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Something Different
Week of: August 22, 2011
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Turkey Sliders Go Greek

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

Fat equals flavor. When cooking meat, it also provides succulence and helps retain the meat's natural juices. So using fat-free ground turkey breast to make a tasty, juicy burger is one of cooking's super challenges.

You can decide if my Greek Turkey Slider is the ultimate, but I think you will agree that it is an exceptional turkey breast burger. Secrets for making them include mixing crumbled feta, shredded spinach and an egg white into the meat. Normally, burgers do not include filler, but here adding it counters the way turkey breast turns hard as it cooks. I reach for instant potato flakes because they do not absorb as much moisture from the meat as breadcrumbs, plus this keeps the patty gluten-free. My preferred ones are labeled "organic instant mashed potatoes." Found mostly at natural food stores, these are flakes that are not chemical-filled and powdery. One of the best versions is seasoned with garlic and onion powders.

Burgers are not usually marinated. However, I whisk up a dressing inspired by the pungent vinaigrette made with garlic, oregano and olive oil that is used on Greek salad and brush half, like a marinade, over the burgers before grilling. The rest, combined with mayonnaise, becomes a zesty spread on the burger buns.

Brushing the burgers with the dressing helps them stay moist on the grill, though you still need to watch carefully and avoid overcooking. It also protects against the formation of carcinogens associated with grilling and smoke.

To serve, pile lettuce and slices of tomato, onion and cucumber on top of the burger and slather the bun with the mayo-dressing mixture. The result is Greek salad and a burger on a bun, a delicious contrast of cold and hot, savory and juicy.

Greek Sliders

Greek Turkey Sliders

  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (93% lean)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup natural instant mashed potato flakes, or dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz.) crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise
  • 7 whole-wheat slider buns
  • 7 tomato slices
  • 7 thin red onion slices
  • 7 thin seedless cucumber slices, cut diagonally
  • 7 romaine lettuce leaves, top part only

Place lemon juice in small bowl. Add garlic, mashing it with fork to bruise slices. Add oregano, salt and 4 grinds pepper and mix. Mix in olive oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes.

Brush clean gas or charcoal grill lightly with oil and preheat to medium-high heat.

Place turkey, egg white and mashed potatoes in mixing bowl and combine, using fork. Holding spinach leaves in one hand over bowl, with other hand, use scissors to cut spinach into thin strips, letting them fall into bowl. Add feta and 4 grinds pepper, and mix to combine. Moistening your hands with cold water, form turkey mixture into 7 patties.

Divide marinade between 2 bowls. Using marinade from one bowl, brush burgers on both sides. Mix mayonnaise into second bowl, and set aside.

Grill burgers until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center reads 160 degrees F., 6 minutes, turning them every 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer burgers to plate and set aside for 5 minutes; the internal temperature will rise to 165 degrees F. Meanwhile, warm buns, cut side down, on grill.

Place burger on bottom of each bun. Add one-seventh of flavored mayonnaise. Top the burgers with tomato slice, onion slice, cucumber slic, and lettuce leaf. Serve immediately.

Makes 7 servings. 1 slider per serving (includes bun and toppings).

Per serving: 280 calories, 9 g fat (2 g sat fat), 31 g carbohydrates,
23 g protein 4 g fiber, 600 mg sodium.

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.

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The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $100 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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