt


Turkey Burger. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Turkey Cheeseburger. Photo Credit: Heather Platt


Turkey Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Onions, Avocado, Bacon and Spicy  Aioli

Serves 4

  • 1 lb ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
  • 3 small shallots, quartered
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 0z Spanish Manchego, thinly sliced.
  • 1 small avocado, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup olive, grape seed or vegetable oil blend
  • 1 small lemon, for juicing
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt (or other big flaky salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 Brioche buns, cut in half

Lay the bacon flat in a large skillet. Place the skillet over medium-low heat and cook bacon until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on desired crispness. Remove from pan with tongs and place on a paper-towel covered plate.

To make the caramelized onions, melt the butter in large skillet. Add the sliced red onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until very soft and tender. This will take about 20 minutes. Turn heat to low and keep warm while you make the burgers.

Place the shallots, 1 clove of garlic and parsley leaves in a food processor and pulse until chopped.

Transfer the shallot mixture to a large bowl. Add the ground turkey, 2 tablespoons olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few turns of freshly cracked black pepper. Using your hands, mix the meat until combined. With your hands, make 4 balls with the meat mixutre. Press into 1-inch-thick burger patties. Place on a large plate, cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
While the turkey meat is chilling, make the aioli. In a mortar and pestle, pound the remaining garlic clove with a generous pinch of Himalayan sea salt. In a large cold metal bowl, place the egg yolk. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the oil one drop at a time while whisking. As the egg and oil begin to emulsify, you may add the oil in a slow steady stream, continue whisking until  1/2 cup of oil has been added. Gently stir in the garlic salt paste. Squeeze juice from half of the lemon into the aioli. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Remove the burgers from the fridge. Brush with some of the remaining oil. Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil to a large cast iron skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook on one side for 6 minutes. Flip the burgers. They should be dark brown and crusty. Add the thinly sliced manchego. Cook for six more minutes then reduce heat to medium-low. Add the brioche buns face down to the skillet and cover. Cook until cheese is melted and buns are warm and slightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes.
Place the brioche buns open-faced on four plates. Place the burgers on the bottom half of bun. Using tongs, place caramelized onions on top of the burger and top with bacon. On the top side of the bun, spread a heaping tablespoon of aioli and lay the sliced avocado on top of the aioli.
Turkey Cheeseburger. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Turkey Cheeseburger. Photo Credit: Heather Platt


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Filed under Dinner, Heather Platt, Lunch, Main Course, Meat, Poultry

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