Turkish Lamb Lavash

Turkish Lamb Lavash


The exotic flavors of the Middle East come alive in this delicious lamb stew. Served in a piece of "lavash" (Middle Eastern flatbread) for an easy and mouth-watering meal.
  • Serves: 4 to 8
  • Active Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins
  • Views: 21,464
  • Success Rating: 97% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Mixing the Lamb and Spices

• 1 lb ground or diced lamb
• 2 tbsp za'atar spice
• 2 tsp aleppo pepper
• 2 tsp kosher salt
• 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Gently mix the lamb with all of the spices and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Note: This step can be done a few hours ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator.

Step 2: Preparing Your Mise en Place

• 1 large onion (about 2 cups)
• 4 small eggplants, preferably Asian eggplants
• 5 large cloves garlic


To start your mise en place, dice the onion and eggplant into 1/2" -inch cubes. Mince the garlic and set aside.

Step 3: Cooking the Lamb and Eggplant

• 2 tbsp grapeseed or vegetable oil
• 2 tbsp tomato paste


Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium to medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil, followed by the lamb. Cook the lamb until it just starts to brown.

Next, add the onions and eggplant and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes or so. Once the onions and eggplant have started to soften, add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds or until it releases its aroma. Next, add the tomato paste and let cook for another minute.

Step 4: Adding the Chickpeas and Tomatoes

• 1 - 15 oz can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
• 1 - 19 oz can whole tomatoes (or 2 large tomatoes)
• 1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)


Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to the lamb.

Open the can of tomatoes. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, roughly cut up the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the lamb.

If using fresh tomatoes, you may need to add about a 1/2 a cup or so of liquid (such as chicken stock, tomato juice or water).

Add the pine nuts, if using and stir everything together. Turn the heat to low, partially cover and let simmer for at least an hour.

The longer the dish cooks, the more flavor it will have. Just check regularly to make sure it isn’t scorching or burning. If it needs a touch of liquid, add some.

Step 5: Finishing the Lamb

• 2 cups packed fresh spinach (optional)
• 1 cup thick Greek yogurt
• 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
• 1/2 bunch fresh mint leaves
• 8 lavash, pita or wraps (optional)
• 2 to 3 cups cooked rice


Clean, de-stem and roughly chop the spinach. Once the stew is ready, fold in the spinach. Let cook for another 5 minutes or until the spinach has softened. Taste for seasoning.

The lamb can be served over rice and topped with a good dollop of yogurt.

Alternatively, it can be placed in a pita/lavish/wrap. To do this, warm the bread slightly in the oven or in microwave. If you are adding rice to the wraps, make sure it has also been warmed properly.

To assemble, place a few sprigs of cilantro and mint on the bottom, followed by a bit of rice. Add a few spoonfuls of the lamb stew. To finish, top with a big dollop of yogurt. Roll up and serve immediately.

Chef's Notes

Za’atar Spice Mix is very popular in Middle Eastern cooking. This particular mix is more of a Lebanese version as it contains sumac, which contains a nice tart lemon flavor. Za’atar can be used in many dishes – from meats and veggies to rice and breads.


  • Julie S
    Julie S
    I am interested in making this recipe soon and I was wondering if there is a substitute for sumac used in the za'atar spice if I can't find it. Also, what is aleppo pepper? Is there a substitute if I can't find it as well? I can't wait to make this recipe!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Aleppo pepper is a Syrian crushed chili, if you cannot find it, you can simply use crushed chili flakes instead. As for the sumac, there really is no good substitute for it's unique flavor. It should be available in most Middle Eastern stores, maybe phone around, it's worth it. Good luck, let me know how it turns out.
  • Faye L
    Faye L
    A good place is Yaas Bazaar on Londsdale Ave & 18th (there about). They have nice pastries and a eatery, quite unique place. This next question is for Dawn or anyone. Do you have a recipe for making pita bread, as all pita bread contains calcium propionate. I love lamb though. (2) Has anyone ever cooked or eaten "cavello". (not sure of spelling). Just curious.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    I do have a good recipe for homemade pita bread and will have to dig it out. I'll try to enter it into the Test Kitchen asap...but that entails me having to make a batch and take pictures, etc. Stay tuned! :)
  • Julie N
    Julie N
    I adore middle eastern food; this will be the next dish on my list. Dawn thank you for this beautiful recipe. I shall let you know the results!
  • Julie S
    Julie S
    I was happy to finally get a chance to make this recipe after finding sumac to make the za'atar spice mix. I must confess to be still searching for aleppo pepper. (I substituted with chili peppers and a pinch of cumin.) When I find it I will make this recipe using diced lamb, I found the ground lamb that I used had too much extra fat that I drained off. I think the diced lamb will give it a more stew like quality to the dish which I personally would prefer. It's great finding new spices and trying out different recipes, I look forward to finding aleppo pepper and making this recipe again and discovering new recipes to use these spices.
  • Julie N
    Julie N
    And let you know I made this for friends in NYC well before the holidays. I went to a store which specializes in spices for cooks and professional chefs. They had the sumac and the aleppo pepper (which I never thought they would). I went to an unfortunately expensive butcher to get the meat as I'm not a big fan of ground lamb. And I prefer the texture of stew since we were given the alternative between ground and dice, I chose the dice. I chose to serve it with couscous cakes (couscous, cilantro, mint, and egg and shallow/pan fried) with Greek yogurt. The cakes sort of mimic the flavors in the recipe but I thought there would be something textural about pouring the stew over the cakes and cutting/breaking into them when taking a bite. Most of my friends really liked it; the ones that don't like lamb, ah such is life..... It was so worth making!!!

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