While I don’t want to sound trite, I must say the first of May caught me off guard. I can’t believe it’s May, the school year is almost over and the kids will be out for almost three months, it’s time to register Top Gun for kindergarten, and summer is almost here. But that also means it’s grilling time around our house, actually more grilling time since we like to grill year round, we just happen to do it more often in the warm months. Really, I like grilled food in January but I don’t like freezing my fingers while making it!
Burgers are one of Builder Guy’s favorite foods, so we grill up a batch every once in a while. Some times I just want a slice of sharp cheddar and good barbecue sauce on top, but other times I like to play with the toppings: guacamole with caramelized onions, chimichurri, chipotle salsa, roasted red peppers with some kind of gooey cheese. The sloppier the better. And I happen to like tzatziki on my burgers, especially with arugula or an arugula pesto.
I adapted the tzatziki recipe below from Peter who runs the terrific Greek food blog, Kalofagas. I do things just a little different, like add a little grind of fresh black pepper and a touch of lemon juice, so my version isn’t entirely authentic. You should taste his recipe, especially if you like Ouzo. Consider my measurements a guide, as some days I add a touch more garlic or pepper depending on my mood. You can make the tzatziki up to one day in advance, just keep it refrigerated until ready to use.
Greek Burgers and Tzatziki
- box grater
- 2 medium bowls
- 2 pounds ground chuck (ground lamb, or soy burgers)
- feta cheese (1 to 2 tablespoons per burger (optional)
- ½ cucumber (seeded and grated)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt (+ more to taste)
- 16 ounces Greek yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or Ouzo as recommend by Peter at Kalofagas)
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- pinch fresh ground black pepper
- buns (can be gluten-free)
- spinach arugula pesto (or arugula leaves)
- red onion slices
- TZATZIKI: Put the strainer over a medium bowl, then put the grated cucumber into the strainer and sprinkle on ¼ teaspoon salt. Let it sit up to 30 minutes, pressing with the back of a spoon occasionally to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- In the other medium bowl, stir together the strained cucumber, Greek yogurt, garlic, fresh dill, and lemon juice. Add more salt to taste, then stir in the olive oil and black pepper. Cover and keep chilled.
- Shape the meat into 6 to 8 burger patties, folding 1 to 2 tablespoons of feta cheese in the middle of each (optional, but good). Grill the burgers to desired doneness.
- Remove from the grill and cover with foil for a 2 to 3 minutes to seal in the juices. Assemble the burgers in the following order: bun bottom, burger patty, pesto, tzatziki, onion, bun top.
Sonia Georganta says
Hi-:)I m Sonia from Greece, great to see u posting burgers with tzatziki! We love it too with Greek pitta bread. I just wanted to say, I m not a chef, just a housewife but one thing I know for sure is that lemon juice & black pepper is more authentic! We never use ouzo in our tzatziki. Chefs sometimes cook fish with ouzo. Tnx for all these great receipes!
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says
Love the Greek flavors in this! I must admit that both my husband and I are burger fanatics, and with a grill available year-round right outside the kitchen door, we make burgers a few times a month. Definitely will try this version!
Alisa - Frugal Foodie says
Mmm, I do look forward to burger season. This sounds like an interesting twist too!
Triple Yum! I really miss dairy when I see something that looks as good as this. I use to live at the greek diner around here, Amphora's. I miss the feta and the yogurt. Nothing can really take the place of that flavor. These look amazing.
Andrea, the burgers and Tzatziki look fabulous and nothing wrong with you tailoring the recipes to your family's tastes. As for Tzatziki and Ouzo, it's a "twist" that I enjoy and got from our neighbor in Greece.
The most important steps with Tzatziki are straying the yogurt and grating the cucumber and removing it's excess liquid. Beyond that it's up to your family's tastes. Bravo!
Just read your recipe for Greek burgers with Tzatziki. Yum! Can't wait to try them.
Sonia, great we have something in common! I'm just a housewife, too. 🙂
Lydia, Alisa, I really like this burger.
Peter, thanks for the tips! We love the tzatziki!
Erica, hope you like them!
I love a good burger, and this twist sounds amazing!
I literally just posted my ultimate (for me) lamb burger and then stumbled over your post as I'm going through my feeds. I made a sauce with feta and greek yogurt, and did caramelized onions. I love tzatziki though!
These burgers look delicious. Definitely a more creative way of summer grilling than your plain old boring burgers. I especially love the tzatziki sauce recipe! Delicious.
african vanielje says
Andrea, my mom spotted these on tastespotting and when I realised they were yours I knew exactly where to come. I'm thinking I may add a little aubergine pickle as well. Great recipe.
Cynthia Perez says
Mom loves Greek flavors, i will try this recipe, mom will be happy for sure. It is good to get this kind of fancy seldom.
I loved the presentation, different from the current hamburger.