Open Faced Turkey Burgers on a Portabello Bun

Ah, the dog days of summer! It happens every year sometime between the 4th of July and Labor Day – seemingly endless stretches of days with 90′ temperatures. With the hot days come many trips to the pool, the ever present aroma of sun screen in the air, and lazy cookouts in the warm twilight hours. When I think of grilling, my mind instantly drifts to these images – and no daydream of summer cookouts would be complete without some sizzling burgers on the griddle.

Hayley and I came up with this healthy take on the classic hamburger a few weeks ago during one of our relaxing beach weekends. The idea was to take the bun fully out of the equation, and substitute it with a hearty portabello mushroom cap (a BIG one). We also decided to use lean ground turkey for the burgers, though one could have also used a lean beef mix or even a grilled chicken breast. As we often say, let your taste buds be your guide. The turkey burgers are finished off with some familiar faces: big pieces of crisp lettuce, a hearty tomato slice, and a thick grilled slice of onion. No top “bun” is needed here – your mouth will be hard pressed to fit around this stack of goodness as it is.

We also made some sweet potato fries to go with the meal (what is a burger without fries, anyway?) We got a bag of fresh, cut sweet potato spears from Trader Joe’s, seasoned them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and baked them in the oven. It was very simple!

We were also fortunate to have some fresh, homemade pickles with our meal. Hayley’s dad has pickled cucumbers for a few years now, and his homemade pickles this year were outstanding! It was a lucky coincidence that he called us to pick up a jar the evening of making these burgers. They were the perfect accompaniment to the meal! So here is our take on the quintessential summer favorite: Open faced turkey burgers on a portabello bun.


  • 1lb lean ground turkey (makes 3-4 burgers)
  • 1 large portabello mushroom cap per burger desired
  • 1 large tomato, sliced thick
  • 1 onion, sliced thick
  • Lettuce


  1. Preheat grill on high
  2. Wash and cut up vegetables (slice tomato and onion to about 1/4 inch)
  3. Form turkey into approximately fist-sized patties. Feel free to mix in chopped onions, salt and pepper to your taste. Montreal steak seasoning is also tasty on burgers.
  4. Grill turkey burgers, onion and portabello caps on high. The portabello caps only require about 2-3 minutes a side, any longer and they’ll end up a soggy mess. Note how far along the mushroom caps are in comparison to everything else:

  5. Serve with the Portabello mushroom as the base bun, and pile on the burger, lettuce, tomato and onion.
  6. Enjoy!

Primal Palate Spice Blends

Share a recipe

Upload your own recipes to Primal Palate, and help others find great food on our site,, meal planner and app!

Primal Palate Cooking Channel


    1. August 12, 2010

      SUPER clever — I usually eat my turkey burger sans-bun, so I will definitely try this!!

    2. October 21, 2010

      Those fries look SO good. Hubz and I had been reserving our tradition of french fry fridays at a local burger joint, but we're def. going to try the sweet potato version at home! How long did they bake to get crispy?

    3. October 21, 2010

      I think they were about 20-30 minutes. Hayley never really times anything (I like having times, too, so I can relate). We just typically keep an eye on them around the 20 minute mark and test for done-ness.

      We just pulled about 50 sweet potatoes from the garden last week. I need to cut one into french fries and do this (mental note to self).

      Thanks for all the great comments today!
      Hayley & Bill

    4. March 29, 2011

      Made these for my family tonight. Thought my boys would balk at the mushrooms, but they tasted them and declared them, "okay." Which is a pretty solid verdict from 4 and 8 yr olds. đŸ™‚
      Just wondering, how do you eat these? We cut them up and ate with forks. Do you eat these with your hands, or use forks? Curious. Tasted great, though. We served them with sweet potato fries, too. Always a hit. Thanks for the great recipe! We are trying your chicken and veg lo mein tomorrow night.

    5. May 30, 2011

      Had these tonight…what a great Memorial Day meal!

      But why did I never think of grilling onions over the flame before?! Can't wait to make the other mushroom "bun" later this week!

    Write a Comment

    You need to be registered and logged in to post a comment.