Turkey burgers with caramelised onion relish

I first made turkey burgers when I was an undergraduate and I started using turkey instead of chicken because it was cheaper.  Turkey dishes can ended up being quite dry and bland, but I’ve added pine nuts and shallots to the burger mix to give it some extra flavour, and the caramelised red onion relish just hits the nail on the head for me!

Serves 5

What you will need:

  • 300 g turkey mince
  • 1 medium shallot, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, ends sliced off
  • 2 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil
  • 20 thin slices cheddar cheese
  • 5 burger buns (I prefer brioche)

To make the burgers:


  1. Add the shallots, garlic, turkey mince, cajun seasoning and pine nuts to a food processor and blitz until the mixture takes on a paste-like consistency
  2. Divide the mixture into 5, roll into balls and flatten to make burger patties.  You can stack these on a plate with a sheet of baking paper between each patty to stop them sticking, and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.  Alternatively, wrap in cling film and freeze to use at a later date


To make the red onion relish:


  1. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat with the olive oil and gently fry off the onion for 3 mins until it begins to soften
  2. Add the red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and caster sugar and stir thoroughly, ensuring that all the onion is coated
  3. Simmer on a medium heat until nearly all of the liquid has evaporated and the onion is soft.  If the onion is not soft by time all the liquid has evaporated, add a small quantity of water to the pan and keep simmering until the onion is cooked


Top tip: this relish keeps in the fridge for a couple of days in an airtight container, so make it in advance if you know time will be tight

Cooking and assembling the burgers:

  1. To cook the burgers, heat the walnut oil (you can use a different variety of oil if you like) on a medium heat in a frying pan and fry the burger patties
  2. When the burgers are almost cooked through ~7 min, slice your burger buns in half and very lightly toast them under the grill
  3. Remove your burgers from the pan and place on a grill pan with some cheddar cheese on the top, also top the bottom half of you burger bun with some cheese and place back under the grill – WATCH THESE VERY CAREFULLY AS THEY WILL BURN!
  4. When the cheese is melted, remove from the grill and assemble the burgers by putting the patty on top of the cheesey bun base, red onion relish on top of the burger and finally the top half of the bun
  5. I like to serve these with sweet potato fries and a handful of salad


Here on The Real Food Blog, we’re all about substitutions.  Please comment below if you have any ideas as to what might make a good substitute.  In the meantime, here are a few personal recommendations:

  • Rather than individually adding the vinegars and sugar to the relish, use a balsamic salad dressing as this already has these in it
  • Substitute the pine nuts for any other type of nuts that you like.  Chicken burgers with peanuts and a peanut sauce sounds incredible!  For an easy and tasty peanut sauce recipe, check out sweetpeaandsaffron.com






2 thoughts on “Turkey burgers with caramelised onion relish

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