A Prickly Treat for Picky Eaters

Try this recipe for Porcupine Sliders

If you’re searching for a recipe that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters, this prickly treat may be what you’re looking for. Porcupine Sliders take a delicious turkey burger slider recipe and add brown rice, giving the patties a prickly look—just like a porcupine.

A grand-prize winner at a recent Minnesota school cook-off challenge, the recipe comes from the USDA’s Cookbook for Childcare Centers. Meant to be served as an entrée, Porcupine Sliders are healthy, mouth-watering turkey burgers, high in protein, with just the right amount of spices and a kick of sweet cranberries, all served on whole-grain rolls. Students put their heads together in the school kitchen, mixing and matching ingredients to find the perfect blend.  Porcupine Sliders are a delicious, nutritious and appetizing way to get kids to eat healthy. The simple ingredients and easy preparation make them a favorable choice for a quick menu idea that even the pickiest kids will enjoy!

Ingredients (makes 25 sliders)

1 3/4 cups water

3/4 cup brown rice, long grain, regular, dry

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1/2 cup onions, diced

1 1/2 cups celery, diced

2 Tbsp. garlic, minced

3 1/2 pounds ground turkey, raw, lean

1 1/4 cups whole egg, liquid

1 1/4 cups dried cranberries, chopped

5 ounces fresh baby spinach, chopped

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp ground black pepper and 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper

25 mini whole-grain rolls (1 ounce each)


  1. Combine water and brown rice in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until water is absorbed, about 30-40 minutes. Fluff. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Heat oil. Sauté onions, celery and garlic for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Combine turkey, eggs, cranberries, spinach, Worcestershire sauce, salt, peppers, brown rice, and onion mixture. Mix well.
  4. Portion into patties using a No. 8 scoop (about 1/2 cup) onto a parchment lined sheet pan (18” x 26” x 1”) lightly coated with pan release spray. For 25 servings, use 1 pan.
  5. Bake: Conventional oven: 350F for 18 minutes. Convection oven: 325F for 14 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK. 
  6. Serve on mini whole-grain rolls. If desired serve with lettuce, sliced tomato, red onions and condiments. Serve 1 slider. Calories: 247 per slider.
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Anna Boudreau
State Advisory Council Chair, Natural Resources Steward and NH Coverts Cooperator