These turkey and zucchini burgers from the Jerusalem cookbook are probably the tastiest burgers I have ever eaten. And I have eaten my fair share of burgers over the years.  Heavy on herbs and zucchini, they are more akin to a meatball and as fresh as Spring.

My friend and fellow food blogger encouraged me to buy the Jerusalem cookbook, as well as to try this recipe. The cookbook has become one of my favorites despite having only owned it for a few months.

I learned a little bit more about it this week.   It is written by two business partners who both grew up in the city Jerusalem, Sami Tamini in the Muslim east and Yotam Ottolenghi in the Jewish west.  While each calls Jerusalem home,  they did not get to know each other until years later while each was living in London.  Now they are business partners who own two restaurants and four delis in London. And the cookbook they have put together is a marvelous collection of traditional Jerusalem dishes as well as newer recipes that draw on each of their culinary backgrounds.  If you don’t own Jerusalem, you should.

I put these little round wonders of goodness in front of my family and they couldn’t get enough of them. I found my daughter secretly dipping her finger into the sour cream sauce when I thought she wasn’t looking. My husband, who has recently sworn off bread and beer, ate at least two helpings of these gluten free meatballs himself. I just sat and oohed and ahhed with each bite.

Unfortunately, I was missing one ingredient for the sumac sauce:  the sumac!  I clearly am going to need to order it on amazon or something because it was no where to be found in the grocery stores of Connecticut.  I will say the sauce is still delicious without the sumac, but I can’t wait to make these again once I have this difficult to find Jerusalem spice.

Also, I did not have sunflower oil, so I used canola oil instead.  It worked out wonderfully.

Turkey and Zucchini Burgers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
From the Jerusalem Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamini
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large zucchini, coarsely grated (scant 2 cups)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6½ tbsp sunflower oil, for searing
Sour cream and Sumac Sauce
  • scant ½ cup sour cream
  • scant ⅔ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  1. Combine the ingredient for the sour cream sauce in a small bowl. Stir well. Refrigerate.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs except the sunflower oil
  4. Mix with your hands and then shape into 18 burgers/
  5. Pour enough sunflower oil in a large frying pan to form a lawyer about 1/16 inch thick on the pan bottom. Heat over medium heat until hot, then sear the meatballs in batches on all sides. Cook each batch for about 4 minutes, adding oil as needed until golden brown.
  6. Transfer the seared meatballs to a baking sheet lined with waxed paper in the oven for 5 to7 minutes, or until cooked through.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature, with sauce spooned over on on the side.
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