Lamb & Sweet Onion Pitas with Orange-Cucumber Salad

It’s no surprise that we’ve been busy lately! Levi’s been crawling for about a month now, so dinners have had to be quick and easy to throw together while he zooms around the kitchen. These pitas are great for a weeknight because they are as quick to prepare as tacos but more exotic-tasting. Cinnamon-spiced ground lamb is topped with sweet caramelized onions, a refreshingly bright orange and cucumber salad with mint, and a dollop of cool Greek yogurt. A warm, chewy pita holds everything together for ease of eating! (And keeps one hand free for feeding bites to a baby).

Levi is quite the eater! We’ve moved away from purees at dinnertime (he was getting bored with them and much more interested in what was on our plates – do you blame him?) and now he pretty much eats whatever we eat for dinner. He loved each little bite that I made for him of pita, ground lamb, and a little greek yogurt (which somehow ended up on his forehead :))

Lamb & Sweet Onion Pitas with Orange-Cucumber Salad

(From the Feb/Mar 2011 issue of Fine Cooking)

2-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. ground lamb
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 large oranges
1 small English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 pitas, halved and very lightly toasted
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • Heat 1-1/2 TBS. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add about three-quarters of the onion, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the onion to a small bowl; set aside.
  • Cook the lamb, cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in the skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat, until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes; drain well.
  • Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining raw onion and transfer to a large bowl. Cut the peels and pith from the oranges. Working over a bowl to collect the juice, cut the orange segments free from the membranes. Cut the segments into chunks. Add the oranges, orange juice, cucumber, vinegar, mint, and the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the chopped raw onion; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Fill the pitas with the lamb and cooked onions. Add some of the orange-cucumber salad and a dollop of yogurt. Serve the remaining salad on the side.

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