Spinach and feta burger

This Dec. 29, 2017 photo shows a spinach and feta burger with a cucumber yogurt sauce in New York. This dish is from a recipe by Sara Moulton. (Sara Moulton via AP)

Start to finish: 50 minutes (30 hands on)

For the sauce:

A 6-inch piece of English cucumber (the long, thin kind)

Kosher salt

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon minced garlic

For the burgers:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

5 ounces baby spinach

Kosher salt

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, optional

1 large egg

12 ounces trimmed cooked lamb or pork chop meat or cooked steak, or leftover roast meat

3 ounces coarsely crumbled feta cheese

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

6 pita halves

Shredded romaine lettuce and sliced tomatoes for garnish

Make the sauce: Peel, halve lengthwise and seed the cucumber. Coarsely shred it and in a medium bowl toss it with a pinch of salt. Let the cucumber stand for 10 minutes and then add the yogurt, garlic, additional salt to taste; stir well.

In a large nonstick skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes, if using, and cook, stirring, until all of the spinach is wilted, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl and cool to room temperature in the refrigerator. Wipe out and reserve the skillet.

In a food processor, process the egg until it is lightly beaten. Cut the lamb into 1-inch pieces and add it to the food processor. Pulse 6 to 8 times or until the meat is chopped into medium-fine pieces. Add the feta, cooled spinach mixture and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs and pulse two or three times or until just mixed.

Shape the mixture into six burgers. Spread out the remaining bread crumbs in a soup or pie plate. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the reserved large skillet over medium heat until hot. Dip the burgers into the crumbs to coat them lightly on all sides; shake off any excess crumbs. Add the burgers to the skillet and cook until golden and heated through, about 3 minutes a side.

Transfer the burgers to the pita halves and spoon some of the sauce over each burger. Garnish with the lettuce and tomatoes. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 331 calories; 141 calories from fat; 16 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 50 mg cholesterol; 593 mg sodium; 26 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 19 g protein.

Sara Moulton, Associated Press