Quinoa Turkey Burgers

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{ quinoa + turkey burgers } DisplacedHousewife

quinoa turkey burgers { shut up and eat }

I was raised on an endless array of sayings that started with ‘shut up and eat’, lingered on ‘pull your head out of your ass’ and ended with: ‘go play on the freeway.’ This makes me giggle. To some, this could all seem a bit hostile. It was actually quite the opposite. It was the era of Donahue, Pepsi Light and Neil Diamond. My dad was a fire captain that eventually worked his way up to chief. He is a no-nonsense, no-bull-shit kinda guy. He puts butter on his cookies, makes some mean chicken-fried steak and gravy and can’t understand why anyone would come up with a new way to make a snickerdoodle when the way it was made before was utterly perfect.

Nobody was mean, no one drank too much and we laughed a lot…it was a pretty good childhood. Picture me as a little, blond toe head with a tie-dye rainbow-unicorn tank (it was my favorite) on the driveway with my sister and dad learning how to ride a skateboard. I loved root beer, cookie dough and matchbox cars…and pretty much anything my mom made. Does any of this seem familiar to  you?

I didn’t like egg yolk, although I would eat scrambled eggs. I don’t know that I had any other culinary proclivities. Honestly, I don’t know if the tempo of the house was open to me saying, yeah, I’m not eating this. I would have probably been told that I could eat it or wear it.

My daughter, Stella, is an adventurous type. She’ll eat anything. Oysters on the half? Yes. Sushi? Always. Curry? Yes, more please! So you can imagine my utter surprise when my son, Gavin, came along and was….how shall I say…a little more particular. He’ll eat cheese in a quesadilla or with macaroni and cheese, but if you ask him he doesn’t like cheese. He loves spaghetti and meatballs but will add that he doesn’t like salad in his sauce. He’s referring to basil and parsley. Left to his own devices he would eat chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese and jiaozi. Oh, and pizza. And hot dogs. To be fair, his palate has grown…I can now get him to eat lettuce leaves (no dressing). Baby steps.

If you ask him the two times he has seen me cry he’ll tell you when my grandfather died (Papa) and when he was refusing, after I worked all day and rushed home to cook dinner, to eat what I had made. It was one of those final-straw-kinda moments.

It is with all this in mind that I decided to do a weekly post called Shut Up & Eat. I’m going to put together some easy, delicious recipes that are Stella and Gavin approved. Gavin is my toughest critic…I like to think if I get two thumbs-up in this house we’ve got some good odds that it might work in your house too. I hope. Kids are tricky. Both Stella and Gavin love it when I make these quinoa turkey burgers.

Let’s eat, shall we?

Quick Notes

  • Make Ahead: There are several ways you could make these ahead. You can make the entire patties, short of cooking them, the night before. Cover tightly and refrigerate until the next evening when you’re ready to grill. I actually think they grill better if they’re chilled. I have also made these, grilled them and then, once cooled, individually wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap, then foil and shoved them in a  plastic re-sealable freezer bag. Lunch or dinner is ready whenever you want. Boom.
  • Serve With: Roasted potatoes, cut-up cucumbers and tzatziki.
  • Variations: Serve with some hamburger buns. We all like patties sans buns in our house…make the call for your tribe. You could also make the turkey mixture into meatballs and bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes and serve on a bed of rice (don’t forget the tzatziki).
  • Make it Sophisticated: Instead of cucumber sticks, serve with an arugula salad, simply dressed in lemon juice + zest, olive oil, pressed garlic clove and hella loads of finely-grated parmesan. Don’t forget some wine. If your kids love arugula, good for you. I’m impressed. Mine don’t and I love (LOVE) it and it goes with this really well.
  • Before You Start: Make sure your quinoa is pre-cooked and cooled…ideally it should spend some time in the fridge. You want it to have the correct moisture level so that it won’t make your patties too mushy. Click here for how to cook quinoa perfectly. In regards to seasoning, I use Snider’s Prime Rib & Roast. You could replace with a different seasoning, just be careful about salt content. Perhaps start with half, give a whiff and see if you think it needs more. I so wish we could do this together so I could help in the kitchen.

{ quinoa + turkey burgers + tzatziki } DisplacedHousewife

{ turkey quinoa burgers }

Makes about 6 4-ounce cooked burgers


For the Quinoa Turkey Burgers

  • 1 large egg
  • 1.25 pounds ground turkey (93%)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, completely cooled
  • ½ cup finely chopped kale or spinach
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning (I used Snider’s Prime Rib & Roast)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh-grated lemon zest


  1. Scramble the egg in a large bowl.
  2. Dump everything else on top of the egg and fluff around with a fork. Don’t overwork your meat. I’m just saying.
  3. Gently shape into six equal-sized patties. Don’t overwork your meat. The most important part is to make sure the thickness is the same all over (so they cook evenly).
  4. If you have the time, refrigerate for at least 30-60 minutes. This will make it easier for them to hold their shape while you’re grilling.
  5. Cook on a well-oiled barbeque, grill pan or sauté pan over medium-high heat, each side for about 8-10 minutes. I don’t know how your medium-high heat is…mine will get nice grill marks after about 8 minutes. Use that as a guide. When it’s time to flip, go gentle and slow. I use two spatulas to get a good, even flip. Turkey patties are more fragile than beef…so be patient with them.
  6. Dinner’s done. How easy was that?

I hope this makes your week a little bit easier. Have a gorgeous one! xx

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  • Connie @ Sprig and Flours March 12, 2015 at 3:11 AM

    Your childhood was so sweet! I miss the days when no one was ever mean to each other too, especially today because I got honked at for not flooring it when the light turned green :/ I love the look and sound of these turkey burgers. I especially love that they’re so simple! They’re def going to make it into my weekday menu in the near future.

    • DisplacedHousewife March 12, 2015 at 11:38 PM

      Connie, let me know if you try them…we love ’em!! Your website is pretty!! xx

  • DisplacedHousewife March 11, 2015 at 7:22 PM

    Hi Jessica! Picky eaters are a MAJOR bummer!!! We’re working on it. At the end of the day I think it has nothing to do with food. Maybe they like to use their voice and see if anyone will jump??? I couldn’t agree more on tzatziki!! xox

  • Beau Ciolino March 11, 2015 at 7:07 PM

    I was kind of a fat kid so no one ever told me to eat anything, but the whole “shut up and eat” part of this post is super cute and your family sounds like a bunch I’d love to hang out with! Also, I’ve been on a big quinoa kick and these sounds so yummy! I bet they have a nice little nutty element from the quinoa!

    • DisplacedHousewife March 11, 2015 at 7:25 PM

      Dearest Beau…we’ve moved from Shut Up & Eat in our family to Shut Up & Drink as we’ve gotten older. Maybe that should be a summer post series? Ohhh…I like that. If you like quinoa you’ll love these. I love that little pop & texture that the quinoa gives the burger. xx

  • Jessica | A Happy Food Dance March 10, 2015 at 6:45 PM

    You’re childhood sounds amazing and much like mine – I lived in the middle of nowhere and rode my bike through the woods, always had Coke in the fridge and my parents were both amazing cooks. We had to eat what was made for dinner or we could make ourselves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I can’t imagine having a picky eater so I love this “shut up and eat” series. Also, tzatziki should be served on the side of most things!