Pistachio, Lamb, and Beef Burgers

Photo: Maren Caruso; Styling: Nissa Quanstrom

Arabic spices meet the Persian touch of pistachios in the kefta (skewered ground meat) at Mamnoon in Seattle, where the food combines the owners' Syrian, Lebanese, and Persian heritage with chef Garrett Melkonian's Armenian background. We opted for an easier version: burgers.

Yield: Serves 4
Recipe from Sunset

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Recipe Time

Total: 40 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 598
  • Calories from fat: 54%
  • Protein: 32g
  • Fat: 36g
  • Saturated fat: 8.6g
  • Carbohydrate: 39g
  • Fiber: 6.1g
  • Sodium: 925mg
  • Cholesterol: 81mg


  • 1/2 cup salted roasted pistachios
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion, plus 4 onion slices (1/4 in. thick)
  • 1 large egg white, whisked to blend
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon baharat* (Arabic spice blend)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 4 to 5 tsp. Aleppo pepper*, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups cherry or pear tomatoes (any color)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  • Butter lettuce leaves


  1. 1. Soak 8 bamboo skewers (8 in.) in water for half an hour.
  2. 2. Heat a grill to medium (350° to 450°). Coarsely grind pistachios in a food processor, then pour into a bowl. Whirl chopped onion in processor until smooth and add to nuts along with egg white, meat, baharat, black pepper, 2 1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper, and the salt. Mix with your hands. Shape into 4 patties, 1/2 in. thick.
  3. 3. Thread tomatoes lengthwise onto skewers. Combine mayonnaise, 1 to 2 tsp. Aleppo pepper, and the lemon juice and set aside. Brush onion slices with oil.
  4. 4. Grill burgers, tomatoes, and onion slices, turning once, until burgers are cooked through (6 to 8 minutes total), and vegetables are charred (3 to 5 minutes). Transfer to a platter as done. Grill buns cut side down until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. 5. Spread buns with mayo. Toss onions with a little Aleppo pepper. Build burgers with lettuce, onions, and some tomatoes from skewers; serve the rest on the side.
  6. *Find in the spice aisle or at worldspice.com
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