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I LOVE Molly Baz and her cookbook Cook This Book. If you’re looking for a new cookbook to try, I very highly recommend it!! This recipe was inspired by a recipe of hers—Minty Lamb Meatballs with Crispy Cabbage & Tahini Sauce. I had never had roasted cabbage before and I was skeptical because honestly that sounds gross, but I have absolute trust in Molly Baz so I had to try it! And it was super delicious—roasted cabbage + lamb together are a really great flavor combo. It was a great recipe but I craved something bright and salty with it… I wanted tapenade. So I worked up my own recipe! Lamb Patties with Roasted Cabbage & Creamy Tapenade was born. And I have to tell you that roasted cabbage is actually good and it’s good for you, so, win-win.
Here’s a little bit about the flavor profile of this recipe.
If, like me, you had never had roasted cabbage, I think you’ll be surprised by it. Roasting the cabbage takes it from crunchy-bland-land to tender, almost buttery?? with crispy edges and a hint of sweetness. Especially when we toss it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. It’s actually very tasty and I like that it’s a new vegetable to have on the side. Something different!
Our lamb patties are very simple. (You can totally use beef or a mix of lamb and beef if you prefer.) We mix the meat with lemon zest, grated garlic, red pepper flakes, pepper, parsley, and a bit of mayo to help with binding. I used these ingredients because I think they elevate the juicy, rich flavor of lamb but don’t overpower it.
I did some research on lamb patties and regular burgers to make sure my recipe was going to utilize the best burger tips. The main takeaways I got were to handle the patties as minimally as possible, so mix until just combined and gently shape into patties to not overwork the meat or squish it. And to NOT add salt to the meat mixture!! I thought this was such a strange idea since usually we want our food to be salted inside and out. But this article from Serious Eats proved me wrong. Mixing salt in with the meat makes a tighter, tougher burger. And we want loose, fall-apart-in-your-mouth burgers! So, salt your burgers generously AFTER they are done cooking.
Okay but what is tapenade?
Tapenade is an olive spread, traditionally made with olives, capers and/or anchovies, garlic, and olive oil. Usually it’s served with crostini as an appetizer. This tapenade is a smidge different than the traditional. I like to use a mix of Castelvetrano and Kalamata olives. Castelvetrano olives are more mild and tone down the Kalamatas a bit. We add garlic, capers, lemon juice (from our zested lemon), parsley, pepper, olive oil, and a few tablespoons of mayo. I added mayo to my tapenade to make it “creamy” and tone down the saltiness of the olives JUST a smidge while bringing UP the flavor. (Fat carries flavor!) But if you’re not into the creamy idea, you can omit the mayo and it’ll still be delish. Extra olive oil works just as well. Then you chop it all up or throw it into a food processor to make a chunky spread. So easy! The creamy tapenade adds a lovely, bright saltiness to this dish that cuts the richness of the lamb and complements the mild flavors of the roasted cabbage. You can absolutely buy store-bought tapenade for this recipe if you want to skip this part. That would make this recipe even easier!
Tools I Used To Make This Recipe
- Microplane grater—This tool is perfect for zesting citrus and grating garlic. You could also use the tiniest holes on a box grater.
- Citrus juicer—A super simple tool that makes squeezing juice a breeze AND catches all the seeds. I use this tool allllll the time. Remember to put the cut side of the citrus facing the holes!
- Mini food processor—This is great for smaller portioned recipes like tapenade, or recipes where things don’t have to be super smooth because it’s not that powerful. Also, you can throw it in the dishwasher. LOVE that. Of course, you can chop up all of your ingredients by hand and mix.
- Kitchen thermometer—I am always paranoid about cooking meat to the right temp. I like to use my thermometer to make sure. We cook these lamb patties to 135° for medium doneness—just a touch of pink. You can always do this the old fashioned way and cut into one to see how pink it is.
- Rimmed baking sheet, cutting board, knives, frying pan. You know what these are for and you probably already have them 🙂
- Cook This Book by Molly Baz—I just love this cookbook and since this recipe was inspired by it, I’m adding it to the list.
I hope you make this recipe! Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback in the comments section!Print
Juicy and flavorful (yet simple!) lamb patties served on top of roasty cabbage and a bright, creamy tapenade sauce to tie it all together. These flavors just work so well together, you’re going to love it!
Inspired by Molly Baz’s Minty Lamb Meatballs with Crispy Cabbage & Tahini Sauce from Cook This Book
- 1 medium head of cabbage
- a couple glugs of olive oil
- salt, pepper, & garlic powder (measure with your heart)
- 1.5 lbs ground lamb (or beef, or a mix of lamb and beef)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- several grinds of fresh pepper
- 1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp mayo
- olive/avocado oil (for cooking patties)
- salt—at the end!
Creamy Tapenade (you can absolutely skip this and buy store-bought—see Notes!)
- 1 cup olives (I like to use a mix of Castelvetrano & Kalamata—see Notes)
- 1 tbsp capers
- juice from half of a lemon
- several grinds of fresh pepper
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp mayo (optional—if omitting, add more olive oil to make it saucier)
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Cut cabbage into quarters lengthwise, then cut out the thick root part of each piece and discard. Slice quarters into ~1/2 inch ribbons and put on a baking sheet, separating any pieces that are stuck tight together. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway, until thickest pieces are soft (to your liking).
- Meanwhile, mix lamb ingredients together gently (No salting yet! Mix until JUST combined—careful not to overmix!) and form into 4–6 patties, depending on how large you want them to be. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. Cook patties on one side for 5 min, then 3–5 min on the other side until patties measure 135 degrees inside for medium doneness (add another minute or 2 if you are making 4 large patties). Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate, salt generously, and let rest for 5 minutes.
- If you’re making the creamy tapenade, add garlic to food processor and mince. (You can definitely manually chop/mince all ingredients and mix in a bowl.) Then add the rest of the ingredients and pulse a few times until you have a chunky sauce. Taste and see if it needs more lemon or pepper or anything else you wish.
- Assemble your servings with cabbage as the base, a big spoonful of creamy tapenade, and a lamb patty. Enjoy!
- For store-bought tapenade, you can absolutely use it as-is. Some are a bit dry though and if you’d like it to be more saucy/creamy, add the 3 tbsp mayo and/or olive oil to get it to a consistency you prefer.
- If you’re making your own tapenade, let’s talk olives. Castelvetrano are my FAVORITE—they are mild and super delicious and they’ve become much easier to find lately. Kalamata have a stronger, brinier flavor. That’s why I like to mix the two to get the best of both worlds. You could totally use all of one type of olive too, and regular green or black olives can work as well.
- You can omit the mayo if you’re a mayo hater or just don’t like the idea of creamy tapenade. I agree that its appearance is not great, but it is delicious. You are in control of the texture of your tapenade, so add more olive oil instead, or not, depending on what you want it to be like!
Keywords: burgers, patties, lamb, cabbage, mediterranean, olives, tapenade, roasted