Harissa Lamb Burgers with Feta Tzatziki and Sumac Onions

Vanns Harissa adds spice and flavor to this Middle Eastern-inspired burger, perfect for your grill or your stovetop.

Harissa Lamb Burgers with Feta Tzatziki and Sumac Onions

Vanns Harissa and ground lamb are a match made in heaven, the earthy-sweet flavors in the spice blend perfectly complementing the slight gamey flavor of the meat. These burgers would be delicious on their own, but the addition of two condiments add great counterpoints to the richness of the meat -- a creamy, dill-spiked tzatziki, cooling with the crunch of cucumbers and jazzed up with the addition of some briney feta cheese, and some sumac onions, which add tang, crunch, and bite through the sourness of the sumac and the flavor of the raw red onions, tempered by soaking them in water first. Wrap it all up in a pita, and you have a taste of the Middle East at home in your hand!

Spices used in this recipe

Dill Weed
Salt, Kosher
Sumac, Ground
Aleppo Style Chili Flakes


Feta Tzatziki:

  • ½ lb. Persian cucumbers
  • 2 tsp. Vanns Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced fine or grated on a microplane
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. Vanns Dillweed
  • 4 oz. feta, crumbled

Sumac Onions:

Harissa Lamb Burgers:

To Assemble:

  • 4 pieces pita bread
  • Olive oil
  • Feta Tzatziki
  • Sumac Onions
  • Lamb Burgers


  1. To make Feta Tzatziki: Trim ends of cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop seeds out, and slice seeded cucumbers into thin half-moons. Place cucumber slices and kosher salt in a small bowl and toss until evenly combined. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  2. After 30 minutes, squeeze cucumbers over a colander to remove excess water. Place cucumbers back in bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients until evenly combined. Adjust salt or lemon juice as desired and refrigerate until lamb burgers are done. This dip tastes best after at least 1 hour in the fridge to allow flavors to meld.
  3. To make Sumac Onions: Place sliced onions in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then drain and rinse thoroughly. Line a salad spinner with paper towels and spin onions dry. Toss with sumac and sesame seeds and season to taste with salt. 
  4. To Make Burgers: Place lamb, Harissa, Aleppo, garlic, and salt in a small bowl and use your hands to mix until evenly combined. Form mixture into 4 4-oz. patties, around 3 inches wide and 1 inch thick. 
  5. To Cook on the Grill: Grill over high heat on a pre-heated gas or charcoal grill, flipping patties frequently, until internal temperature reaches 135°F. 
  6. To Cook on the Stovetop: Preheat a cast iron grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat, and coat all cooking surfaces with oil. When pan is smoking, add burger patties and cook, flipping frequently, until internal temperature reaches 135°F.
  7. Allow lamb burger patties to rest on a plate for 5 minutes while you grill the pita. Brush pita breads lightly with olive oil and grill over low heat until warmed and pliable. On the stovetop, use the grill pan or skillet over medium heat to warm pitas.
  8. To assemble the burgers, top each pita with a burger patty, a healthy dollop of feta tzatziki, and a small handful of sumac onions. Fold pita over and enjoy.

Serves 4.

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