How about grilling something besides beef patties? Try these “baby” mustard and sage-seasoned ground turkey sliders, or a savory lamb burger.


Sliders are fun-size meat patties on a small roll that can be consumed in just a few bites. They make a great more substantial hors d’oeuvres at a cocktail party or can be served for an informal supper, along with coleslaw and corn on the cob. You should be able to find slider rolls in the bread aisle, but small buttery dinner rolls can easily substitute. Since turkey burgers can be dry, I’ve taken a page out of the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook and added whole milk ricotta to the meat mixture, along with some deliciously punched-up seasonings. Of course, the turkey mixture can also be shaped into regular-size patties, in which case you would probably need to cook them a little longer.

Serves 4

1¼ pounds lean ground turkey meat

½ cup whole milk ricotta

½ cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

12 small slider rolls

Softened butter for rolls

Sliced tomato and lettuce leaves

In a large bowl, combine turkey, ricotta, onion, sage, mustard, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to mix gently but thoroughly. Shape into 12 patties, each about 2½ inches in diameter and refrigerate for up to 3 hours until ready to cook.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Saturate a paper towel with oil and use tongs to rub over grill grids to grease well. Cook patties until browned on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm while preparing rolls.

Arrange rolls cut sides down on grill and cook until lightly toasted. (Or toast in oven.) Spread with butter. Serve patties in rolls and pass tomato and lettuce at the table.


Lamb, being indigenous to the eastern Mediterranean, marries particularly well with cumin, garlic, paprika, cayenne, lemon, which are some of the most common seasonings in the region. Pitas are the perfect receptacle for these grilled patties, which are then topped with complementary condiments. You may have to scale the size of the patties to whatever bread you use.

Serves 4

1½ pounds ground lamb

¾ cup chopped onion

½ cup fresh bread crumbs or Panko crumbs

1 large garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1½ teaspoons smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

4 large pita breads or 8 smaller breads

1 large tomato, chopped

¾ cup plain yogurt

4 scallions, chopped

Sprouts – alfalfa, radish, or pea

Lemon wedges

In a large bowl, combine lamb, onion, bread crumbs, garlic, mint, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Mix gently but thoroughly with your hands and shape into 8 oval patties. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat. Cook patties until nicely charred on the outside with just a hint of pink within, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, wrap pitas in foil and place on side of grill to warm. Cut in half if large or slice off one end to receive patty if smaller. Place the tomatoes, yogurt, scallions and sprouts in separate bowls. Serve patties in pitas and pass accompaniments at the table.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:

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