Chicken Burgers with Spinach, Feta & Garden Tzatziki Sauce

"Where's the beef?" Let's put it aside for the moment and instead choose a summery Greek-style chicken sandwich served with a chunky Greek tzatziki, updated with lots of vegetables from the garden.

Chicken Burgers with Fresh Spinach, Feta and Garden Tzatziki Sauce
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My restaurant recipe request column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a kick to write. I’m loving the stories from local restaurant families, the imagination of local chefs, the new techniques and ingredients I’m learning.

Every so often, a restaurant’s recipe is a house secret, not to be shared. That happened a few weeks ago – and the sandwich sounded so good, I decided to invent my own recipe! It turned out as a Greek-style burger, with feta and fresh spinach so instead of mayonnaise and ketchup, I mixed up a batch of Tzatziki Sauce.

Lucky for you, this new house recipe is no house secret.


GARDEN TZATZIKI SAUCE

Tzatziki [pronounced tza-ZEE-kee, pronunciation help)] is a traditional Greek sauce, often served with grilled meats. Traditional versions are a lot like the Cucumbers in Sour Cream I call Nana’s Cucumbers, just more saucy. I like to mix it up with other vegetables (olives would be good!) but it’s a concept recipe that begs for adaptation based on what’s in season and what’s on hand. Want an even simpler recipe? Stir a fresh salsa from the produce section into sour cream or Greek yogurt.

In a small food processor, one at a time, chop 1/2 a green pepper, 1/4 an English cucumber, 1 Roma tomato. Combine and stir in 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream or low-fat Greek yogurt. Season with salt and pepper to taste and chopped fresh herbs, if you like. Makes 1-1/4 cups.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per 1/4 Cup: 21 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 1mg Cholesterol; 18mg Sodium; 3g Carb; 0g Fiber; 3g Sugar; 2g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points .5, PointsPlus 1
ALANNA’s TIPS Reduce the calories in burgers by using a fork to remove the bready centers from the buns. Does it add up? You bet, it drops the calories of a bun by 20%. If you like, “veg up” the burger even more with thin slices of cucumber, tomato and lettuce.

QUICK SUPPER:
CHICKEN BURGERS with
FRESH SPINACH, FETA and
GARDEN TZATZIKI SAUCE

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 5
  • 6 ounces fresh spinach, stems removed if tough
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons panko or dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • Buns
  • Garden Tzatziki Sauce (see recipe, left)
  • Sliced cucumbers, optional
  • Sliced tomatoes, optional
  • Lettuce leaves, optional

SPINACH Rinse the spinach leaves in a microwave-safe colander, then place in the mike and cook on high until tender, 30 seconds at a time, for a total of about 90 seconds. Let cool a bit, then roughly chop. (If you like, use a small food processor, then make the Garden Tzatziki Sauce.)

BURGERS Combine spinach, feta, panko, onion powder, salt and pepper and mix well. Gently stir in the chicken, combining without compressing the mixture. Form into five four-ounce burgers, about a half inch thick.

GRILL Heat a grill pan on medium high, spray with cooking spray. Drop in the burgers and let cook, without moving, for about 5 minutes, then turn over and cook the other side for another 5 minutes. To make sure the chicken is cooked clear through, insert a probe thermometer into the center of one burger, the temperature should reach 165F.

ASSEMBLE Place a burger onto the bottom bun, top with Garden Tzatziki Sauce, then sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce and finally, cap off the burger.

LEFTOVERS The burgers reheat well and are good cold too.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Burger, not including bun or Tzatziki Sauce: 190 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 91mg Cholesterol; 500mg Sodium; 5g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 19g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 4.5, PointsPlus 5
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite "house recipe" that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

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Oh, Alanna, I bet these would be fantastic as lamb burgers! I love the idea of all the spinach packed in there. I'd probably add some scallions, too - but that might just be because we have about 100 right now. ;) Can't wait to try your recipe.
 
For some reason I love ground turkey but don't love ground chicken. So I'll be adapting slightly when I make these burgers.
 
Farmgirl & Lydia ~ I love-love adaptable recipes, yours are naturals! PS I just happen to have some lamb burger, hmm, I wonder where who raised it. :-)
 
Yum, these look great! I can't digest beef so I'm always on the lookout for interesting chicken, turkey, or pork burgers! thanks!
 
I followed your recipe and made those delicious chicken sandwiches and both my husband and I enjoyed them.
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna