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Weekend Recipe: Lamb Pita Sandwiches with Tzatziki Sauce

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What we have here is an entire meal, all wrapped up in one recipe. And in one pita. America's Test Kitchen has this sandwich outlined from start to finish, modified for home cooks. Enjoy!

A pita sandwich filled with tomatoes, small clumps of feta cheese, lettuce and small patties of meat, with a white sauce in the background.
Lamb Pita Sandwiches with Tzatziki Sauce

Lamb Pita Sandwiches with Tzatziki Sauce
Serves 4
For Tzatziki Sauce
1cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced fine (about 1/2 cup)
3/8 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves or dill
Vegetable oil for cooking grate

For Lamb Patties
4 (8-inch) pita breads
1/2 small onion, chopped coarse (about 1/3 cup)
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 pound ground lamb

Accompaniments
1 large tomato, sliced thin
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 cup)

For the Tzatziki Sauce: Line fine-mesh strainer set over deep container or bowl with 3 paper coffee filters or triple layer of paper towels. Spoon yogurt into lined strainer, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine cucumber, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and lemon juice in colander set over bowl and let stand 30 minutes.

Discard drained liquid from yogurt. Combine thickened yogurt, drained cucumber, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic, and mint in clean bowl.

For the Patties: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until very hot, about 15 minutes. Scrape grate clean with grill brush; dip wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Leave primary burner on high and reduce other burner(s) to medium-high.

Cut top quarter off each pita bread. Tear one quarter into 1-inch pieces, and discard remaining three top quarters. (You should have about 1/4 cup pita pieces.) Process onion, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, and pita bread pieces in food processor until smooth paste forms, scraping down sides of workbowl as necessary, about 30 seconds. Transfer onion mixture to large bowl; add lamb and gently mix with hands until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 4 equal pieces and roll into logs. Gently flatten logs into rectangular patties, about 1/2 inch thick, 2 1/2 inches wide, and 7 inches long.

Place patties on hotter side of grill. Cook, with lid down, turning once using spatula, until well browned and crust forms on each side, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer patties to plate. While patties rest, place pita in single layer on hotter side of grill. Cook, turning once, until each pita is thoroughly warmed and faint grill marks appear, 30 to 40 seconds. Remove pita from grill and wrap tightly with aluminum foil.

Using soup spoon, spread 1/4 cup Tzatziki Sauce inside each pita. Put 1 patty in each pita and top with tomato slices, 1/2 cup shredded lettuce, and 2 tablespoons feta. Serve immediately.

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