Recipes

Greek Burgers

Summer is in full swing which means I’m outside grilling as many meals as possible! Burgers are a super easy lunch or dinner to throw together while everyone’s hanging out by the pool, drinking & working on their tans! Us millennials don’t always want to spend all day in the kitchen but we want good food & we want it fast! I know when my friends are over & we’re hanging by the pool, I don’t like being in the kitchen for too long trying to whip up a yummy lunch or dinner. That’s why I rely on pre-formed burger patties. They’re super simple to just throw on the grill when you’re hungry & they can be found at just about any grocery store, in just about any quantity!

Starting with a good quality patty & soft burger bun, the possibilities are endless. Your friends & family can customize their burgers with whatever toppings they like & everyone’s happy! Sounds like a recipe for a great afternoon if you ask me!

I bought my ingredients for these burgers from Trader Joes but everything in this recipe can be found at any local grocery store. This recipe is also a great starting point & can be altered to fit your needs & desired flavor profile!

These burgers have just three simple toppings & one delicious spread, all of which can be prepped ahead of time & kept in the fridge so when the hunger hits, you & your guests can be eating in no time!

You are more than welcome to roast your own red peppers, they’re delicious when made at home, but in my opinion they are just as delicious when pulled out of a jar. Summertime meals are all about convienience in my house (especially on pool days) so I used jarred roasted red peppers for this recipe. To prep the peppers, drain them of excess liquid & slice into thin ribbons. Next are the cucumbers, which are sliced very thinly on a mandolin but can easily be done using a sharp knife. Lastly the cheese, which is clearly the most important ingredient on any burger. This recipe calls for feta which is a very dry, salty cheese that’s generally sold in a big block & for this recipe, I just crumbled it. If you’re not a feta fan, goat cheese or even Monterey Jack cheese would be delicious.

To grill the burgers, preheat your grill to medium high heat & spray with cooking spray to ensure nothing sticks. You want your grill to be hot enough to create a good sear on the burger, but not too hot that it chars the burger completely before cooking it through. Before the burgers go on the grill, season with salt & pepper on both sides. Everyone likes their burgers cooked to different doneness so this part will depend on whether you like your burgers on the rare side or the more well done side. I prefer my burgers to be medium (a little pink in the middle) so I cooked them for about 4-5 minutes on each side. This part will also depend on the thickness of your burger, but if you’re unsure, an instant read thermometer is a great tool!

When the burgers have just a few minutes left, it’s a great time to throw the buns on the grill to toast so everything finishes around the same time.

Assembly time! Once the buns are off the grill, spread on your red pepper spread (or other spread). Top with the burger patty & immediately top with cheese so it begins to soften from the heat of the patty. Next, dress up your burger with red peppers & cucumbers. Top with the other bun & voila! Burgers are ready! Can you believe how easy this was?? Perfect summer dish if you ask me!

Greek Burgers

Makes: 4 burgers

Ingredients:

  • 4 pre-formed hamburger patties
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • oil or cooking spray, for the grill
  • 4 bakery style hamburger buns
  • 1/2 cup red pepper spread (or red pepper hummus)
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, sliced thin
  • half a large cucumber, sliced thin
  • 6oz feta cheese, crumbled

Recipes

Falafel Pitas

One of my absolute favorite things to eat is a falafel pita. Crunchy balls of crispy falafel, topped with cool, crisp veggies, all dressed up with fresh & creamy tzatziki. There are a lot of really great places to get one, but I love trying to make my favorite foods at home. I’ve bought the frozen falafel from Trader Joe’s before & I love them, but I wanted to try making them from scratch! There are two types of falafel, the traditional style which are fried, or a healthier option, which are baked.

Initially I wanted to fry my falafel because nothing beats that crunch you get when frying them. At first, I made my falafel into patty shapes to shallow fry them because I am not a fan of deep frying, it’s just way to much of a mess.  but after the first attempt, I realized this was not going to work. Maybe I had the oil at the wrong temp, or didn’t cook them long enough. Either way, they did not come out as planned!

That’s the fun part of cooking at home, you get to try new things & adapt to what works best for you & yields the best result. So I quickly realized frying the falafel was not working & decided to bake them instead. Spoiler alert, they were still delicious!

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The first step to delicious homemade falafel? Make tzatziki from scratch. It’s really easy to throw together using very common ingredients (many of which you probably already have) & really elevates this dish. Tzatziki is a yogurt based sauce that goes great with falafel, chicken, gyros & basically anything else. You won’t have any trouble getting through the leftovers & it keeps great in the fridge. Start by scooping the yogurt into a bowl. Then add in the cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Stir to combine & let it rest in the fridge. The longer it sets, the more delicious it will be! I let mine sit for the amount of time it took to get dinner on the table & it was great. If you have the time to assemble it earlier in the day, by all means, go for it!

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Falafel time! This mix comes together insanely easily using a food processor. Start by combining the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro & mint. Pulse until it begins to come together.

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Next comes the flavor! To the chickpeas, add paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic & baking soda. Mix on high until all ingredients are combined. Add salt & pepper to taste.

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Spoon mixture into a bowl & let it rest for 20-30 minutes before forming. While the mix is resting, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your pitas. I like to top mine with lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion & cucumber. I chopped up all my veggies & set them aside so they’re ready to use when the falafel come out of the oven.

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To bake the falafel, form them into small balls & place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bruch the tops with olive oil & bake the falafel in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until the outside becomes crisp & the inside is still tender.

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When the falafel come out of the oven let them rest for a few minutes while you heat your pitas & gather your toppings.

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Dress up your pitas to your liking & boom! Not too difficult right?

Falafel Pitas

Prep time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 85 minutes
Servings: 20-23 falafel (depending on the size)

Ingredients: 

Tzatziki-

  • 1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
  • 1 cup grated cucumber, drained of all liquid
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Falafel-

  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • oil, for brushing onto falafel

For serving-

  • pita bread
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • pickles
  • red onion
  • cucumber

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Start by scooping the yogurt into a bowl. Then add in the cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Stir to combine & let it rest in the fridge.
  3. In a food processor, start by combining the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro & mint. Pulse until it begins to come together.
  4. To the chickpeas, add paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic & baking soda. Mix on high until all ingredients are combined. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Spoon mixture into a bowl & let it rest for 20-30 minutes before forming. While the mix is resting, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your pitas.
  6. To bake the falafel, form them into small balls & place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bruch the tops with olive oil & bake the falafel for about 30 minutes, until the outside becomes crisp & the inside is still tender.
  7. When the falafel come out of the oven let them rest for a few minutes while you heat your pitas & gather your toppings.
  8. Dress up your pitas to your liking & boom!