If you are a weight watcher like myself, recipes using lean meat are always of interest to me, especially turkey, a rich source of protein. Skinless turkey is low in fat. Turkey meat is a source of iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus. It is also a source of vitamin B6 and niacin, which are both essential for the body's energy production.

Regular turkey consumption can help lower cholesterol levels. The meat is low-GI and can help keep insulin levels stable. Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which produces serotonin and plays an important role in strengthening the immune system. It is also a source of selenium, which is essential for thyroid hormone metabolism. It also boosts immunity and acts as an antioxidant.

Here’s a ground turkey recipe with an Asian twist:

Thai Sesame Patties

5 green onions, chopped

1 c. parsley, finely chopped

5 cloves garlic, diced

2 tsp. fresh ginger, finely diced

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

1 1/2 lb. lean ground turkey

2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 egg

1/2 tbsp. sesame oil

1 tbsp. canola oil

Sweet Chili Sauce

1 c. sweet chili sauce

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1/4 c. soy sauce

1/4 c. red wine

Combine all the ingredients except for the oils in a medium sized bowl, mixing completely.

Divide the turkey mixture into 20 rounds, flattening slightly into an oval shape (an ice cream scooper is useful here for even-sized patties). Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, combine ingredients for the Sweet Chili Sauce in a small mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly.

Heat the oils in a large skillet. Add the patties and cook for about 10 minutes, turning every so often to achieve a golden color. Serve with Thai sweet chili sauce.

This dish needs a light, white palate cleanser that will alternately keep you coming back for more. Pair this with Fess Parker’s 2014 Rodney's Dry Riesling. A Santa Barbara County Riesling from Rodney’s Vineyard located on the Fess Parker estate, Wine Enthusiast gives this vintage 90 points, writing: "Orange blossoms, petrol and 7-Up aromas show on the soft but punchy nose from this single-vineyard bottling. The palate is texturally intriguing with a pithy grip, as dry flavors of tart apples, chalk and pink lemonade meld for a classic and age-worthy profile." 

Or try Lucas & Lewellen’s 2014 Santa Barbara County Riesling. These white Riesling grapes were grown in their Los Alamos Vineyard. Cool nights and mild, sunny days combine to provide a long growing season, giving the grapes plenty of time to ripen slowly and develop maximum varietal character. The Riesling grapes are hand-harvested and cold fermented to preserve their fresh flavors and aromas. This was made in the style of beautiful German Riesling, bigger, more dry and crisper with honeyed, melon-tinged, spicy spearmint and tropical cherimoya flavors typical of the vineyard.


John David Finley is a freelance writer and author of the cookbook, "Sacred Meals from our Family Table," which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at sacredmeals@comcast.net.