caprese turkey burgers are the perfect ode to summer. ground turkey is mixed with farmer’s market kale pesto & grilled to perfection, topped with gooey fresh mozzarella & a beautifully ripened slice of heirloom tomato, these crowd-pleasing caprese turkey burgers definitely need to make their way into your labor day weekend itinerary.
so. not only do i have a freakish obsession for september, i totally have a thing for holiday weekends.
i know what you’re thinking. “uh, jess…who doesn’t?”
true, true, my friends, touché.
holiday weekends are hands down the best. isn’t it amazing what a difference a adding a single day to the weekend makes on everything? raise your hand if you’re on team #everyweekendshouldbeathreedayweekend!!! (*raises both hands*)
but i’ll go one step further & declare that out of all of the holiday weekends, labor day weekend is the one that really takes the cake for me.
labor day weekend at our house is like the perfectly calm eye of the storm.
summer for us, like many of you, is a super crazy time jam-packed with super fun plans. from the middle of may to the end of august, chris & i are constantly on the go almost every weekend with plans that take us out of town to weddings, festivals, a lake house with family, or vacation. tough life, i know. it’s very fun, but very busy.
i also happen to work in an industry that is particularly demanding in the fall & early winter months. our entire year consists of strategizing, planning, & executing a successful back-half, so once mid-september hits the grind at work doesn’t really stop until early february.
so labor day weekend is really the perfect opportunity to block our calendars & pause, relishing in the last of the warm days & fresh flavors of summer while we prepare for fall.
& what better way to pay homage to summer than with a perfectly grilled burger?
highlighting all of late summer’s best flavors, caprese turkey burgers are the perfect ode to summer.
(oh, & the whole thing comes together in less than 20 minutes.)
simply mix ground turkey with pesto & form patties. you can use any pesto, store-bought or your grandma’s secret recipe, but i highly recommend using my kale pesto (especially if you want your mind to be blown!). kale pesto does double duty by both helping you to use up every last bit of fresh farmers market produce & packing a superfood punch that will help with digestion & is full of great nutrients.
the turkey takes on the most beautiful green color from the pesto & it totally makes me do a happy dance.
grill the turkey burgers for 7 minutes on each side over medium-medium high heat (ahem, you totally have time to make a side of grilled fries with herbs)
& once the turkey burgers are grilled to perfection, simply top with generous slices of fresh mozzarella & heirloom tomato. adding lemon pesto aioli is totally optional (but totally recommended).
voila, caprese turkey burgers, aka labor day weekend perfection.
though you can totally use store-bought pesto, the homemade lemon pesto aioli i made here used my favorite kale pesto. it’s super easy to whip up & is packed with superfood benefits of kale. check out the recipe here.& because burgers are meant to be eaten with fries, make it a complete meal with my super crispy grilled fries with tons of fresh herbs & lemon pesto aioli. find the recipe here!
what is your favorite holiday weekend? are your labor day weekend plans? do you have family traditions, or like to keep things low-key (like me!)? what’s your favorite thing to throw on the grill for a quick & satisfying summer meal? i would LOVE to know. comment below & let’s chat!
- 1 1/3 lb ground turkey
- 1/3 C pesto
- 4 1 oz slices fresh mozzarella
- 1 medium heirloom tomato
- 4 whole wheat buns
- preheat grill to medium-medium high heat
- in a bowl, combine ground turkey & pesto & mix thoroughly with your hands until pesto is well incorporated into the turkey. be careful not to over-mix as patties will be tough & dry as a result
- grill (*see notes below for a couple of tips!)
- grill burgers over medium heat for 7 minutes on each side
- while burgers are grilling, prepare the fresh mozzarella & heirloom tomato into thinly slicing
- when the burgers have about 2 minutes of grilling time left top with sliced fresh mozzarella & allow to melt. add whole wheat buns to the grill & allow to toast.
- assemble burgers with slices of heirloom tomato & a sprinkle of finishing salt.
- serve with fries & enjoy!
- at my house we're usually just feeding chris & myself, so we use 1 lb turkey & make 3 1/3 burgers. feel free to use whatever amount of turkey you need to make the preferred patty size for your house, but my rule of thumb is 1/4 C pesto for every 1 pound of turkey.
- forming perfectly even patties is SO important for even cooking time. once the pesto is thoroughly mixed into the ground turkey, gently press the turkey mixture into the bottom of the bowl & with your fingers trace lines that divide the mixture into quarters. take each quarter & form into a ball & press down gently to form patties.
- pictured above, i top my buns with lemon pesto aioli to take these burgers to the next level of flavor. totally optional (but highly recommended!)