Making lamb a little leaner for a healthier burger

06/16/2014 12:00 AM

08/08/2014 10:24 AM

Beef may claim to be what’s for dinner in America, but in the Middle East that honor often goes to lamb. It’s prepared in innumerable ways, but my favorite is when the lamb is ground, spiced and grilled, then topped with some kind of yogurt sauce and finally tucked into a pita. And that’s how we’re rolling here.

The only problem with ground lamb is that the kind available at the supermarket often is quite fatty. Generally speaking, of course, fat is where the flavor is – and the moisture. But lamb fat is saturated fat and it’s best to keep our intake of saturated fats down. Happily, lamb is packed with flavor, which means that even the leaner cuts deliver big lamb taste. What about the missing juiciness? We’ve replaced it with vegetables.

This burger remains super juicy thanks to some onions and zucchini. We caramelize the onions to optimize their flavor, and grate, salt and drain the zucchini. I used to think zucchini were boring until I discovered this trick. The burger then is seasoned with garlic, oregano and lemon, though you’re welcome to swap out the oregano for basil, dill, mint or rosemary. Lamb pairs nicely with all of them.

And if you’re not a fan of lamb, this recipe also is dandy made with beef. Whichever, please don’t skip the garlic-yogurt sauce. It’s the perfect topping to a grilled burger on a summer day.

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