2 December 2008

Spanakopita "Inspired"Burgers with Greek "Tude"

Christmas is a time of overindulgence in many ways. I would never deprive myself the enjoyment of my family and friends digging into all that the season has to offer from eggnog to shortbread cookies. I have left my "everything in moderation" philosophy behind for the season and taken on a new mantra with "Nothing is off limits". I love this philosophy much better!!!!That being said, when eating at home I still feel the need to provide my family with healthy and less decadent choices. With all the calorie laden dishes, open houses and Christmas sweets in the weeks to come I felt it was time to bring out the "big guns" and have a heart-healthy and albeit delicious recipe option to offer my family in between all the goodies.

Rachel Ray’s Spanakopita Burgers gives me the best of both worlds. Not only are they high in flavour but they are high on the scale for being laden with "good for you goodness". Plus they cure my "love for all things Greek" for another day! What could be better than that!!!

For the burgers you use ground chicken or turkey for a healthy choice, with plenty of spinach, feta cheese and a generous dollop of yogurt based sauce. For a carb free and even fewer caloric option serve these burgers "bunless" with a side salad and tzatziki sauce. You can use a grill pan to cook these babies, or, as I did today, cook these up on the barbecue 6 minutes per side. Yes I know it is almost winter but I grill all year round, and since it is 8C and not a speck of snow in sight I still feel like doing so. This burger is definitely a keeper!!!! My family had grins from ear to ear!!

I am submitting this recipe to my blogsister Ivy who is hosting this weeks Weekend Herb Blogging. I’m sure you have seen this event as it is now in it's third year and was the brainchild of Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen . Kalyn has now passed the event over to Haalo, of Cook Almost Anything At Least Once.
Not only is this a tender and juicy version of a turkey burger but is uses copious amounts of Greek oregano. Oregano, loosely interpreted from the ancient Greek language means "joy of the mountain"... "oros" (mountain) and "ganos" (joy). According to Greek mythology, the sweet, spicy scent of oregano was created by the goddess Aphrodite as a symbol of happiness. It was understandable in that case why in ancient Greece, bridal couples were crowned with garlands of oregano and it was placed on tombs to give peace to departed loved ones. If you taste "fresh from the garden" Greek oregano it is so spicy that fresh leaves numb the end of your tongue.
Not all oreganos are created equal!!!!! Greek oregano (rigani) is a subspecies with the latin name Origanum vulgare (previously Origanum heracleoticum or Oreganum heraclites). Look at oregano package labeling to identify it. Dried Greek Oregano is a great way to get through the winter blues.!!!!!!

I am also dedicating this dish to my blogsister Ivy of Kopiaste for all her hard work in making our Social Network Bloggeraid a reality. Also to Giz, of Equal Opportunity Kitchen, who was instrumental in our first initiative and getting us closer to our goal to raise funds for the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations frontline agency with her "foodie" inspired jewelry. It is people like you who can make a difference in this world. The blogging community is filled with caring people who touch our hearts everyday. We become a part of their lives, their accomplishements and their joys:D Thank you:D

Join Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen who is hosting this months foodie event Because we can help with one of your favourite holiday dishes!

**Spanakopita "Inspired" Burgers**
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1 small red onion, 1/2 chopped and 1/2 thinly sliced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, 2 chopped and 1 crushed
  • One 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2 tsps dried Greek oregano, lightly crushed in the palm
  • 1- 1/3 pounds ground chicken breast or turkey breast
  • 1/4 pound crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 T grill seasoning, such as Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1/4 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 plum tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped arugula
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 crusty rolls, split
  • 10 to 12 pitted Kalamata olives (a generous handful)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and the butter. When the butter melts, add the chopped red onion and chopped garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer the onion and garlic to a large bowl to cool.

Squeeze the thawed spinach dry. Break up the block of spinach as you add it to the cooled onion and garlic. Season with 1 teaspoon of the oregano (one-third palmful). Add the ground chicken and feta, then the grill seasoning and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Mix it all together, then divide the mixture with the side of your hand into 4 equal sections. Form 4 patties, each 1 inch thick. In the same skillet, cook the patties over medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side. (To cook on the barbecue grill 6 minutes per side)

Combine the sliced cucumber and tomato with the sliced red onion, arugula. Dress with half of the lemon juice and olive oil to taste and season with salt and pepper; reserve.

Toast the rolls. Serve with a generous portion of tzatziki sauce, arugula and red onion mixture.

Serves 4

**Tzatziki Sauce**
  • 1 cup finely chopped, seeded, peeled cucumber
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 (8-oz) carton plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1-1/2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 - 2 garlic cloves, minced

Place cucumber in a colander over a bowl; sprinkle with salt. Toss gently to coat. Cover and chill 1 hour. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Squeeze until barely moist. Spoon yogurt onto several layers of heavy duty paper towels; spread to 1/2-inch thickness. Cover with additional paper towels; let stand 5 minutes. Scrape into bowl using a rubber spatula. Combine cucumber, yogurt, parsley and remaining ingredients in a bowl.
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  1. These burgers sound fantastic - spinach and feta and your onto a winner in my book.

  2. You can have both an "everything in moderation" mantra AND a "nothing is off limits" mantra. They don't have to be contradictory. :)

  3. OMG, that sounds mighty scrumptious! Those are gourmet burgers!



  4. How amazing do those look?! Would love one right about now.

  5. Now this is a burger, Valli! Just reading the list of ingredients tells you how good they just have to taste! And spinach...that's about as virtuous as it gets, right?! :-) Another winner from Valli's kitchen!

  6. Ok! I have to catch a flight to your place Val! They look amazing!!!! How creative and very clever.

  7. I love the spanakopita inspired burgers, they look great!

  8. Great idea for summer I love it.I am getting tired to make regular burgers. This sound so tasty

  9. I love all the greek ingredients in your burgers!! I have to remember to cook with them more often!!

  10. Love those burgers Val!!! I can't wait to make those! Believe it or not we are eating things other than cookies:)

  11. I love the collage of photos Val! It almost looks as if you guys are having summer? Great flavors and it just shows how versatile the humble old hamburger really is!

  12. The look great. You've got me wishing for summer and Christmas isn't even here yet!

  13. I love your new mantra, this time of the year everything goes, we can start worrying January 1st, right? Great looking burgers, yummy!

  14. I love the burger and the Greek ingredients but RR's labeling them "spanakopita burgers" is a little mis-placed.

    Glad to see you're grilling all' year 'round like a trooper.

  15. What do you think of combining the burger ingredients and forming it into one large meatloaf-like shape and baking it? And then serving with tzatziki on the side?

  16. I love your new mantra as well Sis. Let's enjoy the holidays now and we'll diet next year :-)
    The burgers sound fantastic. These are definitely bookmarked.
    Thanks for your kind words Val but BloggerAid is a collective work and we all contribute equally.

  17. I've just been trying to catch up, reading in my Google reader... You have been doing so much since I have moved into my isolation bubble!
    Wow! I wish I could download everything and read it in the evenings, when I don't have internet and could be leisurely... Sigh. I'll just have to kieep coming back!

  18. Thank you for all your kind comments ladies and gents.We're not having summer Nina but I am still able to BBQ without having my wooolies on:D I agree Peter and that is why I changed the name to "Spanakopta Inspired Burgers:D I think this would make a fabulous meatloaf Anonymous:D It has been collec tive sis but all your hard work needs to be recognized as well:D Keep visiting my kitchen Katiez and I will keep myself posted on your new digs!!

  19. i don't have an ounce of greek blood in me, but i've got the 'tude! i'm loving this version of the boring ol' burger--nicely done!

  20. This would be very interesting with lamb burgers too!

  21. I love the thought of these, as I'm always on the lookout for different types of burgers. But seeing these photos...oh my...they make me long for mild nights and grilling season again. It gets a bit nippy out there in 30 degree weather! Brrr...

  22. These look wonderful, but everything you make always looks so darn good!

  23. Now don't these burgers with or without bun look pretty darned amazing. Great entry for the event and thanks for all your kind words.

  24. I've made something similar - they were delicious. I really have to get my bloggeraid stuff together!

  25. So colorful and beautiful with those tomatoes! Just gorgeous!

  26. That's a grand holiday mantra!
    I always wish I could come up with this kind of dish: spanakopita turned on it's ear becomes burgers. I love spanakopita so I'm sure this would be wonderful.
    Really inspired Val!
    I like that pilaf as well and I'm sure you'd be ok with me using some pomegranates for the red. Really looks good.

  27. Just reading the post was sheer torture Val...tried hard to get the numb feeling at the end of the tongue too...sigh...fresh Greek oregano. I remember seeing pictures of fresh oregano at Ivy's & being very envious. Am now extending the envy here...LOL! The patties seem so very doable...YUM!

  28. I wish I had one of those burgers! They look awesome! I've eaten more burgers in this past year, than in my whole life.

    I drink too much eggnog during the holidays. It's so good! Like drinking melted ice cream.

  29. Yes please! These look really, almost sinfully good ;)

  30. Val, thank you so much for starting 'Bloggeraid' and the warm welcome. I am still getting used to the forum meanwhile you can keep nudging me a bit if you feel I am not taking any initiative:)

  31. Oh Val these burgers look the business ~ SO good!!

    I am going to try eggnog homemade for the first time this year!

    Rosie x

  32. Love all of the flavors here!

  33. Oh my goodness these look yummy! I als grill year round. The grill is sitting right by my back door. :)

  34. I really have to try Spanakopita. Cant say I have ever had it....

  35. This recipe looks scrumptious! "That Girl's" suggestion of using ground lamb raises them even higher on my list of recipe's to try. The meatloaf idea was a winner too. Great discussion.

  36. This is indeed a welcomed recipe to see/know this time of year. That Rachel Ray has some good tricks up her sleeve, especially when it comes to burgers. I have a turkey burger recipe of hers I have been dying to make.

  37. This looks delicious Val, I am sure the flavors are so good! I want one right now!!!!

  38. I'm with you - life is too short to deprive yourself during the holidays! But these do look delicious!

  39. yum! i love to make greek chicken burgers but this is definitely better than my version!

  40. I admit I am not the biggest Rachael Ray fan but I have to say these burgers look incredible!

  41. Very nice Val, like the new look too. Imade similar burgers earlier this year with lots of mint, delish!


  42. Val, the burgers sound fantastic! What a great recipe.

  43. This looks so delicious!!

  44. Oh WOW! I love the sound of these, especially since I *love* spanakopita.


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