Pesto Turkey Burger (Melt) with Caramelized Onion

Pesto Turkey melt
Yield: 3 Servings
Total Time: 0 Minutes



  • 1 Cup Grated Parmesan
  • 1 TBL + 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 6 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Basil
  • 2/3 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil


  • 8 oz Thinly Sliced Sweet White Onion
  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil


  • 1# Ground Turkey Meat
  • 2 to 3 Burger Buns, preferably Brioche or Bolillo
  • Salt and Pepper as needed
  • 2-3 slices of Point Reyes Toma Cheese
  • Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, & Mayonnaise as Desired for Burger
  • ¼ Cup Basil Pesto (from above), plus extra reserved



  1. Pick basil leaves, you want about 4 cups worth. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend till thoroughly incorporated. Transfer to a fridge safe container. Will keep for up to two weeks.


  1. Place a sauté pan on medium heat. Add oil. Once hot, carefully add onion and sweat till softening and becoming translucent. Turn heat down to low. Allow onion to start to slightly brown, then deglaze with a splash of water. Repeat this process every five minutes or so, until you onion reach a deep brown caramel color. Transfer to fridge safe container and reserve for later.


  1. Put ground turkey in a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pepper as well as the ¼ cup of pesto. Thoroughly mix ingredients together.
  2. Depending on if you are feeding 2 or 3 people, portion burgers into either (2) 8oz. patties, or (3) 6oz. patties (give or take). Form patties so that they are about ½” thick.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Preferably using a cast iron pan, heat pan over medium heat for a few minutes. Hit your burgers with a little pan spray, or olive oil before placing in your hot cast iron pan. Sear on one side for a good 3-4 minutes until a nice brown crust forms. Flip patties over and sear the other side for another 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, take pan & burgers and place in the oven for another 4-5 minutes to ensure they are cooked through. In the last minute or so, add cheese slices while still in the oven so they melt.
  4. From there its up to you how to present your burger. Place patties on toasted buns with some warmed caramelized onion. Dress the bun with extra pesto if desired or Mayo (or both). Serve with your favorite side dish and your 2019 Winemakers Lot 2 Cabernet Sauvignon!

Chef’s Notes:

Chilling your formed burger patties in the fridge or freezer before cooking with help them retain their shape.
Put thumb sized dimple in the middle of one of the sides of the burger patty. This will help it to cook evenly, and not develop the “bubble” in the middle.
Toast your buns in your cast iron, before cooking the burgers!
Time and patience are the key for good, caramelized onions. Wait for the color!
If you Toma Cheese is unavailable use a Havarti or Provolone.