Liz the nutritionist put me on a Candida diet earlier this week. Like other diets, this diet shuns carbs, sugars, and processed foods in favor of proteins, lots of vegetables, nuts, and low-sugar fruits.
Poultry-based burgers can be dry. When I make chicken meatballs, I use bread, milk, and egg to keep them moist, but under the diet, I cannot use bread, milk or cheese.
I decided to try a riff on a cheeseless pesto, and add onion and zucchini. Onion and zucchini have a lot of moisture, and I thought the addition to the meatballs would keep them turning into hockey pucks. I also added a little fresh lemon zest for a bright note.
Success! The turkey burgers were moist and flavorful. Great for a snack or for a meal.
Note: A Cuisinart or other food processor makes quick work of making the pesto.
Serving ideas: Serve with a salad. Make meatballs to put in tomato sauce or glaze with honey-dijon sauce and serve as appetizers. Make burgers. Put on skewers, grill on serve with a cucumber yogurt sauce as part of a mezze platter.
Basil-Zucchini Pesto Turkey Patties
1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey or chicken
1 cup shredded zucchini (1/2 zucchini)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup basil leaves, firmly packed
1/4 cup parsley leaves, firmly packed
2 handfuls walnuts or pine nuts
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/8-1/2 tsp. Lemon zest, grated (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
In Cuisinart, shred zucchini first. Take out of bowl and set to the side. Put onion, garlic, basil, parsley, nuts salt, Italian seasoning, freshly ground pepper and lemon zest. Pulse until finely chopped. Add in zucchini.
Pulse while adding olive oil through the top until it's a paste, and pesto mixture is sticking on the sides of the bowl.
Put ground turkey in a bowl and evenly distribute the pesto throughout the meat. Mixing with your hands is the easiest.
Make into patties and place on a baking sheet. I made them into 2 oz. patties, using a large scooper, but you can make them any size (meatballs, turkey burgers, etc.).
Heat of skillet to medium-high and add a little olive oil when it's hot. Turn down the heat and add the patties. Cook until cooked on the edges and opaque in the center. Flip over a cook a couple more minutes. Depending on the thickness of your patties, they will take shorter or longer to cook. The patties I made took 2-3 minutes per side, but if you're not sure, cook a test one and break it open to make sure it's cooked and your timing is good. Then you can cook the rest.
You can also cook these on the grill. If you made meatballs, you can cook them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, turning them every ten minutes. Again, this depends on the size of your meatballs, so you should check them to see if they cook faster.