These tasty turkey burgers, served on toasted focaccia and dressed with marinara sauce, are reminiscent of a sausage pizza. Shredded mozzarella combined with fresh basil melts beautifully inside these gems.

Bruce Aidells
Source: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2008

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Recipe Summary

total:
50 mins
Servings:
4
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Ingredients

Marinara Sauce
Burgers

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare marinara: Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cover and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in fresh tomatoes and any juices, sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in basil and remove from the heat. Transfer to a food processor and pulse to form a coarse-textured sauce. Return to the pan and set aside.

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  • To prepare burgers: Place turkey, scallions, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Gently combine, without overmixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 8 thin patties about 4 inches wide and 3/8 inch thick.

  • Combine 1/4 cup cheese and basil and place an equal amount in the center of 4 patties. Cover with the remaining patties and crimp the edges closed.

  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat (see Grilling Variation). Add burgers and cook, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165 degrees F, 8 to 10 minutes total.

  • Warm the marinara on the stove. To assemble the burgers, spread 3 tablespoons of marinara on each toasted focaccia, top with a burger, about 3 more tablespoons of marinara and 1 tablespoon of the remaining cheese.

  • Grilling Variation: To grill the turkey burgers, preheat a grill to medium-high. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the patties, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165 degrees F, 8 to 10 minutes total.

Tips

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the marinara sauce (Step 1) for up to 5 days.

Tip: To oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray.

Nutrition Facts

265 calories; protein 33.8g 68% DV; carbohydrates 13.5g 4% DV; exchange other carbs 1; dietary fiber 2.4g 10% DV; sugars 3.8g; fat 9.5g 15% DV; saturated fat 4.3g 21% DV; cholesterol 54mg 18% DV; vitamin a iu 1073.9IU 22% DV; vitamin c 20.2mg 34% DV; folate 56mcg 14% DV; calcium 154.8mg 16% DV; iron 2.6mg 15% DV; magnesium 25.7mg 9% DV; potassium 380.3mg 11% DV; sodium 693.4mg 28% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 11% DV.

Reviews (36)

Read More Reviews
37 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 27
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
06/27/2019
I tend to use recipes as a way to get ideas when I'm stuck for what to cook rather than follow them verbatim which is what I did here. I made the sauce as written but added a good 1/2 - 3/4 cup (I don't measure) of white cooking wine and let it cook down since the recipe didn't call for any liquid. It turned out pretty good. In addition to the garlic and onion I seasoned it with salt pepper oregano parsley and basil. I may add some red pepper flakes next time. For the burgers I didn't use the recipe. I use 1 lb ground Turkey chopped scallion salt pepper and garlic. I also add about 1/2 cup of plain bread crumbs to the mixture because ground Turkey tends to be very sticky. Added the cheese as described and cooked on the stove top. Turned out delicious and fit my eating plan because outside of the cheese and sun dried tomatoes everything is fresh whole foods. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
12/15/2017
This took over an hour to prepare and nobody in my family liked it. I have had good experiences with these recipes but I would not make this again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
08/13/2016
Since I was in a hurry I didn't make the marinara sauce. It was really tasty by itself. Plan to make it again with the marinara. I used dried minced garlic instead of fresh and I used only 1/2 T of oil in the pan. As mentioned it took longer to make than I expected and it was going to over cook or burn if I waited until the suggested internal temp. I removed it from pan @ 111 degrees F and it was well done. Read More
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Rating: 4 stars
08/21/2014
Amazing!! The whole family loved this meal!! Pros: Great natural flavors!! Cons: Needed to make more Marinara Sauce Read More
Rating: 5 stars
05/12/2014
Well-Made Turkey Burgers Having never made nor enjoyed marinara sauce this recipe was delicious. I made this for 5 people on Mother's Day and it was a hit! My finace couldn't stop talking about it the next day and told me it was his new favorite. We even plan on making a bunch to freeze for the week. I wasn't able to use focaccia as the store didn't have any but any type of pita bread will do & instead of using plum tomatoes I used whatever the grocery store had in stock. I did 1.5 of everything in the recipe and it made 6 burgers. At first I expected the mozzarella to come out during cooking but it didn't. Will definitely be a new recipe of mine!! Pros: Delicious Read More
Rating: 2 stars
05/21/2013
Pretty Much a Letdown After reading all the reviews I was really disappointed by this relatively bland dinner. More like a Salisbury-style turkey Parmesan than a burger it needs a LOT of kick and the calories are likely much higher than the nutrition info suggests (do the math individually and see). I'm not a fast chef but it took FOREVER to make and took much longer than expected to reach a safe temperature without burning. We won't make this one again. Pros: Relatively healthy Cons: Lots of work; too much effort for the result Read More
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Rating: 4 stars
01/11/2013
This was absolutely DELICIOUS! It's definitely on our favorites list Cons: A little time consuming - but well worth it!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
08/10/2012
Super Delish!! This is hands-down my favorite dish!! It's so fresh and flavorful with all the basil and the marinara sauce is to do die for!! My only suggestion would be to either toast the bread or skip spreading it on top and bottom pieces of bread (it gets soggy before your first bite). I've made this for my husband 1 year old son and my mom a few times - we savor EVERY bite!! HIGHLY recommend. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
06/04/2012
wonderful tastes great These burgers were tastey and easy to make. My husband and son both liked them so they are moving into the can make again file. Pros: easy to make Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/29/2012
Easy and Yummy My fiance and I just loved these burgers! I am just a novice cook and found the recipe easy(although I did use store bought marinara). These were the best turkey burgers we have ever had ANYWHERE!!! I served it with an arugula salad which complimented the burgers nicely. This one is definitely staying on our list of go to recipes! Pros: Easy to make can substitute store made marinara Cons: none Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/02/2012
Yummy! This was very tasty and quick. Would like to figure out a way to prevent the cheese from melting out though. Pros: Good taste quick to make Cons: Cheese leaks out of burgers while cooking Read More
Rating: 5 stars
11/13/2011
These burgers were awesome. So easy to make. They stayed really juicy. I actually put these in wraps to eat. It helped keep the cheese in. Pros: All of the items needed to make this were things I always have in the cupboards Cons: The burgers get really thin and the cheese will sometime melt out. I just make the thicker now and Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This recipe is so delicious and full of flavor. The cheese oozing out with the messing sauce makes it a fantastic burger. I kept the sauce chunky and just let it break down a little longer in the saucepan instead of putting it in a food processor. Definitely one of my favorite burgers! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I also just let the sauce cook longer in the pan instead of using the food processor. We like this combination very much and will make it again and again. YUM. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
The marinara sauce was outstanding but my husband thought the burgers were only okay. An immersion blender worked well on the sauce. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I am not a fan of ground turkey but these looked so good to me that I thought I'd give them a try. I was pleasantly surprised by how good these were and how the burgers didn't have that strong turkey taste. I didn't think the lemon zest would make such a big difference but that flavor came through and melded very well with the sauce--which I also just let cook longer instead of processing. And my husband and teenage son liked it too! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I have been trying to get everyone in my house to eat more freshly prepared foods and this was awesome! My family loved these with some fresh spinach sauteed on top a salad and sweet potato fries on the side. Definitely worth trying! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
My Husband and I LOVED this recipe. The lemon in the turkey burger really elevated the taste of the basil. We will absolutely make this again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Tasted pretty good. I left out the lemon and it looks like next time Ill add it. Sauce was good. It took me forever to make them though probably because it was my first time. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Put less cheese and use whole wheat italian bread. It's healthier and still is hearty but turkey is a good choice Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
The turkey patties were excellent. We skipped the grill and put in a cast iron skillet over medium heat for five minutes on each side to brown then baked at 350 for 10 minutes in the oven to make sure cooked through. The Marinara sauce was good but not exceptional. May try again in the spring summer with fresh tomatoes. Were I to make again during the winter would probably just use a prepared marinara sauce. We also skipped the foccacia bread and served with Lemony Dill Carrot Salad. Excellent meal. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
My favorite EatingWell Recipe! Hands down the best thing I have made in a long time. It's a little extra work for a great burger! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Excellent recipe! I absolutely loved the taste and it was fairly easy to make. I used canned diced tomatoes in basil & oregano instead of the plum tomatoes and sundried tomatoes. I also used lemon juice instead of lemon zest. Everything was remarkable! I especially love the marinara sauce. I added 2 packets of splenda sugar for a mildly sweeter taste. I also added my own seasonings to bring out more flavor in the burgers. I personally love Spike seasoning. I can definitely see making this recipe again and using the marinara sauce for other recipes. I love the texture after putting it in a food processor. Awesome!!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This recipe was easy to make and turned out delicious! I can't believe I cooked something so good! I didn't have sun-dried tomatoes so I thought the marinara sauce would be bland - not so. I also used a can of diced tomatoes instead of plum and didn't run it through a food processor. I liked the chunky-ness of the tomatoes on the focaccia. I'm going to be using the marinara recipe again and again. LOVED it! Five stars easily. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Everytime ground turkey goes on sale in the supermarket I make these burgers. SO good! The only thing I wasnt fond of was the marinara recipe. It was much more flavorful and a lot easier to use store bought marinara (and if you're good about comparing calorie fat and sodium count it's just as healthy). Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
So....good....the fresh basil and cheese in the center make these fantastic. I couldn't find foccia bread so used ciabatta which was excellent. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I didn't puree the marinara sauce and cooked it until it no longer was saucy. It is like a tapenade and I make it now to put on chicken bruschetta sandwiches and crackers. It's the best part of the recipe it's so versatile! Yum!!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
We loved this recipe!! I had fresh mozzarella on hand so that's what I used and just cut it into very small cubes before stuffing the burgers. It worked great. I just made a double batch of the sauce to freeze. I couldn't resist eating some of it right away so I drizzled some flat bread with olive oil sprinkled with a little grated pecorino romano and fresh mozzarella and broiled it. Then poured the sauce over it for a very tasty lunch!! Will definitely be making this recipe again and will be stocking the freezer with the sauce! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
We really enjoyed this. It's a little involved but not much more than making a regular burger. We didn't have any worcesterchiresirehse3892a sauce so I messed around with soy sauce/vinegar/lemon juice (instead of the zest). It has a fresh taste and the sauce makes the burger. Can't wait to try it with the actual ingredients. Another keeper! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Excellent burger for lunch or dinner We really enjoyed the burgers. I found the lemon zest to be too much so I will either reduce it by half or eliminate next time. The flavor was really good and not dry. We used our own pasta sauce so I cannot comment on the sauce. Would not hesitate to make these for guests. Pros: Easy good flavor Cons: Lemon zest Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Burgerlicious My son-in-law is a burger-holic but has found beef doesn't sit well anymore. He was in heaven with these as were all others at the table. I used a good healthy bottled marinara sauce with great success. Delicious flavours. Pros: messy to eat Cons: messy to eat Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
YUM!! I made these for dinner and LOVED them! I used pre-made sauce from the grocery store and they came out great. I'll definitely make them again. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
This is healthy??? I love turkey but not in burgers and my husband is anti-healthy anything! (Don't tell them until the plate is clean! Hehe) This was actually good! So good my hubby cleared his plate and is taking the leftovers for lunch! Here are the few things I changed: Made my own marinara (with the help from a store bought jar) used lemon juice instead of zest Italian bread instead of Focaccia and substituted green onions for scallions. I toasted the bread in my toaster oven while the burgers were cooking in my Foreman. Served mine with a salad. Yummo! I will be making this again! Pros: Ooooey gooey goodness! Cons: None! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
Good but Picture is not a portion size! This was good and I made the sauce like it said and will definitely have again but the picture sure makes this look bigger than what you actually get. When you divide the pound up into 4 burgers and put in the small amount of moz cheese it definitely does NOT look like the picture. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
10/29/2011
It was okay... For the amount of time this dish takes to make it's definitely not worth it. The turkey burgers fell apart and I couldn't keep the cheese inside while frying. The sauce was very salty (from the dried tomatoes and salt) and I couldn't take much of it. I made the recipe by the book and will not make again. You'd be better off just buying the Marinara and topping the burgers with the cheese after grilling them. Pros: Decent flavor but cut down on the salt. Cons: Took way too long to make and fell apart. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
Very Tasty! I thought these were very good! I made them exactly as the recipe specified and cooked them on the grill outside. They cooked easily and stayed together surprisingly well. The burgers were very juicy and flavorful. I did think the lemon zest was a pretty strong without the marinara though. I'd probably cut it down next time so it doesn't take over the flavors in the burger so much. The marinara sauce was great with it. I served them over slices of asiago focaccia which I toasted on the grill after the burgers were done. They looked great and went together wonderfully. Pros: Flavorful Cons: Slightly involved Read More