Spinach Burgers ♥ a Recipe for the Grill

graphic button small size size 10 A burger laced with fresh or frozen spinach and fresh herbs. Moist and delicious, either grilled or oven-baked. Low Carb. High Protein. Naturally Gluten Free. Weight Watchers friendly. Whole30 Friendly. Paleo Friendly. Don't let me forget to mention: all that and delicious too!

Trust me please I never once imagined a burger recipe – made with meat, no less (Note to Vegetarians, the short word is the A Veggie Venture is about vegetables and mostly but not entirely vegetarian) – hitting the pixels of A Veggie Venture. But this is not only a good spinach burger, it's one great burger. They were pulled off the grill just last night but I'm rushing them into a post pronto because it's Memorial Day Weekend here in the States and heaven knows, there will be plenty of hamburgers hitting the grill over the next couple of days. If you have the chance, add this burger recipe to your summer grilling menu!

graphic button small size size 10 "I made two versions ... the meat version ... and a vegetarian version! My husband (the meat eater) thought both ... were tasty ... he enjoyed the vegetarian ones just as much!." ~ seashell


Hands-on time: 15 minutes to mix, plus grill time
Time to table: 90 minutes
Serves 4

4 ounces fresh spinach or 10 ounces frozen spinach (see ALANNA's TIPS)
8 ounces lean ground turkey (or 8 ounces beef burger)
8 ounces lean ground sirloin (or another 8 ounces beef burger)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley or fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper

MIX Mix all the ingredients, being careful not to overmix the ground meat, work it as little as possible. Shape into four patties.

CHILL Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for an hour (or more, one hour was good tonight) for flavors to meld and the meat's fat to re-solidify.

COOK ON THE GRILL Grill as usual, sorry, I'm not the family grillmaster so that's as much as I've got to say!

BROWN IN SKILLET, FINISH IN OVEN This is my (and the household's) favorite way to cook burgers to the perfect internal temperature. First, heat oven to 180F/80C. On the stove, heat an oven-safe skillet (some times we use a non-stick skillet, other times a well-loved cast iron skillet that's as good as well-seasoned as to function as non-stick) on medium high. Add the burgers (they should sizzle) and sear until the botton turns brown and a sort of "skin" develops, just a minute, maybe two. Flip the burgers and insert a digital thermometer and move the skillet to the oven. Cook it to the desired temperature, the USDA says that 160F/70C is the safe temperature for ground (not whole cuts) beef. Let rest for 5 minutes, that's usually the time it takes to get to the table, smoosh on some mayo, etc.

FOR FRESH SPINACH For fresh spinach, choose a sturdy spinach, not baby spinach which, sadly, just melts and goes mushy when heat is applied. Wash about 4 ounces/114g of fresh spinach well, then cut it into ribbons and sauté in a little oil, just enough to soften a bit.
FOR FROZEN SPINACH Be sure the spinach is defrosted, chopped and squeezed to release excess liquid. I often thaw a bag of frozen spinach in the fridge in a quart mason jar, just to have on hand for the week. Handy! The inspiring recipe calls for a 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, that works great.
BURGER MEAT The combo of ground turkey and ground sirloin is excellent but not one I tend to keep on hand. So now I use burger from the freezer, from a half steer we buy every year from our neighbors in the country who raise a few cattle on the adjacent property.
VEGETARIAN SPINACH BURGERS? A long-time A Veggie Venture reader who goes by "seashell" made two versions, one with meat, another vegetarian. Her meat-eater husband found both tasty! For the vegetarian burgers, she substituted thawed "flame broiled" Boca Burgers held together with two tablespoons light cream cheese. Yum!
WHY CHILL THE BURGERS BEFORE COOKING? This is such an important step, don't skip it! This way, the fat in the burger meat is cold when it hits the hot skillet, that helps the burger form that crusty outer edge that's so good.
SATIATION? The spinach doesn't really add flavor but seems to add moisture and volume. Does anyone else find 1/4 pound burgers on the skimpy side: I always want a second burger! A Spinach Burger, however, is really filling!
FRESH HERBS The herbs can really be tasted, try not to skip them. It's easy to snip-snip small quantities of herbs when you keep herb pots, it's my personal challenge to Never Buy Fresh Herbs Again. Mine just went into pots but the quantities are so small, snipping was no problem.
DIGITAL THERMOMETERS To make sure I don't either undercook or overcook meat, taking it to the perfect temperature, I rely on a digital thermometer. I've owned several over the years, the wire probes are always a problem – but honestly, I can't imagine cooking meat well without one. This is the model we currently own, it's from CDN and has been working fine for over a year now.
GOOD BUNS! Once you've got a good burger, the bun is extra important. I make just enough buns for dinner out of the dough for Our Daily Bread: My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe. Don't forget to warm/toast the bun!

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. lovely burgers. I love spinach and haven't cooked it this way yet. I came here through Cynthia´s blog. I am hosting Tried & Tasted event dedicated to cooking from other blogs. This month, we re cooking from Cynthia. Up for the challenge?

  2. I love the combination of beef and turkey -- turkey burgers are often so dry, so the little bit of added fat from the beef is just what's needed. And I've been on a total spinach kick lately, so this will be a must-have for the holiday weekend.

  3. AnonymousMay 25, 2008

    thanks for the timely post! we'll be trying your recipe today or tomorrow!

  4. Anything that has spinach in it like this is a wonder to me. Love the stuff. Great note on it's adding moisture to the burger. Thanks.

  5. AnonymousMay 27, 2008

    Using my WW slider thingy and the nutrition info you provided I get four points with the two grams of fiber. Unless I misread something but still it sounds great and should be yummy. Thanks for the recipe (maybe this is another way to get my carnivore boyfriend eating more veggies

  6. Hi Jasmine ~ Just FYI, the Weight Watchers 'slider thingy' always comes out higher when a recipe is on the verge of moving to a higher point value. I do the actual math so there's no judgment call, 'just the math'.

    FYI, too, my question on the nutrition was not the mechanical calculation of the points, it was on my choice of the two meat ingredients from among many many many choices in the USDA databases. The ones I chose seemed reasonable but the end result of 3 points struck me as low.

    You can see why I call these 'nutrition estimates'. Still, they're much better than nothing which is all we get from 99% of cookbooks, food magazines and even food blogs.

    Thanks for chiming in, I do appreciate it!!

  7. AnonymousMay 27, 2008

    I can't believe I never thought to mix spinach into a burger - what a fantastic idea!

  8. AnonymousMay 27, 2008

    hmm, thanks for the feedback. I know what you mean about a bazillion entries for beef, etc. It is hard to really know for sure which one to choose. I do appreciate the nutritional analysis. It saves me having to enter it in Master Cook software and then finding that the software doesn't recognize certain ingredients.

    I can't decide if my current plateau is due to the fact that I should round up more often or that based on the "slider thingy" WW is not letting me eat enough and my body is hording for these lean times. Regardless, new yummy vegetable recipes are always welcome and certainly better than me eating chocolate cookies.

  9. Plateaus are hard. I do know that it was a good six months after first losing weight on Weight Watchers that my body seemed to 'trust' that it was for the long-term. But once it did, what a difference.

    My own sense is that the body is most willing to trust intake when the calories and activity it's given are within a tight range, so varying just a few points a day.

    Keep with it. Eat lots of vegetables and really enjoy that cookie when you have one.

  10. AnonymousMay 29, 2008

    Good job! Those look tasty and nutritious. Beef and spinach, I can feel the iron. Pairing this burger up with a glass of lemonade or other drink high in vitamin C can increase iron absorption.

  11. AnonymousJune 01, 2008

    I made two versions of this recipe last night: The meat version as it appears here, and a vegetarian version! My husband (the meat eater) thought both versions were tasty and said that he enjoyed the vegetarian ones just as much!
    For the vegetarian version I simply substituted thawed out and smooshed Boca Burgers (the "flame broiled" flavor) and two tablespoons light cream cheese (to hold it all together). They turned out moist and delicious! Give it a try!

  12. AnonymousJune 01, 2008

    seashell--thanks for the boca burger idea! my daughter and I love them but rarely try them on the grill. This should keep them moist enough. We tried the meat version last weekend, and as I suspected, they were a hit.

  13. AnonymousJune 06, 2008

    I just found your site... great recipes and luv this spinach burger idea.... can't wait to try this...

    greetings from Imperial, MO jaci


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna