Hawaiian Turkey Burgers


*Note: I have recently learned that letting ground meat marinate in fresh pineapple juice too long completely breaks down the connective tissues, leaving you with mush. Make sure to only marinate these patties for the time listed if using fresh juice. Canned juice should not have the same effect.

These burgers are my version of the teriyaki pineapple burgers we used to enjoy prior to understanding that “teriyaki” meant soy and sugar. Instead, I use a combination of pineapple juice and coconut aminos to flavor the patties, and top them with grilled pineapple and a mango salsa.

If you’re not familiar with them, coconut aminos are a gluten/soy/grain free soy sauce substitute that is made from the sap of a palm tree and mixed with sea salt. Although they are made from “sugar,” they are fermented and the sugar from the sap is used up in the process. Because of this, they have a low glycemic index and are low in carbohydrates, which means that consuming them doesn’t give your blood a big glucose spike. The flavor is unique and isn’t quite a true match for soy sauce, but it does the trick when you don’t have any other alternatives.

The verdict is still out as to whether coconut aminos are SCD legal or not. To make the coconut aminos, the sap is fermented, so much (if not all) of the sugar has been utilized in the fermenting process and is no longer present. It’s unfortunate that people following a strict SCD protocol have no one to help keep the book updated with things that are prevalent now and weren’t available back when the book was written in the 90’s. I find it odd that the book/website hasn’t even been updated with the importance of organic produce or grassfed meat! That being said, if you do follow SCD to a tee, keep in mind that the book doesn’t veto or give the thumbs up to coconut aminos. You can add a little extra sea salt to the burgers if you decide you’d like to omit them.

Paleo/Primal people – have at them! Mark Sisson did a little blurb on them in his “Is It Primal” series and seems all is well in caveman land! We enjoy a lot of Asian food, so I personally use them all the time. Especially in all of my Thai Dishes.

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Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

AUTHOR: Danielle Walker - AgainstAllGrain.com



  • ⅓ cup pineapple juice
  • 2½ tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (omit for nightshade free)
  • 3 pounds ground turkey, dark meat
  • 1 pineapple


  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup baby tomatoes (sub papaya for nightshade free)
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt


  1. Mix together the pineapple juice, coconut aminos, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, salt and red pepper flakes. Add the ground turkey and knead the sauce in with your hands. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine all of the salsa ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until roughly chopped. Refrigerate to let the flavors meld while you wait for the meat to marinate.
  3. Peel, core, and slice the pineapple into rounds. You will only need 6 slices, so keep the rest in the fridge to snack on!
  4. Preheat a grill to medium heat. Form patties with your hands from the marinated turkey meat.
  5. Grill the patties for 4-5 minutes on each side, until they have an internal temperature of 180 degrees F.
  6. Remove the patties and tent loosely with foil while you grill the pineapple.
  7. Grill the pineapple rounds for 1 minute on each side.
  8. Serve the burgers over lettuce (or on my Grain-free Buns) topped with Mango Salsa and a piece of grilled pineapple.
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  • Melissann

    Looks fabulous! Am trying to figure out a diet that might help my combination of Crohn’s (mostly in remission) and Endometriosis (a daily nightmare) and your site is giving me a lot of wonderful ideas that I really appreciate. Will definitely buy your book when it comes out! As a question, I often use Bragg’s Amino Acids. Have you tried those? Just wondering how similar they are to the coconut ones; I often use them in place of soy sauce in cooked recipes though it tastes awful if just eaten plain (e.g.-with sushi dipped into it).

    • Against All Grain

      Thank you so much, I’m so glad! I don’t use then because they’re not fermented.

  • Ashley

    I just recently discovered your website and this is the first recipe I made. I am sorely disappointed with my results and dinner was uneatable. I’m not sure what happened, but we were unable to form patties since the meat was too soft and gloppy. So then we were just going to cook the meat in ground/crumbled form. The soft texture still showed through and the meat was never right. I only let the meat sit for 4 hours in the refrigerator and didn’t over mix. I don’t know what went wrong. Now that we have 2+ pounds of left over nearly uneatable meat, I hope I can cover up the texture in a marinara sauce. Has anyone else have this happen?

    • Against All Grain

      I’m sorry and even more sorry that this was the first recipe you made from my site! As you will see in many of the comments, I usually get rave reviews! This recipe is fairly old and I think the problem is the marinating time and type of juice. If you use fresh pineapple juice, the enzymes in the juice go to town on the meat fibers and end up over tenderizing it and turning it to mush as you described. I had this happen once with ground beef burgers. I used canned for this recipe and should have noted that, as the canned variety generally is void of the enzymes. If you use fresh, 30 minutes tops should be enough. I apologize that you have inedible meat and I will make a note on the recipe for future use.

      • Marnie

        I made these yesterday. Used canned juice and marinated for 4 hours. It was mush! I had to put scoops on a cookie sheet and flatten then freeze for them to actually look like patties. I’m thinking I’m going to have to cook these from frozen patties and hope they don’t fall apart in the cooking process.

  • Marilyn

    Is it just me, or my computer,, or is your Print button not functioning? I have not had any trouble in the past, but the last couple of times I’ve tried to print a recipe, I get nothing.

    • Against All Grain

      Not just you! The plugin I use is not functioning properly. Working with them to get it figured out

    • jules

      I’ve been working around that by saving as pdf, then printing

  • carolynn

    I made these last night. They came out amazing. I used 85/15 ground turkey meat and canned pineapple juice and all but one of my burgers stayed together without incident. I think keeping them cold right up until they went on the grill helped. I used my own mango salsa recipe since I already had some made in fridge so I can’t review that, but the turkey burgers with pineapple- excellent!

  • Jessica

    These were yummy. :)