Photo courtesy of Nealey Dozier

Welcome to 30 Days on a Mediterranean Diet, our new blog series! It’s no secret that eating the Mediterranean way helps with heart health and weight loss. But fast-paced modern living makes it hard to stick to any diet, which is why each 30 Days on a Mediterranean Diet post will feature a healthy Mediterranean recipe.

We couldn’t just not end this blog series with a lamb recipe.

The hero protein of the Mediterranean diet for centuries, lamb is a succulent blank canvas for big bold flavors like lemon, mint and paprika.

Kefta is essentially ground lamb. It goes great with chickpeas and has this juiciness that leaves you wanting more. Toss ‘em on the grill, and they just get better. Enjoy!

Easy Lamb Kefta
From The Kitchn
Makes 2-4 servings


For the kefta

3 tablespoons minced red onions
3 tablespoons minced herbs (mix of Italian parsley, cilantro, and mint)
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin (preferably toasted and ground yourself)
3/4 teaspoon pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) or regular paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon olive oil

For the yogurt sauce

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 heaping teaspoon minced herbs (mix of Italian parsley, cilantro and mint)
2 teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste
Pinch of kosher salt

For the chickpeas

2 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 large clove garlic
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon harissa paste
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin (preferably toasted and ground yourself)
1/2 teaspoon pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) or paprika
Kosher salt, to taste
1/4 cup chicken stock or water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced herbs (mix of Italian parsley, cilantro, and mint), for garnish

To serve

Store-bought naan or flatbreads (note: substitute with pita bread for a healthier option)

Prep & Cook

  1. For the kefta, toss the onions, minced herbs, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater blade (or a large mixing bowl) and mix until combined. Add the ground lamb and beat until all of the ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to an hour while you finish getting everything else ready for dinner.
  2. Grab a handful of meat, form into an oblong, sausage-like shape, and slide onto a skewer. Repeat with remaining meat. (You can also form them into any shape you like, such as flat patties, meatballs, or torpedoes, and cook them skewered or un-skewered.) Heat a large griddle or grill pan over medium-high and generously coat with cooking oil. Once the oil is sizzling, add the skewers and cook until deep golden brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until meat is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more.
  3. For the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt, herbs, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. For the chickpeas, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes, followed by the garlic for another 20 seconds or so. Add the chickpeas, harissa, cumin, pimentón, and a generous pinch of salt. Pour in the chicken stock and increase heat to high; simmer until the mixture is almost dry. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning. Drizzle with additional olive oil before serving.