Turkey Pesto Burger

by Shawnda on July 23, 2012

in Burgers & Sliders,Chicken & Poultry,Lighter & Healthier,On the grill,Sandwich, Wraps, & Quesadillas

turkey pesto burgers

During the summer, we eat a lot of the tomato-basil-mozzarella combo. Those flavors can give a fresh makeover to even the most plain dishes. Like turkey burgers.

We grow tomatoes (this year, even successfully!) and basil in our veggie garden so we’re usually only on the hook for fresh mozzarella and some good balsamic vinegar.

We like to mix basil pesto into the ground turkey before grilling and then top with some melty mozzarella and finish the burger with a drizzle of a thick balsamic vinegar.

It’s a great way to use up fresh pesto when the basil in our garden is threatening to invade the rest of the yard. And if you buy the pesto already made, it’s a really quick way to make tonight’s turkey burgers even better.

The Italian Burger

An Italian-inspired turkey burger with basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar.


  • For the turkey pesto burgers:
  • 20 oz package of lean ground turkey
  • 4-6 Tbsp pesto (purchased or homemade)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • For serving:
  • 4 slices of fresh mozzarella
  • 4 Burger buns
  • Pesto mayo (stir together equal parts mayo and pesto)
  • Tomato slices
  • Basil leaves
  • Balsamic vinegar


  1. Heat your grill to high.
  2. Break apart the ground turkey into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add basil pesto. If your pesto is very thin, consider using the low end of the range. If it's thick, you can add more.
  4. Lightly mix with your hands to distribute the pesto and then form 4 patties.
  5. Cook ~4 minutes each side (to desired doneness or internal temp) and then top with slices of cheese during the last minute so it has time to melt.
  6. Serve the turkey pesto burgers on buns with pesto mayo, fresh basil leaves, sliced tomato, and a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar.


Yields: 4 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathryn July 23, 2012 at 2:31 am

It’s such a great combination of flavours isn’t it? I love how you combined them in this turkey burger, it sounds so delicious and just perfect for summer.


2 shelly (cookies and cups) July 23, 2012 at 6:51 am

Yes! I will be dreaming of this burger until it happens in my life.


3 Kayla July 23, 2012 at 7:54 am

If you’re always on the hunt for a good balsamic vinegar, I have to suggest the VSOP balsamic from Olivier in St. Helena, CA. It is hands down, the best balsamic I’ve ever had. Totally worth the shipping.



4 Ann-Britt Drachmann Rasmussen July 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Looks sooo good.


5 Leslie Smith July 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm

OMG this looks FABULOUS! I can’t wait to try it :)


6 Jennifer July 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I love this idea, and I have plenty of basil that I need to use. Thanks!


7 Joanne July 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Pesto really does make everything it touches turn to gold, I’m convinced. I had a pesto-infused veggie burger recently that had me swooning. This is a great reminder that i need to recreate it!


8 Ann P. July 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

love this combo! so fresh and delicious, and healthy! you only FEEL like you’re indulging!


9 marla July 24, 2012 at 5:39 am

This is the picture perfect burger!


10 Nealey @ Dixie Caviar July 24, 2012 at 8:10 am

I *love* turkey burgers, but I always stick with the same one recipe (Martha Stewart’s Favorite Turkey Burger). This looks like the perfect recipe to help me branch out. I mean, what’s not to love about pesto, pesto mayo, and mozzarella!!


11 Kelsey July 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm

My search for what to do with the ground turkey in the freezer is over. Thanks!


12 chewoutloud July 24, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Oooh, yummy! Love turkey burgers. Love pesto. This I will have to try! Thanks for sharing :)


13 Ashley L July 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Can’t wait to make these tomorrow!


14 Nicole April 23, 2014 at 7:11 pm

I made this burger the other day but substituted the mozzarella with goat cheese and added roasted red peppers. DELICIOUS. Best burger I have had in a long time.


15 pamela June 23, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Made these tonight, and they were insanely good! My husband bought shredded mozzarella instead of fresh (doh!), so we made stuffed burgers instead – deeeelicious!


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