Turkish Lamb Pita Burgers

Turkish Lamb Pita Burgers

1 Review
From: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2008

Heavy on exotic spices, this decadent sandwich is a great way to familiarize yourself with the joys of Turkish cooking. Lean turkey blended with lamb lightens the mix. Stuff the patties into warm pita bread or roll the mixture into meatballs and serve with the yogurt sauce on the side as an hors d'oeuvre.

Ingredients 6 servings

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Original recipe yields 6 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • ⅓ cup bulgur, (see Ingredient Note)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • ¾ cup nonfat plain yogurt, preferably Greek (see Ingredient Note)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped scallion greens
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 2 cups diced tomato
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces ground lamb
  • 4 ounces 93%-lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 6 whole-wheat pita breads, warmed


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Combine bulgur and water in a small bowl; let stand until the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain any excess liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, heat coriander and cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until they begin to pop and are fragrant and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a small bowl to cool, then crush in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  3. Combine 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture with yogurt, scallion greens, 2 tablespoons parsley, mint, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and ½ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Combine tomato, red onion and oil in another small bowl.
  5. Preheat broiler (see Grilling Variation). Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.
  6. Place the reserved bulgur, the remaining spice mixture, the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and the remaining 1 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add lamb, turkey, yellow onion, egg, garlic, cayenne, salt, allspice and cinnamon. Gently combine, without overmixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 12 equal balls, then form each into an oval patty about ½ inch thick.
  7. Place the patties on the prepared broiler pan. Broil, turning once, until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, 8 to 10 minutes total.
  8. Slice open the warmed pita breads. Fill with 2 burgers, about ⅓ cup tomato mixture and 2 generous tablespoons yogurt sauce each.
  9. Grilling Variation: To grill the lamb patties, preheat a grill to medium-high. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the patties, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, 8 to 10 minutes total.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Store the toasted spices (Step 2) in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Cover and refrigerate the yogurt sauce (Step 3) for up to 3 days.
  • Ingredient Notes: Shopping Tip: Bulgur is made by parboiling, drying and coarsely grinding or cracking wheat berries. Unlike cracked wheat, it simply needs a quick soak in hot water for most uses. Look for bulgur in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets, near other grains, or online at kalustyans.com or buylebanese.com.
  • Greek-style yogurt is made by removing the whey from cultured milk. Removing the whey gives it an extra thick and creamy texture—making it the perfect ingredient for a lower-fat dessert topping. You can strain regular yogurt to make it thick like Greek-style yogurt. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. (Alternatively, use a coffee filter lined with filter paper.) Spoon in 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt and let it drain in the refrigerator until reduced to ¾ cup, about 2 hours.
  • Tip: To oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray.

Nutrition information

  • Per serving: 567 calories; 23 g fat(7 g sat); 11 g fiber; 64 g carbohydrates; 28 g protein; 46 mcg folate; 84 mg cholesterol; 9 g sugars; 3 g added sugars; 966 IU vitamin A; 19 mg vitamin C; 127 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 648 mg sodium; 699 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (32% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 1 fat

Reviews 1

January 02, 2011
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By: janillb
Very Tasty These have gone over well with everyone, enough spice/taste to appeal to those who like it, while not overdoing it for those who like things on the milder side. Pros: Yummy Cons: Some work to assemble
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