Go bold with burgers – make these juicy, spiced-up lamb burgers with tangy feta-yogurt sauce and fennel slaw.
Devouring a great burger has to be the most satisfying way to eat a complete meal with your hands (okay, I realize that’s arguable).
Everyone loves a burger; it’s the iconic (American) sandwich. I like to make and eat them because their construction — layers of ground protein, sauces, condiments, vegetables and bread — are open to so many creative variables beyond basic beef and ketchup.
Lamb makes fantastic burgers.
Lamb’s earthy flavor pairs so well with spices and seasoning, making it a fun reason to experiment with stuff in the spice cabinet. For some reason lamb consumption in the United States is among the lowest compared to other countries in the world — an interesting story for another day.
Middle-Eastern fragrant spices are a natural partner with lamb, especially shawarma spice blends, associated with Eastern Mediterranean street cooking. They contain a range of spices that vary from mix to mix, but most all have a base of the “sweet” ones like allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon, often associated with cakes and cookies in European culture.
I mix up a small batches of my own shawarma-style blend to make these burgers, and it comes in handy to spice up other meats I like to grill too, like pork, beef and chicken.
I highly recommend that you make a batch of my simple green sauce to put on these, which makes them insanely delicious, I promise!
Lamb Burgers with Shawarma Spice, Feta and Fennel Slaw
Yield makes 4 burgers
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ pounds ground lamb
- 1 small onion
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons Greek-style yogurt
- 1 small fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced or shaved
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 burger buns or small pita, split and toasted
- Lettuce leaves and sprouts
- Thinly sliced cucumber
- Simple green sauce (recipe here); optional but delicious!
- Stir the cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, allspice and nutmeg together in a small bowl to blend.
- Put the lamb in a large bowl. Grate the onion on a box grater and add to the lamb. Add the spice mix. Blend well with your hands or a large fork and form into 4 patties.
- Stir the feta and yogurt together in a bowl.
- Toss the fennel in a bowl with the lemon juice, olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Grill or broil the burgers until cooked to your liking. Serve the burgers on buns or pita, topped with some of the feta-yogurt sauce, fennel slaw, green sauce, lettuce, cucumber and sprouts.