Ottolenghi's Lamb & Pistachio Patties (Meatballs) With Sumac Yogurt Sauce

September 25, 2018
19 Ratings
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes about 20 patties, to serve 4 as a main or 6 as a snack
Author Notes

"These patties are lovely as a snack or as part of a feast at a barbecue. If you want to make them into a more substantial meal, however, just serve them with some arugula tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and shaved Parmesan. The yogurt sauce can be made the day before. The patties will keep in the fridge for 1 day uncooked, or they can be cooked up to 6 hours in advance, ready to be warmed through 5 minutes before serving. Leftovers are also good the next day, at room temperature or warmed through."

This recipe is featured in the story, A Simple, Make-Ahead Menu from Ottolenghi’s Latest Cookbook, sponsored by Ten Speed Press. It is is reprinted from Simple, by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, with permission from our partner Ten Speed Press.Food52

What You'll Need
  • For the sumac yogurt sauce:
  • 1 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • For the lamb and pistachio patties:
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 1/4 cups arugula
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 pound 2 ounces ground lamb
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the sumac yogurt sauce and keep in the fridge until needed.
  2. To make the patties, put the pistachios into the bowl of a food processor. Blitz for a few seconds, to roughly chop, then put into a medium bowl. Add the arugula to the processor, blitz for a few seconds to roughly chop, then add to the bowl of pistachios. Continue with the onion and garlic, to form a smooth paste, and add to the bowl. Add the lamb, 1 tablespoon of oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and a good grind of pepper. Mix well to combine, then, with wet hands, shape the mix into about 20 patties. They should each be about 2 inches wide, 3/4 inch thick, and weigh about 1 1/2 ounces.
  3. Put 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large nonstick frying pan and place over medium heat. Once hot, add the patties—as many as you can fit without crowding the pan—and cook for 7 minutes, turning about 3 1/2 minutes, until golden brown and just cooked through. Keep warm while you repeat with the remaining patties. If you need to, add another tablespoon oil to the pan during the process. When the patties are all cooked, pile them onto a large platter and serve with the sumac yogurt sauce.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • tnevins
  • Marsha Evans
    Marsha Evans
  • Natalie Bullion
    Natalie Bullion
  • Rosalind Paaswell
    Rosalind Paaswell
  • Chuck48

17 Reviews

[email protected] November 3, 2023
More perfection from Ottolenghi. The harmony of onion and lamb, the crunch of the pistachio, the hint of green freshness from the arugula -- the whole table swooned. The yogurt sauce felt like it needed a little more oomph so I mixed in some dried mint. Highly recommended.
tnevins January 15, 2021
Served as recommended with an arugula salad and flatbread. I did substitute walnuts for pistachios because it is what I had on hand. They have a delicious, browned crisp and chewy exterior and are lovely with the yoghurt sauce.
jencordes December 12, 2020
I liked that the pistachios and arugula “cut” the sometimes heaviness of meatballs. I would definitely make them again. I thought the sumac yogurt was just ok. It really didn’t taste like anything but yogurt. It also surprised me that the yogurt didn’t call for salt. Maybe with additional sumac, lemon and a healthy amount of salt, I might like it better.
uglyducklingbakery March 16, 2021
Have you tried the sumac sauce from Jerusalem? It has sour cream and garlic in addition to the yogurt, lemon, sumac, and olive oil, and we eat it by the gallon in our house!
Food63 July 28, 2021
I agree about the yogurt sauce and now make it to taste with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and a bit of grated or minced garlic until it tastes more like a sauce and less like straight yogurt. I also omit the sumac from the sauce since I find it makes the sauce unpleasantly gritty, and instead sprinkle the sumac on the cooked patties. The patties are otherwise excellent and very easy and quick to make.
jencordes November 12, 2022
Wasn’t signed up for replies so didn’t see your comment until this morning. Making these again tonight and will make the sumac sauce you suggested. Thanks so much!
[email protected] November 3, 2023
I felt the sauce was lacking as well and mixed in heap of dried mint. Did the trick beautifully. Plus a little salt.
Marsha E. October 18, 2020
I had guests over last night for a socially distanced small gathering and did and Ottolenghi small plate menu. This recipe went over so well everyone asked for seconds. the patties are easy to make, juicy and flavorful.
Rachel July 28, 2020
I had to sub parsley for the arugula because I didn't have it on hand, but otherwise followed the recipe to the letter. These were really excellent and now I want to try them with arugula. Don't skip the sauce!
SmallLion June 5, 2019
Excellent recipe. Also loved them with pita, tzatiki and of course the sumac variant above. Patties cook quickly and are prone to overcooking. Keep an eye on these.
Terry February 6, 2019
I thought that lamb patties were pretty good. Then I dipped one into the sumac yogurt sauce and I almost jumped out of my chair. Awesome
Darian January 22, 2019
These are delicious! The arugula and pistachios are just what is needed to take them from ordinary to fabulous. I like to serve with na'an or pita and a cucumber/tomato salad.
Natalie B. November 19, 2018
These were so so so good! Made for dinner tonight served over a salad with the sauce as the dressing. Leftovers are lunch tomorrow in a pita!
Beatrice D. October 29, 2018
Am wondering if these can be grilled?
Chuck48 November 11, 2018
I’m sure you can grill them
jperrella June 1, 2019
We grilled them tonight and it worked great!!
Rosalind P. October 28, 2018
Some in my family don't love lamb, so I make some of these burgers with ground beef. The pistachios and arugala still add their magic.; and I offer a sauce of tahini with lemon and olive oil as an option in addition to the yogurt sauce.