April 6, 2012

Lamb Burgers with Minty-Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Easter time lamb burgers

Easter is one of those holidays where families come together to celebrate, often around an impressive spread.  Growing up, my family used breakfast time to establish a long running tradition of enjoying Cinnamon Apple Muffins in the morning while hunting down candy colored Easter eggs and combing through the basket the Easter Bunny had left us.  (Remind me to share those muffins with you next Easter, will you?)

chopped cucumber

So in the spirit of tradition, I wanted to create something for Easter dinner this year, something that Jon and I could enjoy together, something that was rooted in Easter tradition.  Though I've never personally enjoyed leg of lamb or rack of lamb or even lamb chops for Easter dinner, lamb is something I've always associated with this particular holiday.

New Zealand lamb

I considered going the way of leg of lamb, but that seemed a little too fancy, and a lot too gluttonous for just Jon and I.  I thought about perhaps braising some lamb shanks, but I figured those might be too difficult to find (they're not). So what I decided was the best fit for Jon and I, on our first Easter dinner together, was lamb burgers.  It's casual, relatively simple to make and it can be cooked outside on the grill so that Jon and I could simultaneously enjoy the Arizona sunshine and a few cocktails poolside.

mint-cucumber yogurt sauce

I did some research and came up with what I think is one tasty burger.  I paired it with a mint and cucumber yogurt sauce, because, well, what is more traditional than lamb accompanied by mint?  This way, however, it has my own little spin on it.  The burgers are full of flavor and have that unctuous taste that can really only be delivered by lamb- a flavor profile that I am becoming quite obsessed with lately.  So if you're looking to indulge in a casual tradition this Easter Sunday, lamb burgers just might be the way to go.  Serve it along side some freshly grilled, sweet corn and a glass of crisp, white wine. Oh, and some chocolate eggs too.

juicy lamb burgers

Lamb Burgers
Recipe by Karlie

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 lbs ground lamb
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped mint
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 fresno chile, minced
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cumin
1 egg
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 buns or rolls of your choosing (we used onion and poppy seed buns bought individually from the bakery section of our supermarket)
sliced tomato
butter lettuce
pea sprouts
Mint-Cucumber Yogurt Sauce (see recipe below)

1. Heat your grill to about medium heat- charcoal or gas, your preference.  Now go inside and heat a medium sized pan over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil and after a minute or two add the onion and sauté until slightly golden, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

2. In a large bowl, add the lamb, cooled onions and the rest of the ingredients, garlic through salt and pepper. With your hands, dig in and mix everything together until it all looks evenly distributed, but be careful not to over mix the meat. Divide the meat into four sections, then shape and flatten into patties.

3. Place the patties on the grill and cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side, depending on the degree of doneness you prefer your burgers. Slather one side of each bun with the Mint-Cucumber Yogurt Sauce.  Top with a lamb patty, tomato slice, butter lettuce and pea sprouts. Take a big bite and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings

Mint-Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
Recipe by Karlie

1 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt
2 tsp chopped dill
1 tbsp finely chopped mint
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cucumber peeled and chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Place the greek yogurt in a strainer thats covered with a layer of paper towel and set on top of a bowel. Let the yogurt strain for about 20 minutes.

2. Place the yogurt, dill, mint, garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth and blended. Stir in the cucumber and season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!


  1. Gorgeous photos! And those rolls look really delicious :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by Nicole! Glad you enjoyed the post!