Michelle's Turkey Burgers with Lemon Mayonnaise


Spike Mendelsohn first made turkey burgers for the Obamas at the 2009 Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn. He then created a version for the First Lady; at Good Stuff, he serves it with Swiss cheese and calls it the Michelle Melt. A portion of all proceeds goes to DC Central Kitchen, which helps feed the homeless. More Top Chef Dishes

Michelle's Turkey Burgers with Lemon Mayonnaise
Photo: © Pernille Pedersen
Total Time:
45 mins
4 servings (8 for kids)


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Granny Smith apple

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1 small canned chipotle in adobo, minced

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey breast

  • 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped thyme

  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted

  • 4 iceberg lettuce leaves

  • 4 tomato slices


  1. In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add the sliced onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and softened, about 25 minutes. Transfer the onion to a bowl. Wipe out the skillet.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in the skillet. Add the celery, apple and scallions and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the chipotle; let cool. Stir in the turkey, parsley, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Shape the mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties.

  3. In the skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the burgers and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until no longer pink inside, 10 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the remaining 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, the lemon juice and chopped thyme and season with salt and pepper. Spread the lemon mayonnaise on the top halves of the buns; set the burgers on the bottom halves and top with the caramelized onions, lettuce and tomato. Close the burgers and serve.

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