Lamb mince is usually denser and easier to work with than other meats and this makes it faster to pull together burgers on a weeknight. If you’re feeling extra organised, you can make these burger patties ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze (or try this alternative Big Batch version for members in the UnYucky Cooks Club).
I’ve called the yoghurt sauce kid-friendly for a few reasons and I realise it’s a bold claim: I understand that your own rugrats might feel differently! However, many children have been raised on unsweetened yoghurts and won’t find the tang of Greek yoghurt unusual. Also, it’s a sauce that kids can make easily themselves from a fairly early age and that’s always a good beginning on getting new flavours accepted. Finally, while a more traditional sauce might include minced garlic or shredded cucumber, this is a very simple mix with a little lemon and salt. Encourage them to try and tell you how it could be adjusted (see Kids in the Kitchen tips below)
You can play around with the flavour balance in these burgers – I’m pretty sure you’re going to make them more than once! Chopped fresh mint is a great addition to both the burgers and the yoghurt sauce (see Notes) and crumbled feta cheese really sets off the lamb patties too.
Kids in the kitchen tips
- there are some easy measuring jobs in this recipe, and opportunities to smell the spices as they are used
- set up a tray or platter with all the burger components so everyone can build their own at the table
- yoghurt sauces are best when mixed to individual tastes so this is a great chance to ‘pinky dip’ or use a teaspoon and roll a tiny taste around in your mouth to see if it’s good. Does it need a little more salt? A drop more lemon?
Serves 4 adult sized burgers or large pita pockets. Halve or quarter the patty size for younger children before cooking, as a big burger can be intimidating and go to waste. See Portion Distortion. Leftover patties are brilliant in lunchboxes.
Greek Lamb Burgers with kid-friendly yoghurt sauce
- Oil for frying
- 800 g lamb mince (ground lamb)
- 1 tbsp ground oregano
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- ½ bunch fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (ideally fresh made or panko)
- 2 ripe salad tomatoes sliced
- 1 cucumber sliced
- soft lettuce leaves (eg butter, mignonette, gem)
- ½ red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
- ½ lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 bread rolls or pita pockets
- Optional - mint sauce, extra lemon quarters, and any other condiments your family likes
- Place a large frypan on medium heat and add a glug of oil to warm through. Set a sheet of baking paper on a plate for the shaped patties.
- Put the lamb, oregano, cumin, salt, egg and breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl. Wet your hands (see Notes) and combine everything with turning and squashing motions that will bind the mix together in a few minutes.
- Make divisions in the bowl for the number of patties you need to help you keep track of sizes (eg, push into quarters for four large burgers).
- Keeping your hands wet, shape the patties by rolling a section into a ball then squashing flat and slapping a few times from palm to palm (see Notes). Aim for a diameter a little larger than your bread rolls as they will shrink slightly in cooking.
- Begin cooking when all patties are shaped and on the baking paper. Add them to your frypan and turn up the heat to medium high. Cook about 5 minutes on each side.
- While cooking the first side, mix the three ingredients of the yoghurt sauce together in a bowl for serving.
- While cooking the second side, slice the tomato, cucumber, lettuce and onion thinly and place on a plate with tongs for serving.
- Serve the burgers, salad plate, yoghurt sauce and bread rolls on the table and encourage everyone to build their own.
- If mix feels too dry you can add a second egg or a tablespoon of the yoghurt.
- If too wet, add more breadcrumbs or a tablespoon of flour.
- The ‘wet hands’ instructions are important and will make the whole process faster. If your work surface is near the sink, use the tap and shake off the extra. If not, put a wide mouthed cup or glass near the bowl and dip fingers in regularly, wiping water over hands.
- If you really can’t bear touching the mince, use a large spoon and be vigorous!
- Slapping each patty a few times helps to seal the exterior and they will keep their shape much better in the pan. This works for any minced meat.
- If you’ve got fresh mint, oregano or coriander, try adding chopped leaves to the mince and/or the yoghurt sauce.
- If you love garlic, add it to both the mince mix and the yoghurt to your taste.