Lamb Burgers with Red Onion-Cumin Sauce

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Lamb patties are as appealing as beef, particularly when seasoned with allspice. Spoon gently spiced creamy yogurt sauce on top, then add sliced tomato. Serve with chips and a vegetable salad.


  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Coarse kosher salt, to taste, plus 1 tsp. 
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 lb. ground lamb
  • 3/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 4 pita bread rounds, each 6 inches in diameter, or 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Baby spinach leaves for serving


In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, one-third of the onion, the cumin and cayenne. Season with salt and black pepper. Set the sauce aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the lamb, allspice, the remaining onion, the 1 tsp. salt and a generous amount of black pepper and mix gently to blend. Form the lamb mixture into 4 patties, each 1/2 inch thick.

Heat a large fry pan over medium-high heat and brush the pan with olive oil. Add the lamb patties and cook, turning once, about 5 minutes per side for medium, or until done to your liking.

Meanwhile, if using hamburger buns, preheat a broiler. Brush the cut surface of the buns with olive oil. Broil, cut side up, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

If using pita bread, cut about 1/2 inch off one side of each round and place a lamb patty in each pocket. If using buns, place a bun bottom on each of 4 warmed plates. Top each with a lamb patty. Spoon some of the yogurt sauce over each patty, then top with a couple of tomato slices and a few spinach leaves. If using buns, cover each with a top bun. Serve immediately and pass additional sauce at the table. Serves 4.

Quick Tips: Both the lamb patties and sauce can be made a day ahead; cover and refrigerate them until it’s time to cook. The yogurt sauce is also delicious spooned over chicken or as a dressing for potato salad.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd (Williams-Sonoma, 2011).

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