Molly Yeh's Delicious Turkey Burgers Are Inspired By Falafel

Newly minted farm girl and Food Network star Molly Yeh channels her heritage, upbringing, and former New York City lifestyle into a fascinating food blog, best-selling cookbook, and cooking show. Her cooking style fuses diverse soul food recipes into reimagined comfort foods. A case in point is Yeh's falafel-spiced turkey burger recipe she posted via Food Network, which artfully melds two famous comfort food dishes into one.

Falafels are a world-famous Mediterranean comfort food consisting of fried chickpea fritters filled with vibrant Middle Eastern spices, herbs, and aromatics. Yeh's clever recipe essentially swaps chickpeas for ground turkey, using most of the same spices, herbs, and aromatics. Cumin, coriander, and cinnamon create a savory and spicy spice mixture while cilantro, onions, and garlic are earthy aromatic ingredients for a flavorful falafel-inspired burger.

Turkey burgers are a lot leaner than their beef counterparts and consequently require much more seasoning to avoid blandness. Falafel spices are the perfect antidote, not to mention the added richness and heft from binders like Panko breadcrumbs and egg. She even uses flavorful olive oil to fry them, which further mirrors Mediterranean cooking. These burgers also inspire a whole new set of condiments, garnishes, buns, and side dishes for your next backyard cookout.

Turkey burger flavor pairings

Just as Molly Yeh combines two different comfort foods into one dish, you can also combine Mediterranean and American traditions and flavors to come up with spreads, toppings, and side dishes for these falafel-spiced turkey burgers. In her recipe, Yeh swaps mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup for a sour and savory tahini and yogurt sauce with some crunch from red onions and lettuce.

However, her suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. You could instead use tzatziki and red or green schug for the sauce and sliced pickles, cabbage, and sun-dried tomatoes for toppings. You could also make a cilantro and parsley pesto or a harissa-flavored mayo for the burgers with roasted red peppers, pickled beets, and a sprinkle of creamy feta cheese.

Brioche or challah bread would make for a rich and sophisticated sandwich, but you could also use thick, fresh Greek-style pitas. You could forgo bread altogether and use the burgers as salad toppers or a standalone main course stuffed with feta or served atop a bulgur-stuffed eggplant boat. Instead of French fries and coleslaw for accompaniments, you could make za'atar spiced potato wedges or lemony Greek potatoes and a fresh cucumber, tomato, and red onion salad with mint, Kalamata olives, and lemon juice.