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Grilled Lemon Pesto Chicken Burgers

It's officially grilling season and, as always, I'm loving it! You can't beat the flavor that the grill adds and it typically means an easier after dinner clean up. I often find myself searching for something new to grill rather than the same old burger. These chicken burgers are fresh, light, and packed with nutritional benefits, making them great for a hot summer night.

Ground chicken on the grill can be a bit finicky. To keep your burgers from sticking and falling apart, be sure to lightly oil them on each side before placing them on the grill. The pesto mixed in makes them quite flavorful. You will have leftover pesto, so feel free to drizzle it over the top of the burger for a boost of flavor.

Nutrition Notes:

  • Chicken: These burgers use dark meat chicken which means they are a good source of protein and fats. Be sure and choose a high quality chicken to get the most benefit from the fat.

  • Walnuts: Loaded with Omega 3 fats and antioxidants.

  • Lemon: Provides Vitamin C and antioxidant power to boost immunity and decrease inflammation.

  • Spinach: Also anti-inflammatory, high in iron, potassium, magnesium, and b-vitamins. It really is a powerhouse. Fun side note: Lemon can actually aid in the absorption of iron so they make for a great pair!

  • Garlic: Another great source of manganese, b6, and vitamin c. It's true power comes from it's sulfur containing compounds that provide anti-inflammatory properties, aid in digestion & detoxification, boosts the immune and endocrine system. Not to mention the amazing flavor!

  • Basil: Packed with flavonoids that help protect the body on a cellular level. The oil from basil provides anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory support. It's also high in Vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin C, and Folate.

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Lemony Pesto Chicken Burgers



1 Lemon, Zested and then Juiced

1/4 C Walnuts

1 C Basil

1 Cup Spinach

1/8tsp Sea Salt, fine

2 Cloves Garlic

1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1lb. Ground Chicken (I used dark meat)

1/4tsp Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

1/2C Pesto

Avocado or Coconut Oil for brushing over the top of the patties


1. In the bowl of a food processor, add juice of lemon, walnuts, basil, spinach, sea salt, and garlic. 2. Turn food processor on to low and slowly drizzle in olive oil, until combined. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

3. Once combined, add reserved zest of lemon, and pulse to incorporate.

4. In a medium sized bowl add your ground chicken, sea salt, pepper, and pesto. 

5. Using your hands gently mix ingredients together until combined.

6. Make uniform patties and set on a plate.

7. Drizzle avocado oil over the top of each patty and gently rub evenly (or brush) over the top of patty. 

8. Turn patties over and repeat.

9. Grill over medium heat, about 5 minutes each side.

10. Serve with a drizzle of pesto over the top.

*Note: Extra pesto? Drizzle over your morning eggs!


Basil. (n.d.). Retrieved June 20, 2020, from tname=foodspice&dbid=85

Garlic. (n.d.). Retrieved June 20, 2020, from

Jeong YY, Ryu JH, Shin JH, et al. Comparison of Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects between Fresh and Aged Black Garlic Extracts. Molecules. 2016 Mar 30;21(4):430.

Blomhoff, R., Carlsen, M. H., Andersen, L. F., & Jacobs, D. R., Jr (2006). Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants.The British journal of nutrition,96 Suppl 2, S52–S60.

Griel, A. E., Kris-Etherton, P. M., Hilpert, K. F., Zhao, G., West, S. G., & Corwin, R. L. (2007). An increase in dietary n-3 fatty acids decreases a marker of bone resorption in humans.Nutrition journal,6, 2.

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