Turkey Fontina Sliders with Zucchini, Mushrooms and Carmelized Onions

I hadn’t eaten red meat in 18 years. A bad hamburger in my teen years had done me in. I suspected Hubs’ disappointment when he met me. On paper I looked good, but the fact I was a vegetarian, he wasn’t sure how that would shake down…for him. You can imagine his shock when after several years into our vegetarian marriage he walked in one day with an In-and-out Burger and I snatched it out of his hands and stuffed it in my 5 months pregnant face. He was shocked. Shock turned to dismay when he realized he was stuck with In-and-Out’s “grilled cheese” which is a sad excuse for a veggie burger.

In the span of 15 seconds, I went back to eating red meat. Neither of us saw it coming. In my last pregnancy I couldn’t even be in the same room with someone cooking meat. I ate bean, rice and cheese burritos 27 days in a row. How had this happened? How would my system tolerate this? So I waited with dread…

Then around dinnertime, when I decide my body wasn’t going to reject me or the burger,  I drove back to In-and-Out and ordered a double-double “animal style”. Clearly, I was breeding a carnivore.

Hubs loves to tell this story. He usually brings it up when we are out with friends for dinner at a steakhouse and I order my steak “rare-plus”. He finds such amusement in my turnabout.

Which is why recently, when I pushed my “black and blue” steak around my plate, not really eating it, I had to confess to Hubs that my venture into the carnivorous world may be near its end. I can’t explain how or why but recently I’ve been noshing on far more bean, rice and cheese burritos than hamburgers.

So in an effort to keep Hubs from breaking down into tears at the prospect of his red-meat days ending in our house, I created this healthy burger option. Because ground turkey is so lean it often cooks up to a leathery shoe. I found that adding grated zucchini and mushrooms which have high moisture content add a very desirable texture.

Plus it’s a burger full of veggies and the kids love them.

Turkey Fontina Sliders with zucchini, Mushrooms and Carmelized Onions

After 2 attemps on the bbq with this recipe, I  feel they are best cooked on an indoor grill pan on the stove, or a nonstick griddle or a George Foreman style machine.

1 lb ground turkey

2 medium or 1 large zucchini

4 oz mushrooms

2 Tbl. Majestic Garlic Paste

1 large yellow onion

1 tsp butter

Slice Fontina Cheese (Trader Joes)

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

In a food processor (or with a box grater) grate zucchini and mushrooms. In a large bowl for mixing, add ground turkey, grated zucchini, grated mushrooms and 2 Tbl. Majestic Garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Make into 1 doz small slider sized burgers. Can refrigerate up to 4 hours in advance.

30 minutes before dinner, slice onions. Add 1 tsp butter to a saucepan to melt. Add onions, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium low heat for about 5-10 min. When onions start to brown reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. If onions stick to pan, deglaze with a little wine or beer or water, scrapping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Cook sliders on grill pan over medium heat until cooked through. Add fontina and melt. Slice Hawaiian rolls in half. Top slider with carmelized onions. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 doz sliders

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