When I have a weeknight recipe that works (and is fast and easy), I really hate to tinker with it. But then, I get bored. I’m sure you know this cycle well. Not one. more. night. of. turkey. meatballs!!!
Just last week, I decided to mix it up a bit with one of my family’s favorite recipes, my Moist and Meaty Florentine Turkey Meatballs. What makes them so delicious and easy is first that you bake them (no messy pan frying) from end-to-end, and they are loaded with flavor from all the spinach, parsley, Parmesan cheese, garlic, organic ketchup, egg, and GF breadcrumbs.
But I decided to dig into my pantry to see how I could play around with those seasonings to build upon this base recipe.
Oh, yes. Harissa would play nicely with that ketchup. Maybe some mint to cool down that heat a bit instead of parsley. Green onions would be nice and crunchy vs. grating white onion like I usually do.
And then it hit me! Why not make little Greek pita sandwiches, like the gyros I adore but turkey meatball style with feta, and mint, and some fast pickled cucumbers for crunch.
All summer long, I’ve been loving these little Persian cucumbers from my local farmers market in a hot bath of sugar and vinegar spiced with equal parts cumin and coriander.
What started as a Moist and Meaty Florentine Turkey Meatball baked in the oven, turned into the perfect grilled summer burger–Greek style. To top it off and really make this new version as playful and delicious as was possible, I finished off each pita slider with a hint of more fresh mint, feta cheese, and little toasted pita triangle toppers.
It’s worth it to break out of the rut sometimes. You can never go wrong when you start with a good foundational recipe (and take it international)!
Special thanks to Elle Wildhagen, our photographer and videographer, for this beautiful shoot.
- Dark ground turkey meat, 1 lb
- Green onions, 1 bunch
- Organic Ketchup, ¼ cup
- Harissa paste, 4 tsp.
- Bread crumbs (your favorite GF brand), 1 cup
- Eggs, 2
- Salt, 1 tsp.
- Black Pepper, ½ tsp.
- Mint, small bunch
- Pita bread, enough for four people
- Sour cream, 3 TBS.
- Feta cheese, 6 oz.
- Persian cucumbers (small variety), 3-4
- Apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup
- Sugar, 1/8 cup
- Salt, ½ tsp.
- Ground cumin, 1 tsp.
- Ground coriander, 1 tsp.
- Take 5 minutes to get out all your ingredients, measuring and cooking equipment needed, and place them on a cookie sheet within easy reach.
- Wash all produce.
- Slice thinly (skin on).
- Heat vinegar, sugar, and spices in a pot until melted.
- Pour over cucumbers (in a bowl or mason jar) and let sit while you continue with prep.
- Thinly chop six green onions (white and green parts).
- Cut about ½ cup of mint leaves into thin ribbons.
- In a large bowl, combine turkey meat, green onions, ketchup, harissa, bread crumbs, eggs, salt, pepper, and mint. Mix together well. I like to use my hands.
- Preheat your grill. If you do not have an outdoor grill, these can easily be seared in a pan (2 minutes per side) over high heat and finished in a 350F oven for 10-12 minutes.
- This recipe will easily make 8 small burgers. On the grill, cook them over medium heat about 5-6 minutes per side. Let them rest a few minutes on a plate before serving.
- Spread a little sour cream onto your toasted pita bread, top with turkey burger, pickled cucumbers, more fresh mint, slices of feta cheese and the other piece of toasted pita. We love to eat these with fresh summer corn on a hot night!
- Note: this recipe is easily made gluten free. Just use your favorite brand of gluten free bread crumbs in the burger mixture and your favorite GF bread, pita or buns. Here’s a fun recipe to make your own GF pita bread.