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Cheddar and Spinach Pesto Chicken Burgers are a unique burger for summer grilling and a fun twist on the traditional barbeque fare.

Cheddar and Spinach Pesto Chicken Burgers are a unique burger for summer grilling and a fun twist on the traditional barbeque fare.

I cannot tell you how excited I am for the warmer weather finally arriving here in upstate NY.  It is pretty much an understatement to say we had an extremely long, harsh winter.  On the bright side, I guess it makes you appreciate the warmth and sunshine even more!  I am overly excited about grilling season.  This time of year is my favorite to fire up the grill and come up with tasty summer dishes.  Everything tastes better on the grill, doesn’t it?

Stuffed Cheddar Spinach Pesto Chicken Burgers on the grill.

These Cheddar and Spinach Pesto Chicken Burgers are the latest deliciousness to come off of my grill and my new favorite “healthier” burger.  Even my beef-loving self had to admit that I would prefer these chicken burgers to traditional cheeseburgers any day of the week.  They were easy to make, fancy looking, a great alternative to the typical beef burgers, and went perfectly with a chilled bottle of this delicious Rueda Verdejo wine.  I had a feeling that this wine would be the ideal pairing for these burgers.  I was right!  I love it when that happens.  Both varieties of wine were so perfectly smooth and are a definite new favorite of mine.

Ribera y Rueda Spanish wine

I was so excited when the Ribera y Rueda wine showed up at my door.  How many people can say they had wine delivered right to their doorstep?  It was a happy mail day, indeed.  For 2,000+ years, winemakers from Ribera and Rueda – located in northwest Spain and only about an hour away from Madrid – have harvested what’s new and what’s next in every vineyard and vintage they produce.

Spinach, Garlic and Onion Pesto for burgers.

What the pesto should look like after processed.

Pesto Chicken Burgers before going on the grill.

The Rueda Verdejo (white grape varietal) that I served with these Cheddar and Spinach Pesto Chicken Burgers is bright, crisp and creative. The Rueda wine region climate is simply perfect for the Verdejo grapes that flourish there; hot days and cool nights.  They are recognized as the #1 white wine market leader in Spain – pretty cool!

The Ribera del Duero Tempranillos (red grape varietal) are bold, rugged and ripe with a natural fruitiness and deep flavor.  In the Ribera del Duero wine region are hot summers, frigid winters and a rocky, rigid terrain, which makes for a pure paradise for the Tempranillo grapes grown there.  They are ranked the #2 red wine in Spain overall and named the 2012 Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast!  Again, super cool.

A Glass of Rueda Spanish White Wine

I look forward to plenty more warm spring and summer days sitting outside enjoying a nice BBQ (specifically these Cheddar and Spinach Pesto Chicken Burgers) and a glass of this wine.  You can learn more about Ribera y Rueda, wine pairings, a wine-themed playlist, and product locator here.  Enjoy and happy grilling season!

Cheese and Spinach Pesto Ground Chicken Burgers that are a healthy recipe for summer grilling!

Cheddar and Spinach Pesto Chicken Burgers
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: grilling
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5 burgers
Cheddar and Spinach Pesto Chicken Burgers are a unique burger for summer grilling and a fun twist on the traditional barbeque fare.
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • Pesto:
  • 5 oz. fresh baby spinach
  • ½ small white or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 green onions, roughly chopped
  1. Place Pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it is a nice pesto consistency, not a paste (pictured above). This only takes a few pulses.
  2. Mix the ground chicken with the Panko, cheese, chili powder, lemon juice, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar until well incorporated. Mix the pesto into this mixture (I use my clean hands to do this). Form into patties. This will make 4 or 5 depending on size.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours (if possible) before grilling to give the flavors a chance to really come together. Grill burgers over medium-high heat, flipping once until desired doneness is reached. You can also cook these on medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet if it's not grilling weather or if you don't own a grill (a few minutes on each side). Serve on hamburger buns with garnishes of your choice. I used cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce and lettuce.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Recipe source:  inspired by

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