Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend composed of sumac, sesame, thyme, and a variety of other dried herbs, infuses these burgers with a unique, almost woodsy aroma. A mixture of yogurt, dill, lemon, and cucumber makes for a bright, tangy tzatziki sauce. It’s the perfect condiment for crispy oven-baked zucchini fries.
Make the zucchini fries: Preheat oven to 450°F. Wash and dry all produce. Pour the panko in a small bowl with a large pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the zucchini on a parchment-lined baking sheet with a drizzle of oil. Coat each stick evenly in the panko, pressing to adhere, and return to the baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
Meanwhile, peel the cucumber, then halve lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon, then dice one half. Thinly slice the remaining half into half moons. Roughly chop 2 tbsp dill. Zest and halve the lemon. Mince or grate the garlic.
Make the dill tzatziki: In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1/3 cup diced cucumber (or 2/3 cup for 4 people), half the za’atar, half the chopped dill, and half the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. (USE IT UP: Stir the remaining diced cucumber into a glass of ice water for a refreshing drink!)
Make the burgers: In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, remaining garlic and remaining za’atar. Season with salt and pepper. Form mixture into 2 patties, each about 1/2-inch thick (or 4 for 4 people). Heat a large drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the patties to the pan and cook 3-5 minutes per side, until cooked to desired doneness. (TIP: Inserting a thermometer into cooked meat should display an internal temperature of 160°F.) °F.)
Toast the pita: Meanwhile, slice the pita in half and place in the oven to toast for 1-2 minutes or until just golden.
Assemble: Stuf the pitas with the burgers, sliced cucumber, remaining dill, and some dill tzatziki. Serve the burgers alongside the zucchini fries, with the remaining dill tzatziki for dipping. Enjoy! GRILLING TIP: Instead of pan-frying, BBQ burgers on medium heat, with lid closed, 4 to 6 min per side, until cooked to temperature above.