Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Grilled Lamb Pitas with Mint Yogurt

Mediterranean cuisine features some of the most pleasant, inviting, down-right delicious flavors in the world. Lamb, lemon, mint, Greek yogurt, cucumber, feta…everything to love.

These pita sandwiches are filled with fresh vegetables, a creamy, minty Greek yogurt sauce, and tender grilled lamb patties that make a satisfying dinner for four—and only four ounces of meat per person, so lighter than it sounds.

If you have access to a Mediterranean market that sells freshly ground lamb, go there. It’s a beautiful place.

Freshly Ground Lamb
Tip: When recipes call for fresh “mint,” it usually means spearmint (pointed leaves) simply because this milder type of mint is most common in cooking savory dishes. Peppermint (rounded leaves) is often used in making candies, baked goods, and medicinal products. Either variety of the herb may be used in place of the other, but if you choose peppermint, use about one-quarter less the amount since the flavor is much stronger.

Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves, divided
  • 2/3 plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/3 cup panko (or other fine, dry breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 2 7-inch pitas (with pockets), cut into 4 halves
  • lettuce leaves, thinly sliced seedless cucumber, chopped tomatoes, and crumbled feta cheese, for serving
Yogurt Ingredients
Pita Toppings
Pita Pockets
Note: I grilled the pitas lightly over a direct flame before grilling the lamb. You don't need to grill them, but, if you do, keep an eye on them—35 or 40 seconds on each side is usually enough to make a few nice char marks.

Grilled Pitas
  1. Combine half the chopped mint (2 tablespoons) with the yogurt and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (may also be made a day ahead).
Mint Yogurt
  1. Prepare a grill for direct-heat cooking with off-direct-heat space.
  2. Combine the lamb, remaining chopped mint, panko, and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the mixture into 8 patties (about 2-1/2 inches in diameter) and place on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 20 minutes to help the patties set (and hold together better during grilling).
  4. Brush the lamb patties and grill grate lightly with olive oil. Grill the patties over a direct flame until lightly charred on the bottom, moving off-heat to prevent burning, as needed. Turn and continue grilling until medium doneness, 6-7 minutes total (or until desired degree of doneness).
Lamb Mixture
Lamb Patties
Lamb Patties Beginning to Grill
Grilled Lamb Patties
Open the pita pockets and divide the lettuce leaves among them. Dollop 1 tablespoon of mint yogurt inside each. Place two lamb patties in each and top with cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta. Dollop with the remaining sauce and serve right away.

Grilled Lamb Pitas with Mint Yogurt


  1. I found these on pinterest and made them for dinner. They were fabulous!

    1. Amy, thanks so much for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the pitas---definitely one of my favorite cuisines.