Turkish Lamb Burgers

These Turkish lamb burgers are flavorful, filling, and just a little bit messy, so keep plenty of napkins handy. It’s worth the mess though. The burgers are rich from lamb, slightly salty from the feta and spicy/warm from cumin and garlic. Adding mint to both the burgers and the yogurt cucumber sauce adds a fresh, cool flavor to balance out the spices.

I adapted this recipe from one I found online so long ago I can’t remember where I found it. It does require a bit of pre-planning, since the meat mixture has to sit for a while for the flavors to blend. So, it’s probably best for a weekend, rather than a Tuesday dinner. However, once that’s done, the rest of the recipe comes together pretty quickly. And, it’s practically a meal all by itself.

Make the meat mixture for the burgers first, let it sit overnight or a few hours in the fridge, and then make the cucumber yogurt sauce while the burgers are cooking.

I did make this for two servings, rather than one, because half an egg isn’t so bad, but a quarter of an egg is ridiculous, even for me. 

How to get half an egg, you ask? What you do is break the egg, beat it lightly, and then pour half of it out into a separate container.  You should end up with about 3  1/4 T of egg total.  Use half that for the burgers, or approximately 1 2/3 T (5 teaspoons). Save the rest of the egg to make a cherry tomato basil frittata or a spinach and feta omelette in a day or two.  Don’t worry if it’s not exact, we’re not baking!

I broiled the burgers in my toaster oven, and put the pita on top for a minute or so to warm it up.  If you have a grill, you could use that instead.

Serve the burgers in pita bread topped with the yogurt dill sauce, then add garnishes to suit your taste.




Turkish Lamb Burgers Substitutions and Variations

  • Garnish with some extra crumbled feta cheese
  • Top with thinly sliced red onions
  • Add sliced tomatoes and extra chopped cucumber on top of your lamb burger
  • Make the burgers with half lamb and half ground turkey (use dark meat if you can find it); or if you don’t like lamb, just use the turkey




 

More Lamb and Yogurt Recipes

Lmab keema with potatoes and broccoliLamb Keema with Potatoes and Broccoli

Familiar with shepherd’s pie? Think that, but gone to Pakistan and picked up a whole new set of spices, like curry, cumin, ginger, and turmeric.

 

moussaka without bechamelMoussaka Without Bechamel Sauce Recipe

No heavy sauce to make, fewer steps, but still delicious. This Turkish version is easier to make, only requires one pan, but still piles on plenty of flavor from spicy/warm cinnamon and nutmeg, the bite of garlic and onion, tender eggplant, ground lamb, and tomatoes.

lamb kofta meatballsLamb Kofta Meatballs

Flavored with toasted nuts, sweet/minty cardamom and earthy lamb. This dish is a feast for your eyes as well as your taste buds.  It’s also eggless and bread-free.

 

spinach lamb meatballsSpinach Lamb Meatballs

Rich with lamb, tangy vinegar, and earthy spinach. Red wine vinegar stands up to the lamb’s bold flavor, while cumin lends a warm, slightly spicy bite. The spinach adds color, and those all important vitamins and iron too.

Lemony Cucumber Salad Recipe with Dill

A lemony cucumber salad is the perfect antidote to a brutally hot day. And, with July nearly here, the temperature (at least in NY) is forecast to soar well into the 90s! This salad is cool, refreshing, and you don’t have to cook anything.  It’s also ready in about five minutes. So, it’s great when you have a bad case of the hungries and don’t want to wait a long time to eat (look further down the page for tips on making this a full meal).

I made my cucumber salad with romaine lettuce, English cucumber (the long seedless kind), fresh lemon juice, and dill.  If you use the English cucumber, you don’t have to peel it; which is a welcome extra shortcut.  I used dried dill, but fresh is even better, if you have some.

Made this way, it’s a wonderful, easy side salad, which would go nicely with some salmon in yogurt dill sauce.

On the other hand, if you would rather have a meal that’s a bit heartier,  toss in some sort of extra protein. You could add a sliced hardboiled egg,  a bit of crumbled feta or goat cheese, or even shredded leftover chicken.  With the protein, the recipe as written is enough for lunch.  If you want to have it for dinner, double the quantities of everything.




Taste the dressing before you add the olive oil and then adjust the seasonings if needed.  Adding the oil last helps the dressing emulsify (blend together better).

Lemony Cucumber Salad Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Add some sliced bell pepper
  • Garnish with freshly snipped scallions
  • Add protein (hard boiled egg, chicken, feta)
  • Vary the greens you use (try green leaf lettuce, arugula, or a salad mixture)
  • Add some chopped tomato

More Cucumber and Salad Recipes

blueberry and spinach salad with fetaBlueberry Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese and Walnuts 

Sweet summer blueberries, salty feta, and earthy spinach, with an added walnut crunch. Toss this together in a few minutes (no cooking needed).

 

israeli chopped saladChopped Israeli Salad for One Person

A refreshing side dish that’s great alongside a sandwich or even for breakfast (yes, breakfast, with some olives and pita and lebne). Delicious.

 

spicy sesame noodlesSpicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

Why bother with takeout when you can make it at home. It’s cheaper, and you know what’s in it.  The cool cucumber offsets the spicy peanut sauce.

 

peanut butter and cucumber sandwich on ryePeanut Butter and Cucumber on Rye Bread

Speaking of peanut butter and cucumber… I know what you’re thinking. This is “weird.” Maybe. But it’s also delicious. Don’t think peanut butter and cucumber, think sweet and crunchy as a foil for salty and creamy.




Cold Leftover Steak Salad with Goat Cheese and Red Wine Vinaigrette

Ever get stumped by what to do with leftover steak?  Steaks aren’t sold for one person, generally. The portions are too big!  It’s not enough for another steak dinner, and too much to toss without guilt.  You could make a steak sandwich, or try something a bit different and toss it into a steak salad.

Add some veggies, goat cheese, and a homemade red wine vinaigrette and you’ve got a delicious dinner without any cooking.  Cold leftover steak salad is the perfect solution for late summer  or busy days when the thought of turning on the stove is too much to bear.

This recipe is inspired by a steak salad on Food Network.  I liked the basic idea, but wasn’t about to buy three kinds of greens, extra red onions, or bleu cheese (since bleu cheese and I don’t get along).  I used just one kind of lettuce (green leaf) instead and swapped the bleu cheese for herbed goat cheese.

This is best with leftover steak (since it’s already cold), but you can pan fry your steak and let it rest (or chill in the fridge) while you do something else. Use the rest for a steak sandwich or in a stir fry.




 

Cold Leftover Steak Salad Substitutions and Variations

  • Add a bit of Dijon mustard to the vinaigrette
  • Go for the bleu cheese if you like it
  • Use a handful of mixed greens (or make the entire salad with them)
  • Add half a sliced scallion
  • Saute some shallots and add them to the dressing

More Entree Salad Recipes

Chicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwichchicken caprese salad panini

Grilled to a deep golden brown crispness, stuffed with gooey melted cheese, sweet tomatoes, and basil.  Comfort food for grownups.

 

leftover roast lamb eggplant spinach saladLeftover Roast Lamb Eggplant and Spinach Salad

Rich lamb, meltingly soft eggplant, and a garlicky aioli sauce. It’s an entire meal in a single bowl. Use leftover roast lamb breast, or make it with a lamb chop.

 

mixed greens egg potato chicken saladMixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

A fresh take on an entree salad, with hard boiled egg, potatoes, and a zippy vinaigrette. Use leftover or rotisserie chicken. Mix it all together and poof you have lunch (or dinner).




Vegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

One of the things I like about cooking is that you can take one recipe or meal and transform it into something else entirely.  For example, this vegetarian eggplant sandwich is a variation on the sabich sandwich eaten in Iraq and Israel.  First, I made another batch of the Israeli salad recipe from two weeks ago (the original way, with lemon and bell pepper instead of the mint and lime), and then I added pita, fried eggplant, hummus, spinach, and a hard boiled egg.

And voila! A side dish is now a full meal. The spinach isn’t traditional, but I had some handy and I figured it would go well with the other ingredients.

It makes a great lunch (or light dinner), without a lot of fussing. You hard boil the egg, fry the eggplant and onion, and then just stuff everything into the pita.  You can even follow local tradition and eat it for breakfast on a weekend morning; it has eggs, it must be breakfast food).

Some versions of this sandwich use Israeli pickles and pickled mango sauce. These are both probably delicious, but I didn’t add them because I hate buying large containers of ingredients only to use a few spoonfuls. If you don’t mind that, or plan to eat a lot of sandwiches, you can find both on Amazon.




Substitutions and Variations for Vegetarian Eggplant Sandwich

  • Add the pickles and the mangos
  • Layer in some tahini sauce
  • Shred some cabbage and put that between the layers
  • Include bell pepper (about one mini pepper) in the Israeli salad
  • Try some jalapeño for extra heat

More Eggplant Recipes

pasta alla norma with eggplantPasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Take advantage of fresh summer eggplant with this mildly spicy pasta dish. Tender eggplant, a quick tomato sauce, and you’re ready to eat in about 20 minutes.

 

eggplant parmesan for oneEggplant Parmesan Recipe for One

Lightly fried eggplant, rich tomato sauce, and melted mozzarella makes a dinner that’s a lot easier than you may think.

 

sichuan chinese chicken and eggplant with garlic sauceSichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

A takeout standout that you can easily make at home.  And it’s a lot faster than going out for the takeout would be.

 


rosemary olive oil broiled eggplant
Rosemary Olive Oil Broiled Eggplant

An easy side dish that’s ready in minutes. Great with lamb or chicken.

 




Chopped Israeli Salad for One Person

Chopped Israeli salad isn’t quite what you might assume. It doesn’t have lettuce or carrots.  It’s not even eaten when you’d expect.  Israeli salad isn’t for lunch or dinner. Instead people eat it for breakfast with eggs, hummus, pita bread, fish, and olives. Not being much of a standard American breakfast person, I approve!

Of course, all of those things make a great lunch too, especially on a hot day when  you don’t want to get anywhere near a stove or an oven. I adapted this recipe from a comment on Tori Avery’s web site. 

She had a recipe for Israeli salad, and a commenter, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, pointed out that there’s a Persian version called “salad e-shirazi.”

She said it calls for red onion and parsley (neither of which I had).  However, I did decide to follow her suggestion and use lime juice instead of lemon juice and add mint.

Make sure to use either Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers (rather than the standard kind).  The Persian (or mini) cucumbers are shorter and thinner than standard cucumbers and usually sold in sealed packages.  The English (or hothouse) cucumbers are the long, skinny ones individually wrapped in plastic wrap.

They’re easier to cut up and you don’t have to peel them! Also, the standard cukes tend to be more bitter.

I cut everything up, mixed it together, and left it out on the counter for a couple of hours (there’s nothing to spoil quickly) so that the flavors would blend.  Also, if you put tomatoes in the fridge, they start to lose their flavor.

You can serve this salad with the pita and etc. I mentioned above for a light meal or as a side dish with a sandwich or some eggs. You can make plain scrambled eggs, a frittata, or keep the Persian theme going and serve it with Persian eggs. I added about 1/4 C of eggplant I had left over (recipe here and it’s even for one person).

There’s no picture of the eggs because I was hungry and started eating before I remembered to take one!




Substitutions and Variations for Chopped Israeli Salad

  • Try the full standard Persian version, “salad-e-shirazi,” which is made with seeded cukes and tomatoes, red onion, parsley, mint, salt, pepper, lemon juice (or lime juice) and a bit of olive oil.
  • Make it more filing with some crumbled feta cheese.
  • Add some red bell pepper (or try orange or yellow for more color), cut into tiny pieces
  • Chop some radishes and add them to the salad
  • The Book of Jewish Food has a variation popular with Baghdadi Jews in India: add grated ginger and some chopped chili peppers.

Ingredients and Tools for Chopped Israeli Salad

Oxo Lemon/Lime Reamer

You can squeeze the lime with your hands, but it’s a bit messy.  It’s much easier (and neater) to use a reamer instead. And since it’s made by Oxo, it’s comfortable to use.  Tip: Leave the fruit out to get to room temperature (or zap it in the microwave for 5 seconds). It will juice more easily.

Oxo Salad Chopper (mezzaluna) and bowl

You can use a sharp knife to cut up your salad, but it’s even easier with a salad chopper.  The double blades chop the salad, veggies, cheese, etc into tiny little pieces. And it takes a lot less effort. Just rock your hand back and forth.

More One Person Salad Recipes

mixed greens egg potato chicken saladMixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Toss together your favorite greens and veggies, add hard boiled egg and leftover chicken, and you’ve got a new twist on the old chef salad.

 

blueberry and spinach salad with fetaBlueberry Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese and Walnuts

The perfect summer meal when it’s too hot to cook, this recipe is packed with sweet blueberries, salty/tangy feta, and crunchy walnuts.

 

strawberry spinach salad balsamic dressing feta cheeseStrawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese

Don’t have blueberries? Or want a change? Try this spinach and strawberry salad. Sweet, tangy, and fruity. No cooking required.

 

leftover roast lamb eggplant spinach saladLeftover Roast Lamb Eggplant and Spinach Salad

If you didn’t quite eat all your lamb breast, use the leftovers for this salad. Rich lamb, creamy soft eggplant, and earthy spinach work beautifully together for a festival of flavors.




Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

It’s too hot to do much cooking, but this mixed greens egg potato and chicken salad doesn’t require too much time standing over the stove. You only have to boil the egg and the potato.  You can use leftover chicken if you have it, or grab a rotisserie chicken from the market.

I call it (in my head) Fairway Market salad, because that’s where I got the idea.  It’s pretty flexible, but the constants (at least for me), are the chicken, spinach (and/or mixed greens), boiled potato, and hard boiled egg.

Since it was too hot to roast a chicken, I got a rotisserie chicken and used that for my salad.

You can change it to suit your own tastes or whatever you have in the fridge. Substitute tuna instead of chicken, or use all spinach or all romaine instead of the mixed greens.  Try cooked corn kernels instead of the potato. The idea is to get a mixture of flavors and colors, rather than stick rigidly to a recipe.

If you want it vegetarian, or don’t have a cooked chicken, you can leave it out.  On a cooler day, make an extra chicken thigh and season it with lemon, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. I adapted the salad dressing recipe from Ina Gartner.




Substitutions and Variations for Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad

  • Make the dressing with lemon juice instead of vinegar
  • Add some whole or sliced almonds
  • Top with grated parmesan or manchego cheese
  • Cook a couple of slices of bacon and crumble them over the top
  • Slice some mushrooms and add them to the salad
  • Add feta cheese or Monterey Jack cheese

More Main Dish Salad Recipes

cold leftover steak saladCold Leftover Steak Salad with Goat Cheese and Red Wine Vinaigrette

Don’t want to cook? You don’t have to. Leftover steak, a simple vinaigrette, and some greens equals a wonderful crispy, tangy salad that’s a full meal.

leftover roast lamb eggplant spinach saladLeftover Roast Lamb Eggplant and Spinach Salad

Lamb and eggplant pair beautifully together and are a great foil for earthy spinach.  This salad is topped with a garlicky aioli. Don’t worry, the aioli is easy (because you can cheat).

 

chicken caprese salad paniniChicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwich

Turn the classic caprese into a meal by adding chicken and grilling it like grilled cheese. Gooey, fresh, and delicious.

 

blueberry and spinach salad with fetaBlueberry Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese and Walnuts

If you prefer your entree salads to be vegetarian, try this one. Lots of crispy fresh veggies, balanced by tangy cheese,  and crunchy walnuts.

 




Peanut Butter and Cucumber on Rye Bread

We’re all familiar with the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You can even get them pre-made! It’s classic American childhood food, and it’s comforting. This peanut butter and cucumber sandwich on rye bread is not so familiar. It comes with a twist.

Now, you may think I’m nuts (sorry), but try this experiment.  Replace the jam on your sandwich with thinly sliced cucumber.

Then, replace the classic white bread with rye bread. You want the kind of rye that’s got a good crust and seeds.  I’ve seen rye that’s more like dark whole wheat. That just won’t do.

Suddenly, your old-fashioned childhood sandwich is much more sophisticated.  The cucumber adds sweetness and crunch which complements the salty, smooth peanut butter beautifully.

My mom invented this sandwich long ago and it’s become a family favorite.

You don’t really need a formal recipe for this (any more than you need one for old-fashioned PB and J).  All you need is some peanut butter, real rye bread, and a cucumber.

In this case, I used a hothouse English cucumber, so I didn’t have to bother to peel it, but the regular kind is fine too.

More Peanut and/or Cucumber Recipes

stir fry chicken peanut sauce recipeStir Fry Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Takeout without the takeout. It’s got chicken, crisp-fried veggies, and a creamy peanut sauce over it all.

 

spicy sesame noodlesSpicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

Sweet, crunchy cucumber with a spicy peanut sauce. Another takeout meal that’s really easy to make yourself.

 

lemony cucumber salad recipe

Lemon Cucumber Salad with Dill

A cool, refreshing salad that’s wonderful with a tuna or deli meat sandwich.  Easy to make too.

 

israeli chopped saladChopped Israeli Salad for One Person

Great as a side dish (or for breakfast, which is when Israelis eat it).  Just a bit of chopping and you’re done. Or put it in a pita with eggplant and hummus.

 

 




Salmon with Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce

Salmon with Greek yogurt dill sauce is a great combination.  The piquancy of the Greek yogurt complements the rich flavor of the fish beautifully. A pinch of mustard gives it a bit of a bite, without overwhelming the rest of the dish.

The other great thing about this dinner is that it’s quick and easy to make.  Just mix a few simple ingredients for the sauce (which uses ingredients you probably already have, so no need for a special trip to the grocery store), season the salmon, and put the fish in the oven while the sauce flavors combine.

I’ve written the recipe for a toaster oven (since I don’t want to heat up the whole apartment), but you can make this in a standard oven too. Or, if you’re really pressed for time (or very hungry), you can cook it in your microwave.  If you do, once the sauce is made and the fish is seasoned, you can have dinner in 6 minutes.

One of the great things about this salmon with Greek yogurt dill sauce is that it’s a quick meal that looks (and tastes) like you cooked for hours. And, it’s easy to scale this up and serve it when you have company.

If you have the time, do let the sauce sit for a while before you cook everything else.  It really does improve the flavor.

I served the salmon with some jasmine rice (which is my new favorite rice), the rest of the cucumber I used for the sauce (fresh from the farmer’s market), and some beautiful, ripe Jersey tomatoes.

It’s a great summer meal because it’s light, doesn’t require a lot of fussing, and it’s ready in a few minutes. And, since you’re cooking the dish in foil, there’s one less thing to wash when you’re finished (which is always a bonus, as far as I’m concerned).




More Salmon and Fish Recipes

salmon in foil packet with potatoesSalmon in Foil Packet with Potatoes

Zesty citrus, sweet tomatoes, and a bit of mellowed onion create a flavorful and aromatic dinner all in a single package. Plus, the foil keeps the salmon moist.

 

Smoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Saucesmoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauce

Pasta with a creamy, velvety tomato sauce that’s elegant enough for company (though you’ll probably want to keep it for yourself). Use smoked salmon or leftover cooked salmon.

fish fillet with yogurt sauceIndian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

Maybe ten minutes of prep, but plenty of flavor from onion, garam masala, and a creamy yogurt sauce. Just put it together and bake.

 

pan-fried tilapia with lemon butter saucePan-Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce

A touch of mustard and plenty of lemon add zest to this easy fish dinner. Just season and pan fry.