Do you cook with lamb? If you are new to cooking with lamb try starting with ground lamb and this Greek-Style Lamb Pita with Tzatziki Sauce. Lamb offers a protein-packed, flavorful alternative to the typical protein sources, like beef, chicken or turkey.
I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University a few months ago. When I was there, I was immersed with information, learning all about pasture-raised lamb, butchery, and cooking techniques for lamb with Nourish with Lamb.
Lamb is pasture-raised
Instead of being called a rancher, those who raise lamb are known as Shepards. Have you ever cooked with or prepared lamb? Lamb might seem intimidating if you’ve never worked with before, but this lean protein pairs well with global flavors and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Ground lamb is typically made from the shoulder and is incredibly moist and flavorful. Lamb is delicious in meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, tacos, casseroles, stews, lamb burgers, or in this case meatballs for pitas.
Did you know?
Lean lamb is a source of healthy, unsaturated fats. Nearly 40% of the fat in lean lamb is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. On average, a 3-ounce serving of lamb is lean and has only 150 calories. Lean cuts include the leg and loin.
Lamb Fits in the Traditional Mediterranean Diet
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines gives special recognition to the Mediterranean dietary pattern for its healthful eating approach. Lamb is a staple protein in a healthy Mediterranean-style diet, particularly in Greek cuisine. Lamb is nutrient-rich and on average, it’s an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc, and selenium and a good source of iron and riboflavin.
This pita with tzatziki sauce is a way to start on the path to a Mediterranean-style diet.Print
For the Tzatziki Sauce:
6 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup seedless cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
salt, to taste
For the Lamb Meatballs:
1 pound ground lamb
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more if more heat is desired
For the Pitas:
4 whole grain pita pockets, warmed
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup seedless cucumber, chopped
2 cups lettuce, chopped
For the Tzatziki Sauce: In a small bowl, combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, and red wine vinegar. Season with salt, to taste. Set aside.
For the Meatballs: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a wire rack on a sheet pan. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine lamb, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine. Form small meatballs and place on the wire rack. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. (cook time will vary depending on how large the meatballs are)
To assemble: In a pita pocket stuff pockets with lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes. Add a smear of Tzatziki sauce and 3-4 meatballs per pita.
Meal prep tip: Make a double batch of these meatballs and freeze for later.
Keywords: lamb, sauce, Tzatziki, Greek
Tell me your favorite ways you cook with lamb! Drop a comment below or tag me on Instagram.