The best part of growing up with a strong Lebanese background is food, of course! I didn’t grow up in Lebanon or really spend very much time there as a child, but my family always taught me about the culture and especially about the food, the most important part!!
As I journeyed my way through double cultural living as an American Lebanese, I learned to meld the two together. Taking traditional Lebanese cuisine and melding into American culture. As we approach Memorial Day, we begin to think about creating delicious food to be shared among friends and family. A truly American way of bonding.
I am a big party planner!!! Our house tends to become the central ground for most summer picnics, including Memorial Day. I could easily throw some burgers on the grill but one of my favorite ways to jazz up a traditional burger is by making Kofta Burgers.
Kofta is a common Middle Eastern dish and can be prepared in a number of ways. One of my favorite is simply grilled like a burger. It shares the same burger qualities but enhanced with spices and aromatics, taking a basic burger to an elevated flavor profile.
Finding good lamb, like they have in Lebanon is easy living in the Pacific Northwest. My local New Seasons Market carries Umpqua Valley Lamb which is local, pasture raised lamb. The fresh taste can’t be beat and makes the perfect kofta burgers.
Kofta is one of the easiest Lebanese dishes to prepare. A simple combination of ground lamb (or beef), onion, tomato, parsley and all spice create the ultimate flavor. The juices from the onions rendering while being grilled creates such a juicy burger that you’ll add them to ALL your burgers! I’m always thrilled to pickup local fresh ingredients from New Seasons Market and especially love their bulk section for spices!
I’ve topped my Kofta Lamb Burgers with a yogurt sumac sauce. The tangy yogurt and lemony sumac help to balance the rich lamb flavor. Sumac is a special spice, one of my absolute favorites as it is one that is in za’atar blends. The hills of Lebanon create so much pure sumac, strong and full of flavor. It’s often times hard to find something so close to compare. New Seasons Market carries so many unique spices in their bulk department, truly offering some of the best spices to enhance food. I adore their sumac as it’s the closest I’ve found to what you can in Lebanon.
Finally, keeping with American tradition, I’ve piled these Kofta Lamb Burgers high on top of a fresh kaiser roll with lettuce, tomato, onion and a healthy drizzle of Yogurt Sumac Sauce. Or offer some Creamy Hummus for a dairy free option. Pair with this hearty Mediterranean Rice Salad for a complete meal.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and test it out at your next backyard BBQ. Elevating your burger to create something unique and special. As always, I love seeing your creations, tag me on Instagram or Facebook!! Don’t forget to Pin the recipe! XOXO, Cosette
In partnership with New Seasons market, all opinions are my own.
1 heaping tsp toum, or 1 large clove garlic mashed
1 tsp sumac spice
1/2–1 tsp kosher salt (adjust to taste)
In a large bowl, add your ground lamb, onion, tomato, parsley and spices.
Using clean hands, mix all the ingredients together until all are combined.
Begin shaping into round burger shaped patties, about 1/4 pound each. You should be able to make 6 burgers with 1.5 pounds.
Make a hole in the center of your burger with your finger, this is supposed to help with keeping the burger the same size and not shrinking.
Place on heated medium/high grill for about 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-well.
Remove from heat and assemble on your choice of bread. Add lettuce, tomato, onion, yogurt sumac sauce and even some feta cheese for an added bonus.
You may make burger patties ahead of time and freeze to prepare at a later date. Wrap individual burgers in freezer paper, pull out and grill frozen when ready. You may need some additional time on the grill.
Keywords: kofta, burger, Lebanese, Mediterranean, Memorial Day, picnic, bbq, grill