Last year the folks at Sam’s Club challenged me to design an Easter dinner menu entirely on the grill with ingredients I could purchase from Sam’s. With the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having this year, I decided to keep Easter dinner on the grill and the heat out of my kitchen. For the menu I kept with the same general theme and have devised a similar Greek and Mediterranean inspired meal for my family.
While we are really enjoyed the spiced lamb sliders I made last year, I wanted to go in a different direction and searched for an authentic gyro seasoning recipe. After whipping up a big batch of the seasoning mix I added it to a lamb and pork mixture I ground myself from a leg of lamb and some pork shoulder. I covered the seasoned meat with lemon slices and let it get happy in the refrigerator for a few hours before fashioning them like kafta kabobs and skewering them to make it easier to grill.
A kafta kabob, a Lebanese dish traditionally made with beef, is essentially a meatball on a stick. I made these for my son’s first birthday party, which itself was a heavily Mediterranean inspired event, and they were a huge hit. I felt that the shape would be reminiscent of the layers of gyro meat you might normally find nestled into a lightly grilled pita. To serve I stuck with the standard fare – some chopped grape tomatoes, pickled red onions, crumbled feta cheese and a cooling tzatziki sauce.
To round out the meal I’m sticking with simple grilled asparagus, but instead of potatoes I’m going to be serving up an orzo pasta salad with a pea shoot and pistachio pesto. I love making pestos because they are a simple and versatile way to add a lot of flavor to a dish without a lot of work. I generally avoid basil pestos because they can be quite overwhelming, which is why I prefer to go with other greens like arugula, parsley, cilantro, or something more unique like pea shoots. Pasta salads like this can be tossed together quickly for any occasion and the flavors can be adjusted to best suit your protein.
My test run went well the other night and I’m very excited for Easter dinner this year. If you haven’t already nailed down your Easter dinner plans, or if Greek and Mediterranean cuisine appeals to you, I hope that my menu has provided some inspiration.
Gyro Style Kafta Kabobs
- 3# leg of lamb, diced into 1 inch cubes
- 2# pork shoulder, diced into 1 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup canola or other neutral oil
- 1/3 cup gyro seasoning mix
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Grind the meat using a fine plate, then toss with the oil and seasoning
- Layer the lemon slices over the seasoned ground meat, then refrigerate for 30 minutes to several hours
- Soak wooded skewers in water for at least thirty minutes
- Form the meat into five to six inch rolls around the soaked skewers and toss on a hot grill
- Serve on grill warmed pita bread with chopped grape tomatoes, pickled red onions, crumbled feta cheese, and tzatziki sauce
Pea Shoot & Pistachio Pesto
- 1 package pea shoots
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- zest of a lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Add all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine
- Slowly drizzle in oil olive while food processor is running until desired consistency is reached
Orzo Pasta Salad
- 1 cup orzo prepared to directions
- 3/4 cup pea shoot and pistachio pesto
- 1 cup diced grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Add orzo pasta and pesto to a large mixing bowl and toss to combine until the pasta is well coated. Use a little more, if necessary or desired
- Toss in the grape tomatoes, almonds, and feta, then refrigerate until ready to serve