alex thomopoulos


When I cook I love to have fun with my food. By recreating familiar flavors and presenting them in whimsical ways, my meals always stay different and interesting. Enter: The Kung Pao Turkey Burger.

One of my all time favorite Chinese dishes is Kung Pao Chicken. It’s rich, spicy and the peanuts add a very earthy and nutty undertone. I wanted to recreate the flavors of this dish in  burger form and see how far I could push the limits on it. It turned out absolutely perfect, it had a really nice kick, great depth of flavor and the best part is it was super simple to do. Most chefs turn their noses up at bottled pre-made sauces but I believe if you are working with a really quality product that tastes great USE IT. SAN-J has a brand of amazing sauces that I have been using in my kitchen for YEARS. By using their sauces in this recipe it sent these burgers into a different category of deliciousness. I was able to create tons of flavor in the burgers without a lot of effort!


I love SAN-J Asian Cooking Sauces because they make cooking easier without sacrificing flavor and quality to my overall dish. They are not only  gluten free and kosher but they are NON-GMO, which is important for a soy derived product. All of their sauces are made with SAN-J Gluten Free Tamari.

The major difference between Tamari soy sauce and regular soy sauce is the proportion of ingredients between soybeans and wheat. San-J Tamari is made with 100% soybeans with no wheat, whereas regular soy sauce contains 40-60% wheat. While the sodium level of San-J Tamari and regular soy sauce is about the same, the higher concentration of soybeans in San-J Tamari gives a richer, smoother, more complex taste than regular soy sauce. Tamari soy sauce can be used in the same way as regular soy sauce. Unlike regular soy sauce, Tamari flavor does not flash off under high temperature.

For my burger patties, I used the SAN-J Szechuan sauce. It’s very rich, full bodied and SPICY, just how I like it:) No respectable Kung Pao Chicken is complete with out peanuts, so I created a peanut slaw to go on top of the burger using SAN-J Thai Peanut sauce. YASSSS! The flavor in this burger is INSANE! The citrus kick in the slaw brightens the whole dish up and plays with your tastes buds. Am I eating Chinese food or a burger?! What is happening?!

I hope this recipe inspires you to play with your food, to use some help when you need it and to stretch your imagination when it comes time to make your next meal.

You can purchase SAN-J SAUCES at your local health food store or online! Click here to check them out. 

Print Recipe


(serves 4)

  • Burgers:
  • 1 lb organic dark turkey meat
  • 3 tablespoons SAN-JSzechuan Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon SAN-J Gluten Free Organic Reduced Sodium Tamari
  • 2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, finely grated
  • 2 scallions, chopped fine

    Teriyaki Sauce:

  • ¼ cup SAN-J Gluten Free Organic Reduced Sodium Tamari
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup honey or agave

    In a small pot whisk soy sauce, water, and cornstarch together until smooth. Heat over medium heat until warm and then whisk in honey until dissolved.

    Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and whisk until desired thickness. If it get’s too thick add a bit more water. Adjust with more soy sauce, or honey according to your taste!

    Peanut Slaw:

  • ½ head purple cabbage
  • 2-3 tablespoons SAN-J Thai Peanut Sauce
  • Juice and zest of 1 large lime
  • 2 teaspoons agave or honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Avocado
  • Chopped roasted peanuts
  • Chopped scallions

  1. To make the slaw combine the shredded cabbage, SAN-J Thai Peanut Sauce, lime zest and juice, honey and salt in a bowl and let it sit for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat a grill pan or skillet on medium high heat.
  3. In a large bowl mix turkey, SAN-JSzechuan Sauce, SAN-J Gluten Free Organic Reduced Sodium Tamari, garlic, ginger and scallion until combined. Divide and form the meat into 4 even patties.
  4. Brush the outside of the patties with oil so they won’t stick. Cook 4-5 minutes on one side, flip the burgers and cook for another minute each side, add a few tablespoons of water to the grill pan or skillets and put a lid on top or a piece of foil. This will steam the burgers and keep the turkey burgers  or until cooked through. After the water has evaporated remove the lid and let the burgers finish cooking.
  5. Toast your favorite hamburger buns and assemble.

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