Cousin Annie’s Spanikopita Turkey Burgers

As I embrace the life of a full-time student, with a full-time-student hubby, living across the country from family… I find myself busier than ever, even a little irrationally stressed at times, but still thriving.  My life is going at a much faster pace than when we were in Georgia, but I’m confident that our quality of life is still high because we manage to eat healthy and exercise!  That being said, my creativity and time to experiment with new recipes has slipped a bit, but not at the expense of happy tummies in the Carroll household.

This recipe is amazing for the following reasons:

1. it is insanely delicious reminds me of family/Greek Easter

3. it is comforting (physically and emotionally)

4. it is incredibly easy and fast to make (hooray for mid-week meals!)

5. it is packed with 3 cups of frozen spinach and yet still kid-tested and approved!  …and I quote: “Do you like it?” “mmm Meat!!”

Part of me wishes that I could claim that this recipe is Paleo, but let’s be honest, these scrumptious turkey burgers are a play on Spanikopita.  Spani is a filo dough stuffed full of spinach and a feta cheese/cream cheese mixture.  Delicious, certainly, but a dish that will never be Paleo either.  If you are interested in making Spani, take the time to make it – it is very easy, I promise!  In my family, food is love, and some splurges are not only worth it but necessary.  This recipe evokes the memory of Spani, in a healthier, protein-packed “meat sandwich” (as my friend’s son calls it).  My cousin Annie is to be credited for the original recipe!  She makes these the Saturday before Greek Easter, and they have become a wonderful part of the weekend’s tradition!  I was so lucky that she shared the recipe with me, and every time I make them I feel at home.

I made a few tweaks to her recipe to save me some time and work, and varied the amount of ingredients until I was satisfied that the flavors were on point with my food memory.  I also used coconut oil instead of olive oil to saute the veggies and the burgers, and its mild flavor really allows the individual ingredients to shine.

By adding the frozen spinach directly into the pan of onions, it eliminates the need to defrost and then squeeze all of the water out of the spinach!  I got this idea from watching the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network, and it is genius.  I add the spinach once the onions have started to soften, and then it only takes a few more minutes to defrost the spinach, and the water evaporates quickly!  Another benefit to sauteing the vegetables is that they create a great “glue” to hold the burgers together AND completely eliminate the risk of biting into an undercooked onion! 

Even though these are technically burgers, Taylor and I enjoy them without a bun.  They are amazing by themselves, accompanied by a sweet potato, or on a spinach salad – even with an egg over-medium at breakfast time!  They also go extremely well with my Paleo Tzatziki or traditional tatziki.  I have made this recipe at least once a week for over a month, and we aren’t sick of them yet.  Additionally, the ingredients are simple, and easy to have around (my freezer is now loaded with Trader Joe’s Organic Chopped Spinach).  Moreover, I can whip these up (from start to finish) in only 30 minutes, making them an ideal meal for family or entertaining!  Having a family recipe that works on a tight schedule is just the best thing ever.  We can relish in the comfort of a delicious meal and in happy memories of family, any day of the week and from any kitchen I call “home.”  Hope you enjoy these burgers as much as we do!


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup (about 1/4 of a large yellow onion), diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 cups frozen organic spinach
  • 2-4 tbs coconut oil, divided (1 tbs for sauteing the onion and spinach, and cooking the burgers)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Montreal Grill Seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • hungarian paprika, to taste


  • 1. Place ground turkey in a large bowl with red pepper flakes and the Montreal Grill Seasoning, set aside
  • 2. Melt about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large saute pan on medium/med-high heat
  • 3. Place onions in pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until they begin to soften
  • 4. Add the frozen spinach and stir frequently until it has thawed completely, and the onion is transluscent
  • 5. Turn off the burner, stir in the minced garlic, then let it cool for a few minutes
  • 6. After the spinach mixture has come closer to room temperature, add the feta and the veggie mixture to the bowl of turkey meat
  • 7. Mix the ingredients thoroughly with your hands, until everything is evenly distributed
  • 8. Divide the meat into roughly 8 even sections, then form them into burgers
  • 9. Heat large saute pan with 1-2 tablespoons of oil for each batch of burgers
  • 10. Cook burgers for 4-5 minutes, then shake a small amount of paprika before flipping
  • 11. Cook for another 4-5 minutes on other side
  • 12. Enjoy!