Ever just really want something and know you will not be satisfied until you have it? That was today. I wanted a sloppy, greasy patty melt dripping with caramelized onions and thousand island dressing. Enter Turkey Patty Melt and Homemade Thousand Island Dressing.
What's on a patty melt?
Patty melts consist of a cooked burger patty topped with Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and typically Thousand Island Dressing. The burger is served on rye bread which is grilled (like a grilled cheese) until cheese is melted. In short, it is a sloppy, perfect burger.
How to make a turkey patty melt healthy
For these healthier patty melts, we are using turkey burgers as the burger. If you follow WW but prefer beef burgers, I suggest picking up 96% lean beef and making smash burgers with them--a 4oz patty (raw) is only 1 extra point compared to my turkey burgers. My. turkey burgers are pretty awesome, though.
We are also caramelizing our onions with no butter, making our own Thousand Island, and using a low point Swiss cheese. The thousand island, burgers, and caramelized onions can all be made ahead, and I do that often. I'll explain a little more about that with each component.
Using ground turkey for a patty melt
I get the stigma with turkey burgers because I've had plenty of bad ones. Mine aren't bad. I eat them by choice, even if I'm not necessarily focused on eating healthy that day. You can check out the Turkey Burgers full post here, but I'll give you the brief version. I'm adding the burger recipe to the bottom of this post.
My turkey burgers are delicious and moist. They're moist because they have cheese in them. They don't fall apart, because the added breadcrumbs and egg bind them together. My seasonings are simple, but delicious making these a pretty stand out meal prep that goes with plenty of flavors.
Healthy Homemade Thousand Island Dressing
Most fat-free salad dressings have a lot of promises, but are legit gross. I think anyone who has ever dieted (or wellness-journied or whatever you want to call it) has been burned by one salad dressing promising to be delicious. I will stake my reputation on this dressing. It is 32 calories and 0 smart points for a QUARTER CUP. Disclaimer, it's a point on WW Green but still... It's delicious.
Again, I'll spare you the full story. If you like thousand island but want to be healthier, you need this in your life. Ditch the store bought bottles. Make this. Find my full Healthy Thousand Island Dressing post here if you want to read more, but I linked the recipe below.
How to make caramelized onions without butter
Caramelized onions take time, but the patience pays off. Whether you are slathering these onto a burger, mixing them into a pasta, or using them as a base for soup, they add depth and sweetness to any dish to elevate it into something indulgent. Even better, caramelized onions freeze really well. I like to make a big batch and freeze in ice cube trays for single serving patty melts or burgers.
To make 1.5-2 cups of caramelized onions, you'll need 2 lb. of onions, 1 cup of beef broth, cooking spray, and patience. Spray a pan with cooking spray and add all onions with a big pinch of kosher salt. Cook onions on medium low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the onions get a little dry (which they usually do around the 20 minute mark, add a splash of stock and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring occasionally and adding a splash of stock until onions are reduced by about 75% and a rich, golden brown.
Assembling turkey patty melts
For the assembly of these wonderful diner-inspired burgers, I slice a piece of Pepperidge farm marble rye down the middle for the bread. In the same cast iron I cooked my burgers, I:
- Sprayed the pan with cooking spray
- Put the bottom slices down like grilled cheese. For an extra crispy crust, you can spread a tbsp. of light mayo on the bread.
- Spread a tablespoon of dressing, a
tablespoonof onions on the bread. Topped it with a burger and one slice of Sargento Ultra Thin Baby Swiss (1 point) or Jarlsberg Lite Swiss slices (also 1 point and found at Trader Joes and other locations). Another tablespoon of onions and dressing followed by the second half of bread.
- Flip that bad boy and watch everything get all melty and gooey. Just try and not eat this straight out of the pan. I didn't even get a good picture of all of them. Without even using a plate! I just have this glorious picture of my gloriously messy turkey patty melts seconds before devouring.
- 6 slices of marble rye bread, cut in half
- 6 original turkey burgers, cooked (recipe below)
- 1.5 cups caramelized onions
- 3/4 cup of thousand island dressing + more for dipping (recipe below)
- 6 slices thinly sliced Swiss cheese
- cooking spray
- 2 lb. yellow onions
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 cup of beef, chicken, or vegetable stock
- Spray a pan with cooking spray and add all onions, a big pinch of kosher salt.
- Cook onions on medium low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- If the onions get a little dry, add a splash of stock and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Continue stirring occasionally and adding a splash of stock until onions are reduced by about 75% and a rich, golden brown.
- Spread 2 tbsp thousand island dressing on the bottom slice of rye bread, add your turkey burger, cheese, ¼ cup caramelized onion, and top slice of bread.
- Spray the top slice of bread liberally with cooking spray, and pan fry until crispy. Spray the other side of the sandwich, flip, crisp, and serve.
Assemble & Cook Turkey Patty Melts
- 1 pound 99% fat-free ground turkey breast
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp Trader Joe’s Spices of the World 21 seasoning salute (or your preferred seasoning blend)
1. Combine ingredients in a bowl.
2. Divide into 6 patties (they puff up, so don’t worry if they seem small). Wet hands make this easier.
3. Grill or pan fry for about 7 minutes or until the burgers reach an internal temperature of 165°.
Yield:6 turkey burgers
Serving Size:1 turkey burger
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 121Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 555mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 20g
- 2 cups Fat-Free Greek Yogurt, Fage Brand
- 1/4 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise, Light
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/4 cup Skim Milk or Unsweetened Cashew Milk
- 1/4 cup Ketchup
- 6 tbsp Sweet Relish, No sugar added
- 1 tbsp Hot Sauce
- 2 tsp Kosher Salt
- Mix ingredients together in a bowl.
- Let it sit in the fridge (covered) for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.
Use chopped kosher dill pickles as a replacement if you can't find no sugar relish
Serving Size:1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 32Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 359mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g