Is it Monday?

Tilapia Burgers with Watermelon Salsa + Avocado I

I’m not sure. I have no idea. I lost all track of time yesterday because as I was attempting to get my fill of trashy weekday reruns, my husband clicked to his full DVRed queue of Duck Dynasty. Duck Dynasty?, I thought. Oh cool. Maybe it’s something like The Mighty Ducks. Like a final Mighty Ducks movie that I never got to see. Man I loved those movies. I totally knew Pacey was hot before like, Pacey was hot. 

Anyway? This whole Duck Dynasty thing? Definitely not the Mighty Ducks. I mean, definitely. I am scarred. For life. And shockingly this is SOMEONE”s favorite show. Like so favorite, that he references it constantly and quotes it 63 times a day. I feel like I’m living inside Duck Dynasty, besides the whole… well… just google it.

Tilapia Burgers with Watermelon Salsa + Avocado I

One of the only tasks I managed to accomplish was making a healthy lunch, and I was hopeful that it would lead to leftovers for some dinners this coming week. The temperature has been warm here, like summery warm, like TOO summery warm because you know it’s too good to be true and next week it will be like 36 degrees outside. But who cares. Live in the moment! We were craving something fresh but filling, something wholesome but fun.

A few weeks ago I picked up some mahi mahi burgers at Whole Foods and honestly… have been eating them like they’re going out of style. I was super hesitant at first but I ended up LOVING them. So much so that I ate one every single day last week. Mostly covered in guacamole. Sometimes covered in BBQ sauce. Next time covered in crispy onion straws. And I’ve been wanting to make them myself but here in, um, tropical Pittsburgh, I don’t always have the easiest access to that fish. It takes planning and strategy and patience to find that fish, all qualities that do not enter my brain.

Tilapia Burgers with Watermelon Salsa + Avocado I

I was afraid the tilapia would be weak in flavor and too light for a burger, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I pulled inspiration from my BBQ salmon burgers and simple crab cakes, hoping that a mesh of the two would lead to big taste. These burgers are in a word – hearty. We both thought the texture nearly resembled ground chicken or turkey and while the flavor was bursting, it is mild and neutral enough to take on another topping. Like say, ketchup. Which you know my husband was just dyyyyying to squirt on top.

Tilapia Burgers with Watermelon Salsa + Avocado I

But after I begged him to try it with the salsa stacked on top, streaming with lime juice and crunching with crispness, that red condiment stayed firmly in the fridge. That is huge.

That says… well, everything.

Tilapia Burgers with Watermelon Salsa + Avocado I

Tilapia Burgers with Watermelon Salsa + Avocado

makes 6 burgers

1 1/2 pounds fresh (or frozen and thawed) tilapia

2/3 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs

1 large egg + 1 egg white, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 avocado, sliced

1 cup cubed watermelon, chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

the juice of 1 lime

whole wheat buns

Add tilapia to a food processor and pulse until chopped. Transfer to a bowl and add egg, panko, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder and basil. Mix until combined, then form tilapia into patties (form tightly with your hands, trying to prevent cracking). Heat a skillet oven medium heat and add half of the olive oil, then cook patties until golden on each side, about 3-4 minutes. Repeat with remaining burgers.

While burgers are cooking, combine watermelon, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice with a pinch of salt. Once burgers are ready, serve on toasted buns with avocado slices and salsa on top.

Tilapia Burgers with Watermelon Salsa + Avocado I

And then I accidentally on purpose deleted the entire DVR.

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139 Responses to “Tilapia Burgers with Watermelon Salsa + Avocado.”

  1. #
    Quiche-ing Queen — May 7, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

    What a combo! I would have never thought of it myself. I want to try this right now.


  2. #
    Ashley @ Hudson on the Potomac — May 7, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

    YUM! I am definitely trying this! Always looking for new ways to eat fish!


  3. #
    Sarah @ The Cyclist's Wife — May 7, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

    Wow, these look so good! That salsa is a brilliant combo, I can’t wait to try them!


  4. #
    Krystle — May 7, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

    If it makes you feel any better my boyfriend is OBSESSED with Duck Dynasty too! Unfortunately for me he has taken his obsession to new heights, growing a full on beard [much to my protests] in hopes of it getting as long as the guys on the show. So I know how you feel, you’re not alone. WARNING: watch out for Storage Wars, and Shipping Wars on A&E and Moonshiners on Discovery! Kudos on ‘accidentally’ deleting :)


  5. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — May 7, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

    Avocado and watermelon together? What a great combination!


  6. #
    Mary — May 7, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

    You are in Pittsburgh?!? This just adds another reason to why this blog rocks. If you ever need a guinea pig I would gladly make the hour drive from Youngstown. Especially of there is booze involved!


  7. #
    Hilliary@Brunch and Cupcakes — May 7, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    These burgers look divine! I am loving the watermelon salsa, perfect for summer!


  8. #
    luv what you do — May 7, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

    Those burgers have my mouth watering!
    I have never tried the mahi mahi burgers at WF, but I will look for them. Although I’m sure yours are even better!


  9. #
    Kara — May 7, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    These sound so delicious! Where do you buy your whole wheat buns? They look so perfect and fluffy! Haha


  10. #
    Erin @ Cookies in Gym Clothes — May 7, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

    Yum. I absolutely cannot wait to try these! They look amazing!!


  11. #
    OliePants — May 7, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

    Talk about layers of flavors! I have some tilapia that I would love in sandwich form! Great recipe.


  12. #
    Colleen @ Culinary Colleen — May 7, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

    That salsa is beautiful! Sounds just perfect with the tilapia burgers.


  13. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — May 8, 2012 @ 1:26 am

    These sound absolutely fabulous Jessica!


  14. #
    Villy @ For the love of Feeding — May 8, 2012 @ 5:35 am

    It looks delicious! What a great salsa idea!


  15. #
    Nicole, RD — May 8, 2012 @ 6:42 am

    These sound so refreshing…especially that salsa!


  16. #
    Jennifer — May 8, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    I’ve never tried a fish-based burger, but this looks and sounds great. I think I’m definitely going to give this a try.


  17. #
    Kim in MD — May 8, 2012 @ 7:25 am

    Yum! This looks like an awesome fish burger!


  18. #
    idiosyncratic eye — May 8, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    That looks absolutely incredible and watermelon and avocado sounds inspired. :)


  19. #
    Stacey — May 8, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    I conveniently had tilapia laid out yesterday for supper so I whipped these up. I didn’t use any mustard (or substitutions) and was too lazy to do the watermelon salsa. I did however put some avocado on top. They were SO good and it was hard not to eat all 6! Thank goodness for leftovers. I won’t lie… it was a little weird putting the fish in the food processor :)


  20. #
    Felicia — May 8, 2012 @ 9:53 am

    This sounds amazing, I’ll be trying it for my family this week. thanks!


  21. #
    carey — May 8, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

    I love Duck Dynasty! I actually got teary eyed on the last one I watched. But then, I grew up out in the country where most folks could easily substitute for the brothers on the show. It’s a whole other world that the city-folk will probably never understand, but a friend of mine sums it up like this: “We hunt. We fish. We believe in God.”


  22. #
    Diane | An Extraordinary Day — May 8, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

    This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it!
    I pinned it! And I shared it on FB at Longaberger Lifestyle.


  23. #
    Eve — May 8, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

    There are few things on your blog that I’m not tempted to make right away, but when I saw this recipe in my Google reader last night I knew I HAD to make this for dinner tonight. On my way to the store now to get some limes. :D


  24. #
    Michele Sparrow — May 8, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

    Hello, Jessica. I read your blog daily and love it! Have made a number of these recipes, but made the tilapia burgers tonight and my two teenage boys and hubby absolutely LOVED them. Super score! Thanks for the delicious recipes. They are all simply outstanding!


  25. #
    Audrey — May 8, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

    Made these for dinner tonight, and I can honestly say, this is the best use of tilapia I’ve ever seen!


  26. #
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction — May 9, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

    When I first saw this post in my inbox – I was a little skeptical, but after heading over here, I am sold. Adding to next week’s menu plan!


  27. #
    Felicia C — May 9, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

    I made no substitutions nor did any improvising and these burgers were amazing!!! My whole family loved them and my kids are picky eaters. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, I know it’s gonna be a summer favorite ;)


  28. #
    Lauren — May 9, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

    You are, by far, my most favorite food blogger. Your recipes are always delicious, and your dialogue cracks me up! Can’t wait to try these. :)


  29. #
    79 — May 10, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    Looks amazing… Very nice presentation…


  30. #
    Trenise — May 11, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

    Made these last night and OMG delicious. Thinking of variations…meatballs…some sort of pasta. I’ll let you know what I come up with!


  31. #
    Courtney Mariabravada — May 13, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

    My dad and I made these together for Mother’s Day lunch today. We followed the recipe exactly, and everyone thought they were fantastic. The salsa was really good, but I’ll probably skip it next time (to save a little time and money), because I think the burgers would be just as tasty with regular burger toppings. Thanks for the recipe! We absolutely loved it.


  32. #
    Jane — May 17, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

    I made these for dinner tonight, and they were delicious!! I didn’t have the salsa, so we topped the burgers with guacamole, and spicy chipotle mayo! Really great!


  33. #
    Jen — May 25, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

    mmmmmmmm – just made these for lunch for our surprise guests! So good! The burgers were fluffy?!! Not sure I did it wrong or if you’re just amazing.
    Loved the salsa (although the avocados I bought were bad so I didn’t get to include them – still delicious without!)
    Thanks for another stellar recipe that will definitely be made MANY times this summer!


  34. #
    Alexia — May 26, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

    I’m new to your blog… and Wow!!! Watermelon + Avocado is BRILLIANT!!! I can’t wait to make this! Perfect Spring/Summer salsa. I’m already thinking of what others things I can pair with it! ;-) BTW great photography :-D


  35. #
    Emily — May 27, 2012 @ 12:56 am

    Definitely making these on Monday for Memorial Day. Yum! But… two TABLESPOONS of mustard? Okay, I trust you.


  36. #
    Dan McCullough — May 27, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    Yes, this is getting made. I’ve had a bunch of tilapia in my freezer for awhile and I’ve been wondering what to do with it. Thanks for the inspiration.


  37. #
    Gwen — May 28, 2012 @ 11:13 am

    Can’t wait to make these! I might swap tilapia for cod, which we already have in our freezer. I’ll be using plain Panko instead of seasoned — should I add extra seasoning to make up for it?


    • Jessica — May 28th, 2012 @ 11:31 am

      I think that will be fine – maybe add a few shakes of italian seasoning… I’m sure it won’t hurt!


  38. #
    Esther — June 5, 2012 @ 12:14 am

    Made these tonight and they were AWESOME. So much flavor. I did strawberry salsa at the last minute instead of watermelon because my watermelon turned out to be disgusting, and it worked wonderfully! I want to try watermelon next time though.


  39. #
    Esther — June 6, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

    I made these tonight using flounder–they were delicious! I’m excited to try new combinations.


  40. #
    lauren — July 4, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

    in the directions, you say add half of the olive oil, but i don’t see olive oil in the list of ingredients. did i totally miss something?


  41. #
    Jenny g. — August 23, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

    wow. made these last night, soooo good! THESE burgers are a 10!


  42. #
    Krystyne — May 23, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

    Haha totally loved your “tropical Pittsburgh” line. That could NOT be more true!! But gotta love it though :) And I feel like I’m going to love these burgers too!


  43. #
    elikapeki — May 26, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

    Made these today on the grill. By far the best seafood burger I have ever had!


  44. #
    Rachel — June 14, 2013 @ 8:11 pm

    The husband and I grilled these tonight. Aaaaaaaaamazing. Thanks, jessica! Also, made pineapple — rather than watermelon — salsa and, oh my stars, so good.


  45. #
    Heather Smith;) — August 14, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

    I made this a few weeks ago. I think it was one of the most delicious recipes I’ve ever used. I even used this in my OAMC menu. I made the salsa, let in sit in the fridge for two days (letting the flavors really mix), and then froze half cup portions. The patties I made and wrapped in wax paper, before popping them in a ziplock to freeze.

    Take your portions of salsa and patties out of the freezer the night before, put them in the fridge, and the next day, it’s like eating them freshly prepared! Absolutely love this recipe!!!! Yum!!


  46. #
    Megan — October 15, 2013 @ 7:11 pm

    I made these tonight and my husband was chomping at it like a greezy hamburger. no words needed – witnessing him with mouthfuls of these burgers was good enough. It was a last minute decision so I didnt make the watermelon salsa but instead served it with chipotle mayo, salsa, and avocado. So dang good.


  47. #
    Donna Ogden — April 27, 2014 @ 10:43 pm

    Amazing! I added a tsp. of dill, just cuz I love it


  48. #
    Chantelle — May 20, 2014 @ 7:15 pm

    This looks so delicious! My boyfriend and I are trying to get into eating fish more often & ironically enough just picked up some fresh Tilapia. Unfortunately, my boyfriends allergic to dairy products, along with eggs! So it can make things hard sometimes. Is there anything I could use in replacement for the eggs in this receipt?


  49. #
    Ali — July 23, 2014 @ 8:54 pm

    Great recipe! Easy, healthy, and yummy for a warm summer night!


  50. #
    Jack — August 14, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

    This recipe looks super yummy, I love using avocado’s in my cooking so this recipe will go down a treat!



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