Mediterranean Turkey Burgers with Tahini Sauce

Last weekend my husband really wanted hummus with dinner.  OK, so that was the easy part but what to serve with it?  I had a package of ground turkey but somehow the thought of meatloaf with hummus just did nothing for my appetite.  I got to thinking that something Mediterranean inspired would be perfect.  The first thing that came to mind was falafel, the tasty, fried chickpea (or fava bean) fritters.  I started thinking wouldn’t turkey burgers flavored like falafel be just as good.  So out came the cookbooks and with only a little modification to a falafel recipe these burgers were concocted.  Most of the recipes I found in my cookbooks called for lots of parsley or a parsley and cilantro combination.  Since I did not have any cilantro in the fridge, I decided to use some fresh mint instead and it was delicious.  Feel free to use any combination of these herbs in your burgers.  If you want to use cilantro instead of mint use the same amount as the parsley.  Tahini sauce is traditionally served with falafel and provides a nice garlicky kick to the sandwiches.

Tahini Sauce:

1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
3/4 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic (or run it through a garlic press)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, optional

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, for a day or two.  Bring to room temperature before using.

Turkey Burgers:

1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground corriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 large egg
1 (20-ounce) package ground turkey
black pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to a large bowl.  Mix well until everything is evenly distributed.  Form the mixture into 6 even patties.  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmery.  Add the burgers and cook until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, about 7-10 minutes per side.  If the burgers are browning too fast, turn down the heat to medium-low and cover the pan.

Makes 6 small burgers and about 1 cup of sauce.

Serve with pita bread, lettuce and tomato.

both recipes adapted from The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman

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