Annie Bell’s za’atar burgers with tahini

A lavish burger line-up marrying lamb with thyme and spices in the za’atar and sesame in the tahini. This makes just the right amount of tahini sauce, but it’s such a welcome dip to find in the fridge and keeps for days, so you may like to double up.

za'atar burgers
Ellis Parrinder


600g minced lamb
2 heaped tbsp finely chopped shallots
1 tbsp za’atar

2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice

4 red chicory heads, base trimmed and quartered lengthways
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 focaccia buns, cut open
4 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
Flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

  1. To make the burgers, mix the mince, shallots and za’atar in a large bowl, seasoning with salt and black pepper. For that ‘pro’ look, shape the mince a quarter at a time inside a 12cm ring cutter with smooth edges. Otherwise, form it into balls using your hands and then flatten these between your palms, using a rolling pin to smooth the surface.
  2. To make the dressing, whisk the tahini, lemon juice and a little salt in a medium bowl, then whisk in 2 tablespoons of water. The dressing should be the consistency of salad cream, so add a little more water if necessary.
  3. Barbecue the burgers for 3-4 minutes on each side over hot coals until golden and just firm. Transfer to a plate and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Brush the chicory quarters with oil and season with salt. Barbecue over hot coals for about 5 minutes, turning them halfway. Don’t worry if some of the leaves separate out, just remove them as soon as they look ready. Warm the bread on both sides.
  5. Place the chicory on the lower half of each bun. Top with the burger and scatter with the radish slices, then drizzle over the sauce and sprinkle with parsley.

GET AHEAD The recipe can be prepared up to the second step several hours in advance. If you are doing this, cover and chill the burgers and sauce.

Food styling: Myles Williamson. Styling: Max Robinson. Creative direction: Chloe Sharp