Chicken Burgers with Sage Pesto


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The pesto in this recipe is not made with the traditional basil, rather with fresh sage and parsley leaves to enhance the poultry. The pesto can be made one day ahead and kept refrigerated.

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  • Sage Pesto:
  • 1/4 C. plus 2 Tbs. lightly packed fresh sage leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 2 Tbs. lightly packed fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 C. plus 2 Tbs. pine nuts
  • 1/4 C. plus 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea salt) to taste
  • Burgers:
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken
  • 1/3 C. dried bread crumbs
  • 1/3 C. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
  • 2 Tbs. Garlic-flavored olive oil or other olive oil
  • 4 onion rolls or hamburger buns, split
  • 2 Tbs. mayonnaise

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To prepare the pesto: In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, chop the sage, parsley, garlic and pine nuts. With the machine running, drizzle the olive oil in a thin, steady stream through the feed tube. Add the cheese and salt to taste, and process briefly to combine. The mixture should be nearly a smooth consistency. Let sit at room temperature before serving. Preheat or prepare a grill for medium heat. While the grill heats, prepare the burgers. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, bread crumbs, milk and salt. Gently form the mixture into 4 patties about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. The patties should hold together firmly, but don't compact them or handle them any more than necessary. Rub each side of the patties lightly with the garlic oil. Grill the burgers uncovered for 12 to 14 minutes total. Grill each side twice, rotating the burgers to get crisscross grill marks. When ready, the burgers will be medium brown, crisp and fully cooked inside. While the burgers cook, toast the rolls at the edges of the grill, if you wish. To serve, spread the mayonnaise on the bottoms of the rolls, and place a burger on each one. Spoon the pesto on generously and top with the roll tops.

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