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Turkish Lamb Pita Burgers

Source: © EatingWell Magazine
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Active Time:  1 Hour
Total Time:  1 Hour
  6 servings
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.

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.
1/3 cup  bulgur (see Ingredient Note)
1 cup  boiling water
2 teaspoons   whole coriander seeds
2 teaspoons  whole cumin seeds
3/4 cup  nonfat plain yogurt, preferably Greek (see Ingredient Note)
1/4 cup  finely chopped scallion greens
1/4 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
1 1/2 teaspoons   freshly ground pepper, divided
2 cups  diced tomato
1/2 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
1/2 teaspoon   cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon   salt
1/4 teaspoon   ground allspice
Pinch of   ground cinnamon
6   whole-wheat pita breads, warmed

Ingredient Notes:
Bulgur is made by parboiling, drying and coarsely grinding or cracking wheat berries. Don’t confuse bulgur with cracked wheat, which is simply that—cracked wheat. Since the parboiling step is skipped, cracked wheat must be cooked for up to an hour whereas bulgur simply needs a quick soak in hot water for most uses.

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 3/4 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.
Turkish Lamb Pita Burgers Recipe at
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.

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.

Combine 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture with yogurt, scallion greens, 2 tablespoons parsley, mint, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Combine tomato, red onion and oil in another small bowl.

Preheat broiler (see Grilling Variation). Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.

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 1/2 inch thick.

Place the patties on the prepared broiler pan. Broil, turning once, until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165 degrees F, 8 to 10 minutes total.

Slice open the warmed pita breads. Fill with 2 burgers, about 1/3 cup tomato mixture and 2 generous tablespoons yogurt sauce each. 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 degrees F, 8 to 10 minutes total.

Recipe reprinted by permission of © EatingWell Magazine. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 10/01/2008
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Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   6 servings
Calories: 546
Fat. Total: 20g
Protein: 32g
Carbohydrates, Total: 60g
Fat, Saturated: 6g
Fiber: 11g
Cholesterol: 102mg
Sodium: 653mg
% Cal. from Fat: 33%
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