Balkan Burger with Roasted Pepper Relish

A delicious and unique twist on the classic American burger, Balkan Burgers originate from the Balkan region of Europe. It typically consists of a beef patty seasoned with a blend of spices, such as paprika, cumin, and garlic, and is topped with a variety of toppings, such as grilled onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. Our Balkan Burger recipe is filled with feta cheese, for an ooey-gooey, plump main dish the entire family will enjoy. Don’t forget to top with homemade roasted pepper relish for a little spice!

Balkan Burger Recipe


5 lbs ground beef or lamb
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 tsp oregano
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp spicy paprika
1 tsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
10 oz feta cheese, sliced approximately ¼ inch thick


  1. Remove meat from refrigerator approximately 45 minutes prior to preparation.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, knead together all ingredients except feta cheese.
  3. Shape approximately ¾ cup of the mixture into a ball. Flatten it and create a hollow in which to place a slice of feta. Close the mixture over the top of the feta. Repeat until all the meat is used.
  4. Grill the cheese-filled patties on medium heat, until done to medium.
  5. Eat while piping hot with roasted pepper relish and a side of cucumber salad.

Roasted Pepper Relish Recipe


4 red bell peppers, whole
2 spicy cubanelle peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne or spicy Spanish paprika
1 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste


  1. Roast whole red and cubanelle peppers on a medium grill until moderately charred. Place in a tightly covered bowl to cool. Once cool, remove skin, stems and seeds. Do not rinse in water!
  2. Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil until tender.
  3. Add red wine vinegar, cumin, cayenne or paprika, black pepper. Cook for a minute or two.
  4. Turn off the heat and add roasted peppers. Stir. Cover tightly and let cool to room temperature.
  5. Serve when cool. Store in refrigerator in a covered container for up to one week.

Recipe by Keith Recker / Photography by Dave Bryce

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