Italian Turkey Burgers (Paleo, Whole30, keto)

These juicy Italian Turkey Burgers are easy to make and bursting with flavor!

Ground turkey burgers are stuffed with olives, sun-dried tomatoes and more for Italian flavor right in your dining room.

Plus they’re gluten-free, Paleo, low carb, keto and Whole30 friendly!

Whole30 turkey burgers on a white platter and on lettuce cups on a white plate topped with mayo, pickled red onions and chopped basil

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Paleo Italian Turkey Burgers

Ground beef is the obvious choice for a burger and for good reason: if you cook them right, you get juicy, umami-packed burgers.

And while turkey burgers are also popular, I think a lot of people assume they’ll turn out dry.

But not these Italian Turkey Burgers!

By using dark meat, the burgers have more natural fat in them.

Plus the extra moisture from Kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes helps ensure these are juicy and moist Paleo turkey burgers.

Add Italian seasoning, garlic powder and other spices and you’re all set!

Plus I show you my favorite way to serve them: with balsamic aioli and pickled red onions.

And by eating them on lettuce cups (or without any bun or lettuce cup at all), these healthy turkey burgers are low carb, Paleo, Whole30 and keto friendly!

Also, I like to grill them outside, but I’ve also made them on a stovetop grill pan and in a regular skillet and they turn out great every time.

 

What you need for Paleo Italian Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, dry-packed or packed in extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, preferably dark meat, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1.5 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil (optional, if using a skillet)
  • For serving:

Equipment:

 

How to make Paleo Italian Burgers

First, start with the pickled red onions.

Slice off the root ends of the red onion, slice the onion in half through the roots and peel the onion.

Then thinly slice both halves into half moons.

Add the slices to a mason jar or glass container. Ideally the onions will just barely fit.

Fill almost all the way with red wine vinegar (the amount of vinegar you needs depends on the size of the container) then screw on the lid.

Let this sit for at least 30 minutes but it can sit in the fridge up to 3 weeks.

Next, make the burgers.

If using dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, put them in a small bowl and submerge with very warm water. Let them sit for 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry.

If using oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, pat them dry.

Either way, once the sun-dried tomatoes are ready, chop them into small pieces (not a fine dice, but not large chunks).

In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, Italian seasoning, salt and garlic powder, then the drained and chopped olives and the chopped tomatoes.

Mix with your hands, wooden spoon or spatula until everything is evenly distributed.

Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions: pat the mixture into a flat slab in the mixing bowl and use your hand to divide it in half. Then divide each half into 3 sections that look like pizza slices.

Form each portion into a burger patty, roughly 3/4″ thick.

Heat a grill, grill pan or skillet over medium high heat.

If using a skillet, add the avocado oil.

Add the burgers (if using a grill, close the grill) and cook for about 5-7 minutes per side, until they reach 165°.

Let them rest for 10 minutes.

While the burgers cook, make the balsamic aioli by stirring the balsamic vinegar into the mayo in a small bowl.

To serve, lay down a few lettuce leaves, then the burger, aioli, pickled red onions and chopped fresh basil. Top with more lettuce leaves and dig in!

a hand holding up a keto turkey burger on lettuce cups cut in half

Substitutions and variations

  • If you can only find light meat ground turkey or the package doesn’t say what kind of turkey it is, that’s fine, you can still use it
  • You can use ground beef (4 minutes a side for medium rare) or ground pork (5-7 minutes a side) in place of the ground turkey
  • You can use ground chicken in place of the ground turkey but be very careful not to overcook it as it dries out easily
  • You can use black, green or any other pitted olive you like
  • You can add fresh herbs to the ground turkey mixture
  • If you want to make spicy burgers, add red pepper flakes
  • These burgers are also good served with ketchup and/or your favorite mustard

 

Make ahead

The pickled red onions can be prepared up to 3 weeks in advance and kept in the fridge.

You can add pickled red onions to so many things: salads, chicken, pork, beef, eggs, vegetables, etc.

The balsamic aioli can be made and kept in the fridge. Use the expiration date on the mayo jar as your guide for how long it will keep.

The burgers can be mixed and formed into patties, then kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

 

How to store leftovers

Cooked turkey burgers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.

They can also be frozen. Let them cool to room temperature, then wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap. Place in a freezer-safe container or baggie and freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Reheat in a low oven, on a skillet over low heat (covered) or in the microwave.

 

Making sure these are Paleo & Whole30 ground turkey burgers

To make sure these are Paleo and Whole30-friendly turkey burgers, do not serve on any kind of buns (not even gluten-free buns).

Serve them on lettuce cups like I suggest or just eat them with a fork and knife.

And make sure all other ingredients are compatible.

Also, the balsamic aioli (if using Whole30 compatible avocado oil mayo) and pickled red onions are both Paleo and Whole30 compatible.

 

Keto Turkey Burgers

Each keto turkey burger (without toppings) has 3.6g of carbs and 1g of fiber, so their net carbs is 2.6g, making them a keto-friendly option.

 

What to serve with Paleo Italian Turkey Burgers

  1. Grilled Cabbage Steaks (Paleo, Whole30)
  2. Sweet Potato Salad (Paleo, Whole30)
  3. Broccoli Bacon Salad (Paleo, Whole30)
  4. Tomato Salad with Deconstructed Pesto

 

Other recipes you might like:

  1. Turkey Meatballs with Parsnip “Spaghetti” (Paleo, Whole30)
  2. Grilled Italian Platter (Paleo/Whole30 options)
  3. Smoky Grilled Pork Tenderloin (Paleo, Whole30)
  4. Grilled Steak (Paleo, Whole30)
  5. Ground Chicken Tacos (Paleo, Whole30)

 

Whole30 turkey burgers on a white platter and on lettuce cups on a white plate topped with mayo, pickled red onions and chopped basil
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Italian Turkey Burgers (Paleo, Whole30, keto)

These Italian Turkey Burgers are a fun and easy dinner! Olives, sun-dried tomatoes and dark meat turkey help keep these burgers moist and juicy, especially when served with pickled red onions and balsamic aioli. You can make them on a grill, stovetop grill pan or skillet. And they're gluten-free, low carb, keto, Paleo and Whole30 friendly!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time12 mins
resting time10 mins
Total Time42 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: ground turkey, healthy burger, keto burger, low carb burger, paleo burger, turkey burgers, whole30 burger
Servings: 6 burgers
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

For the pickled red onions

  • 1 red onion
  • red wine vinegar (as much as necessary, depending on the size of the container)

For the burgers:

  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, dry-packed or packed in extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground turkey, preferably dark meat, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil (optional, if using a skillet)
  • iceberg, Boston or butterhead lettuce

For the balsamic aioli

  • ½ cup avocado oil mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions

For the pickled red onions:

  • Slice off the root ends of the red onion, slice the onion in half through the roots and peel the onion. Thinly slice both halves into half moons.
  • Add the slices to a mason jar or glass container. Ideally the onions will just barely fit. Fill almost all the way with red wine vinegar (the amount of vinegar you need depends on the size of the container) then screw on the lid. Let this sit for at least 30 minutes but it can sit in the fridge up to 3 weeks.

For the burgers:

  • If using dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, put them in a small bowl and submerge with very warm water. Let them sit for 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
    If using oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, pat them dry.
    Either way, once the sun-dried tomatoes are ready, chop them into small pieces (not a fine dice, but not large chunks).
  • In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, Italian seasoning, salt and garlic powder, then the drained and chopped olives and the chopped tomatoes. Mix with your hands, wooden spoon or spatula until everything is evenly distributed.
  • Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions: pat the mixture into a flat slab in the mixing bowl and use your hand to divide it in half. Then divide each half into 3 sections that look like pizza slices. Form each portion into a burger patty, roughly 3/4" thick.
  • Heat a grill, grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. If using a skillet, add the avocado oil.
  • Add the burgers (if using a grill, close the grill) and cook for about 5-7 minutes per side, until they reach 165°. Don't touch them while they cook! Just let them sear until they're ready to flip.
  • Let them rest for 10 minutes.

For the balsamic aioli:

  • While the burgers cook, make the balsamic aioli by stirring the balsamic vinegar into the mayo in a small bowl.

To serve:

  • To serve, lay down a few lettuce leaves, then the burger, aioli, pickled red onions and chopped fresh basil. Top with more lettuce leaves and dig in!

Notes

Each keto turkey burger has 3.6g of carbs and 1g of fiber, so their net carbs is 2.6g, making them a keto-friendly option.
Substitutions and variations
If you can only find light meat ground turkey or the package doesn't say what kind of turkey it is, that's fine, you can still use it.
You can use ground beef (4 minutes a side for medium rare) or ground pork (5-7 minutes per side) in place of the ground turkey.
You can use ground chicken in place of the ground turkey but be very careful not to overcook it as it dries out easily.
You can use black, green or any other pitted olive you like.
You can add fresh herbs to the ground turkey mixture.
If you want to make spicy burgers, add red pepper flakes.
These burgers are also good served with ketchup and/or your favorite mustard.
Make ahead
The pickled red onions can be prepared up to 3 weeks in advance and kept in the fridge.
You can add pickled red onions to so many things: salads, chicken, pork, beef, eggs, vegetables, etc.
The balsamic aioli can be made and kept in the fridge. Use the expiration date on the mayo jar as your guide for how long it will keep.
The burgers can be mixed and formed into patties, then kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
How to store leftovers
Cooked turkey burgers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
They can also be frozen. Let them cool to room temperature, then wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap. Place in a freezer-safe container or baggie and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the fridge.
Reheat in a low oven, on a skillet over low heat (covered) or in the microwave.

 

 

 

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