Middle Eastern Beef Patty

Finished photo of meat patties with rice and salad

We never had much money growing up but I never would of known that by the food we ate. I would look over at my mother as we sat at the dinner table and mutter, “I’m hungry”. As soon as those words left my lips, I’d look up to see her leaning forward, head in the fridge, searching through her mental catalogue for something to cook up. Think Mary Poppins… these Middle Eastern Beef Patty were a regular staple growing up and a fusion between what my mom learned from my Persian grandmother and her own style of cooking. This was also one of the first recipes I asked my mom to teach me how to make as soon as I was married, they always remind me of home.

The Basics

From Prep to Completion 40 minutes

Temperature 165F degree internal temperature using a meat thermometer

Servings 8 patties or 24 meatballs

When It Is Done A bit of charring on the meat and cooked through

Pair With

Variations Change up the spices, vegetables, and add a variety of cheeses (have a look down below for some variation suggestions)

A Little Bit About: Middle Eastern Beef Patty

This recipe lends itself well to being a teaching recipe because you can start with the recipe I am sharing and then make it your own based on your preferences and/or what you have in your fridge.

A Middle Eastern Beef Patty is delicious because they are usually homemade and simple in ingredients. They are traditionally served alongside a rice dish (Chelow or Addas Polo), a fresh salad (lemon, olive oil and salt for dressing) and lots of fresh herbs, tomatoes and onion. I enjoy some green olives while Nathan likes a type of Tzatziki to go alongside this dish. Its your meal, your patties. Pickle your vegetables, serve it on a salad, just have fun and come up with a variation that you enjoy!

Food prep

Versatility is what makes these Beefy Patties such a great teaching recipe. My mom handed this one down to me and I now pass it on from my table to yours.

Finished photo of meat patties with rice and salad

Teaching Moment

Variation in the Kitchen: Middle Eastern Beefy Patty

  • Replace cilantro with another green such as spinach, kale, or parsley.
  • Switch out the oregano for sumac, or zaatar. Challenge your palate!
  • Change up your vegetable from zucchini to carrots, russet potato or sweet potato.
  • Add in some feta and chopped green olives.
  • Replace the rolled oats for quick oats or breadcrumbs. You can even use stale bread for this if you have some.
  • Throw in some heat with a jalapeno or serrano pepper.
  • Instead of meat patties shape them into meatballs and serve them warm over a salad and dress it with a balsamic vinaigrette or try our dressing from Colorful Mixed Greens Salad with Versatile Rustic Dressing.
  • Use ground chicken, pork, or lamb, and even a mixed variation of meat.
Options to vary the recipe
Options to vary the recipe

Making the Time

It has been such good quality time being in the kitchen. Whether I ask the kids to join me or they find their way in their inevitably, we have made some fun memories. Jude trying raw onion and garlic to learning how to make scrambled eggs, it is always a sweet time. Make the most of your time in the kitchen with those you love. If you can’t sit face to face and have conversation then try doing it shoulder to shoulder.

Family Table Talk Questions

Mise en Place: Middle Eastern Beef Patty

Read the recipe first | Lay out your ingredients | Prepare your tools | Start cooking

A display of ingredients for Middle Eastern Beef Patty
Shaping beef patty
Beef Patty laid out to show how to shape

Middle Eastern Beef Patty

Middle Eastern Beef Patty

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Serve these up with a side of marinated feta by Yotam Ottolenghi (you can thank me later) and don’t forget to sprinkle some sumac on those patties.


1 pound ground beef

1/2 an onion, grated and pressed

2 garlic cloves, grated and pressed

1/2 a medium zucchini, grated*

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup oats (rolled or quick)

1 egg

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

1 tbsp neutral oil, for frying


  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add in all your ingredients; ground beef, onion, garlic, zucchini, cilantro, oats, egg, oregano, salt and pepper. When grating the zucchini and onion, squeeze them over the sink, after grating, to remove the excess liquid before adding to the meat mixture.
  2. Mix it by hand, do not overmix. It should feel tacky, not wet. If it feels wet then add some more oats, if it feels too dry (this will likely never happen) you can whisk up an egg and add as needed.
  3. Divide it into 8 equal portion, you can shape these how you like, I choose to do it in oblong shapes. Use your fingers to press them down after shaping to keep them from puffing up while cooking.
  4. Heat up a pan over medium-high heat and add in neutral oil once it is preheated, I use grapeseed oil.
  5. Add in 4 patties and cook each side about 4-5 minutes, depending on how cooked you want the centers. There should be a nice char on each side, then set aside and repeat with the last 4. Let them rest about 5-10 minutes while you start plating. Internal temperature should be at least 165F degrees.

Really try to make this recipe your own. Do not be shy and know that making a mess, and screwing up is just part of being a better cook in your kitchen!

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