Salt & Wind Travel

Lamb Pita with Tahini Sauce and Zhug

Lisa Samuel goes on an annual trip to Tel Aviv and when she goes back this year she’ll head directly to Miznon for the lamb pita.

But until she can get there, she’ll make this Lamb Pita with Tahini Sauce and Zhug recipe – it’s as close as you’ll get to the real thing without hopping a flight to Israel, which she highly recommends, should you get the chance. For the most authentic version, buy the softest pita you can find and seek out a tahini from Israel or Lebanon, which you can often find in Mediterranean markets.

Go stock up on all your cooking essentials then head into the kitchen, make this, and share it with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!

Lamb Pita with Tahini Sauce and Zhug Recipe

Lamb Pita with Tahini Sauce and Zhug Recipe

Lisa Samuel goes on an annual trip to Tel Aviv and when she goes back this year she'll head directly to Miznon for the lamb pita. But until she can get there, she'll make this Lamb Pita with Tahini Sauce and Zhug recipe – it’s as close as you’ll get to the real thing without hopping a flight to Israel.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 Pita
Calories 460 kcal


Make The Tahini Sauce: 

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Make The Zhug:

  • 5 jalapeños or other spicy peppers, halved and seeded (if desired)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/2 bunch Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves about 1 cup
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Make The Lamb Meatballs:

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds toasted and ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

For Serving The Pita:

  • 6 whole wheat pita
  • 1 Persian cucumber trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes halved


  • Make The Tahini Sauce: Add the 1/2 cup tahini paste to a bowl. Place the 1 garlic clove on a cutting board and pour 1/2 teaspoon of salt on top. Using the side of a chef’s knife, smash the garlic and grind it with the salt until it turns into a paste.
    Add the garlic-salt paste to the tahini, along with 1/4 cup of the lemon juice, and about 1/4 cup of water. Stir together with a fork until the tahini sauce is blended and becomes the consistency of honey. Add more water, if needed. Taste for lemon and salt and adjust, as desired.  
  • Make The Zhug: Combine the jalapeños, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of the ground cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon of the coriander seeds, 2/3 of the ground cardamom seeds, 2 cups of the cilantro, the 1 cup parsley, the 1 teaspoon black pepper, the zest of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons of the freshly-squeezed lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender.
    Pulse several times, until all the ingredients are blended but the sauce is not puréed. Set aside until ready to use. 
  • Make The Lamb Meatballs: Finely chop the remaining cilantro then add to a large bowl with the ground lamb, the remaining garlic cloves, the mint, the remaining coriander seeds, the remaining cumin, the remaining cardamom, the red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon of the sea salt. Using your hands, gently incorporate the herbs and spices into the lamb. Divide the lamb mixture into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a meatball.
  • Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Brush the bottom of the pan with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then add the lamb meatballs to the hot skillet, being sure not to crowd the pan. (Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook the meatballs in two batches.) Brown the meatballs on each side, turning them as they get a dark golden crust on the outside, about 8 to 10 minutes total. Remove the meatballs to a plate and keep warm.
  • Make The Pita: To build the pita, place two heaping tablespoons of tahini sauce in the bottom of the pita. Add three meatballs to the pita and then tuck cucumber slices and tomato halves into the side of the pita. Top with additional tahini sauce, if desired, and a little bit of zhug or a lot of zhug, depending on how spicy you like it.



Serving: 1 ServingCalories: 460kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 20gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 683mgPotassium: 627mgFiber: 6gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1744IUVitamin C: 44mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 4mg
Keyword street food
Tried this recipe?Mention @saltandwind or tag #swsociety!

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