Grilled Lamb Burgers with Cucumber Tzaziki

“Never trust a skinny cook.”  It only makes sense.  Someone who loves food, lives for it, thinks and dreams about it constantly, is not likely to be wafer-thin.  At times I find myself a little too trustworthy, however, and succumb to the temptation to dabble in dieting.  There’s always some program that seems to make total sense in the beginning–no carbs, no sugar, no drinking, no fat, no animal products.  I usually make it about 7 days, and then I lose the will to live.  That squash would be so delicious with a little risotto.  That arugula would be lovely with a little feta cheese.  That grass-fed steak would sure pair nicely with a glass of red wine.  The latest trend involves no sugars, not even fruit.  Which sounds reasonable until I realize it is almost time for peaches and blackberries.  When will I ever learn?  Drippy, sweet fruit, stinky cheese, smoky charred steaks, big, fat red wine, chocolate, buttery corn on the cob, crusty, rustic breads . . . I am not willing to give an inch.  I want it all!  I stopped eating processed food and drinking sodas long ago to make room for everything I truly love.  And maybe there’s a tiny bit too much of me, at least by conventional fashion standards.  But instead of counting calories, I’m just cultivating a new vocabulary: my favorite new word is the Yiddish “zaftig,” from the German for “juicy.”  Voluptuous, well-proportioned, a little plump, and, oh yeah, really happy.

Lamb Burgers with Cucumber Tzaziki

2 slices rustic white bread

1/2 c. milk

1 pound ground lamb

4 spring onions, minced

1 clove garlic minced

handful fresh mint, chopped

3 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. cumin

salt and pepper

tomato, sliced

Arugula Salad:

large handful arugula

1/2 cucumber, sliced

3 radishes, sliced

1 sping onion, sliced

2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 Tbs. tahini sauce

1/3 c. olive oil

2 pita breads, cut in half and warmed in oven

Cucumber Tzaziki:

1/2 c. yogurt

1/4 c. grated cucumber

2 Tbs. chopped mint

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt & pepper

Place bread in a shallow bowl and soak in milk.  Place lamb in a large bowl, and add minced onions and garlic, chopped mint, spices, and salt and pepper.  Drain bread and squeeze milk out.  Crumble bread and add to lamb mixture.  Mix everything together with your hands until thoroughly combined.  Fry a small patty of lamb mixture and taste for seasoning.  Add more salt, pepper, or spices if needed.  Form lamb mixture into oval-shaped patties.  Build a medium-hot fire in grill.  When coals are ready, grill lamb burgers to medium, or as desired.

While burgers are cooking, stir together all ingredients for tzaziki and set aside. Make arugula salad: squeeze lemon into a bowl, stir in tahini sauce and whisk while drizzling in olive oil until emulsified.  Add arugula, cucumber, spring onion, radish, and feta cheese to the bowl.  Toss together and season with salt and pepper.  To serve, place a burger in pita bread, dress with tomato slices and arugula salad and a dollop of tzaziki sauce.

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7 thoughts on “Grilled Lamb Burgers with Cucumber Tzaziki

  1. My oldest daughter and I recently made Lamb Burgers for her birthday … she had eaten them in South Africa with pinotage onions and we attempted to recreate them. Delicious. I’d love to try your recipe, too. Lovely photos.

  2. Your words inspire me to keep helping young adults overcome chronic dieting and debilitating eating disorders- the work I do every day. I truly believe these ideals- Slow Food ideals- can change our relationship with food, our bodies, our community, and the earth. Thank you for the profound reminder of what beauty is REALLY about!!

    • Thank you, Sara–you are so right. I don’t know how we got into such a war with food. Food is not the enemy!

  3. This recipe looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. And thank you for your words about dieting. Restricting good, healthy foods is not the answer.

    I also love the word “zaftig.” I’m going to strive to be more zaftig from now on. 🙂

  4. I shared this post with all my friends. Your writing is lovely, and you perfectly captured the thoughts always buzzing around my mind about my relationship with food…Your ideas are the ones that I want to pass along to my daughters.

  5. Pingback: Grilled Lamb Burgers | Bryan Oster Photography

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