Grilled Lamb Burgers with Olive Tapenade

Grilled Lamb Burger with Olive Tapenade recipe.
  • Yield: 5-6 servings

These burgers make a nice change of pace from traditional beef burgers and have that extra kick to them that lamb meat imparts.


2pounds ground lamb (preferably shoulder cut)
1small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2cloves garlic, minced
1tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2teaspoon ground fennel
1teaspoon salt
1/8teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Brioche or potato buns
1/2cup thinly sliced roasted red bell peppers and Romaine lettuce for serving
Olive Tapenade
2cups pitted black olives (Kalamata and Nicoise olives are good choices)
1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes, drained
2teaspoons olive oil
1medium shallot, finely chopped
1/4teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix the burgers. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to high. Place the meat and onions in a large bowl. Whisk together the tomato sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Tobasco Sauce, garlic, mint, cumin, fennel, salt, and pepper in a glass measuring cup; pour into the bowl with the meat and mix well using your hands. Shape the mixture into 5 or 6 patties, each about 1-inch thick and 4 inches in diameter, dividing equally. 
  2. Grill the burgers. Place the patties on the grill and cook until done, turning once—about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Meanwhile, toast the rolls or warm them over the grill. Serve the burgers on the rolls, dolloped with Olive Tapenade (or pass the Tapenade around the table) and topped with crunchy lettuce and a few roasted pepper slices. 

Olive Tapenade

  1. Finely chop 2 cups pitted black olives (Kalamata and Nicoise olives are good choices). Place in a small bowl.
  2. Add ½ cup diced fresh tomatoes (drain any juices), 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 finely chopped medium shallot, and ¼ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves. Stir together.
  3. Season the tapenade with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Refrigerate in a food storage container up to one week.

Reprinted with permission from The New Jewish Table: Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray. St. Martin’s Press, 2013.