• Yield: 4 servings

  • Time: 15 minutes prep, 30 minutes cooking, 45 minutes total

What to do with that pound of ground turkey on sale at the grocery store besides making the same turkey burgers or meat loaf? Why not make small meatballs to stuff with shredded lettuce into pitas spread with a minty cucumber dressing, the way the Greeks do?

The meatballs are just as good made with ground lamb, in which case you might want to reduce the amount of cucumber and increase the mint in the dressing. In any case, just remember that too much dressing will make the toasted pitas unpleasantly soggy. All you need to serve with these sandwiches are small bowls of cured black olives and wedges of tangy feta cheese.


  • 4 slices bacon

  • 1 pound ground turkey

  • 1 small onion, minced

  • 1 celery rib, minced

  • 2 slices white loaf bread, finely chopped

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 cucumber , peeled, seeded, and minced

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves

  • 4 pita breads (6 inches in diameter), lightly toasted

  • Shredded romaine lettuce leaves


1. In a skillet, fry the bacon over moderate heat till crisp; drain on paper towels and crumble.

2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a large baking pan.

3. In a large bowl, combine the bacon, turkey, onion, celery, white bread, egg, Worcestershire, salt and pepper, and heavy cream. Mix with your hands till well blended, and form into meatballs about the size of small marbles. Arrange on the prepared baking pan and bake till cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, cucumber, and mint in a small bowl and stir till well blended.

5. To make the sandwiches, slice a large pocket along one edge of the pitas, spread equal amounts of the cucumber dressing over the interiors, and fill the pockets with meatballs and the shredded lettuce.

From From the Ground Up: Hundreds of Amazing Recipes from Around the World for Ground Meats, Including Beef, Chicken, Pork, Seafood, and More by James Villas (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011). Copyright © 2011 by James Villas. Used with permission of the publisher.