Pesto Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

These Pesto Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries really hit the spot on a warm and sunny day like today.  I had some leftover homemade pesto sitting in the fridge that was just asking to be used up, and so the Pesto Turkey Burger was born.  I also had a lonely sweet potato left on the counter from a bag I had bought earlier in the week, and so it became a natural side dish to the burger.

This meal was made for my fiancé ("C") and me, and so you'll get 2 servings out of these recipes.  You could easily double or triple them if you're feeding a bigger crowd.

Pesto Turkey Burger
1/2 pound lean ground turkey
2 Tbsp nonfat greek yogurt
2 finely chopped scallions
1 Tbsp pesto (homemade or from the store)
1 egg (you can use just an egg white, but the meat was extra lean, so I included the yolk here)
2 Tbsp breadcrumbs (I used unseasoned, but Italian are fine too)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Seasoned salt and pepper to taste

Toppings: 2 buns (I love Trader Joe's Multigrain Slims); a handful of spinach, lettuce or greens; tomato; pesto.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat with approximately 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.

Mix the ingredients well with a fork (or your hands, I won't tell anyone), and then create a dividing line down the center of the meat mixture.  The mixture will seem very wet, but as long as you can form it into a patty, it'll be fine once it cooks.  You can always add some more breadcrumbs to bring it all together.

Pick up half of the mixture with your hands and form it to make a patty shape.   Drop the patty onto the heated pan.  Repeat with the rest of the meat, and drop the second patty into the pan.

Cook each side for 6 minutes over medium heat.  Each side will brown and form a dark crust.

As the patties are cooking, prepare the toppings.

I toast the buns in the toaster, then spread each with pesto.  Layer the spinach and tomato on one side of the bun, place the patty on top, and then top with the other side of the bun.

Now, on to the Sweet Potato Fries!  I listed the burgers first, but you really want to put the fries in the oven before starting on the burger if you want it all to be done at the same time.

Now, this is honestly the first time I made these without cutting them into long wedges.  Since I only had one sweet potato, I decided to try to maximize the bounty and cut it into smaller, circular pieces.  It reminds of these delicious circular waffle fries I used to eat at this BBQ place in Michigan, Champs. I'll probably continue to cook wedges, but these are definitely a fun variation.

Sweet Potato Fries
1 large sweet potato (or 2 smaller ones), cut into 1/2-inch circular pieces (or wedges)
Drizzle of olive oil (see picture above, 1-2 tsp if you must measure such things)
Seasoned salt (Lawry's is perfect)
Cayenne pepper (this is spicy, so know how much you can handle)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Put a piece of parchment paper on your pan.  Transfer sweet potato rounds or wedges to the pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with seasoned salt and cayenne pepper.  Toss the mixture so that all the pieces are coated.  Spread the sweet potato slices out so that they're not overlapping.

Cook for 15 minutes and then flip.  (they should look like this after you flip them)

Cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the edges get nice and crispy.

If you timed it right, these fries should finish up as you're putting together the burgers. If you want a little dipping sauce for the fries, I recommend the following:

Dipping Sauce
2-3 Tbsp nonfat greek yogurt or reduced fat sour cream
1 tsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp seasoned salt

Mix the yogurt, maple syrup, salt and pepper together and serve on the side as a dipping sauce for the fries. Feel free to add more salt and pepper until you get the desired level of spice.

You could definitely add cheese to these burgers (I'm thinking that herbed goat cheese would be great), but the pesto seems to give them enough moisture that you don't really need it.  They'll definitely leave you feeling full, but maybe with enough room to grab an ice cream later (*hint hint, C!).  Perfect summer meal to eat on the patio!

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