If you’ve never tried ground lamb burgers, you’re missing out on a wonderful taste experience.

Lamb is more tender than beef or pork, and therefore has a tendency to char and burn quickly. You’ll need to cook it over a lower heat than you usually would for beef burgers if you’re cooking on the stove top, or over indirect heat if you’re using an outdoor grill.

Lamb is packed with protein and is a healthy alternative to beef. The Mediterranean flavors in the seasonings and assorted toppings pairs well with it. Instead of regular buns, substitute pita bread or rosemary bread.

Some of my favorite accompaniments for any of these burgers are thinly sliced red onions, crumbled Feta cheese, finely chopped Kalamata olives, baby spinach, sliced tomatoes and sliced cucumbers.

I’ve included two quick and easy versions of Tzatziki sauce, which is simply a combination of Greek yogurt, herbs and seasonings.

PAN GRILLED LAMB BURGERS

• 2 pounds ground lamb

• 1 cup finely chopped baby spinach

• 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

• 1 tablespoon McCormick Mediterranean Seasoning Blend

• A few grinds of black pepper

Lightly mix the ingredients together, divide into six portions and then gently shape into patties.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the patties, a few at a time and cook on each side, about 5 to 6 minutes, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. I served on toasted whole wheat buns with Tzatziki sauce.

Tzatziki Sauce

• 5.3 oz. plain Greek yogurt

• 1 teaspoon McCormick Mediterranean seasoning blend

• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 1 tablespoon honey

• 1/4 teaspoon lime zest

• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1/4 teaspoon chopped parsley

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.

LAMB IN PITAS

Think of these pita sandwiches as Greek Sloppy Joes. Light, fresh and healthy, these are a great alternative to work into the weeknight menu rotation.

• 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1 teaspoon dried oregano

• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

• 1/2 teaspoon mint leaves, finely chopped

In a large skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add ground lamb and , occasionally stirring, cook until lamb is cooked through.

Add salt, pepper, and herbs and remove from heat.

Toast pita bread and fill with lamb mixture. Have plenty of the toppings mentioned above to fill up those pitas!

GRILLED LAMB BURGERS ON ROSEMARY BREAD

I served this version open-faced on grilled rosemary bread purchased at a local bakery. The density of the bread held up great against the burger and the toppings.

For the burgers:

• 1 lb. ground lamb

• 1 tablespoon each minced oregano and mint

• 2 teaspoons minced garlic

• Salt and pepper

• Rosemary Bread

• Olive oil

Preheat a gas grill or prepare a charcoal grill. Combine lamb with oregano, mint, garlic, salt and pepper, and shape the mixture into patties. Grill over indirect heat 5 minutes or so on each side to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

When the burgers are almost done, slice the rosemary bread into thick slices and coat with a thin layer of olive oil. Grill on both sides until browned. Place burgers on the grilled bread, top with Tzatziki sauce, and add your favorite toppings.

Another variation of Tzatziki Sauce:

• 8 oz. Greek yogurt

• 1/2 tablespoon minced mint

• 1/2 tablespoon minced oregano

• Zest of one lemon

• Juice of 1/2 lemon

• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

• 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.

Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram, and fleurdelolly@yahoo.com.