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Beef Kafta with Tahini Sauce #SundaySupper

The unusual combination of spices found in these Lebanese Beef Kafta pita sandwiches will have the whole family coming back for more. 

Beef Kafta makes a great budget friendly meal the whole family will love.

Poor ground beef. It’s the vacuum cleaner of the beef world. Dependable, necessary, but not particularly glamorous. I mean, do you know anyone who goes out of their way to use their vacuum cleaner?  It’s just kind of…there. We’re thankful it exists, but no one is really clamoring to be the next spokesperson for vacuums (Unless you are, and then that’s cool and not weird at all…ahem).

I think this is probably how ground beef feels. Now, the analogy may seem way off (and I’ll even admit it’s a stretch), but hear me out. Ground beef has been relegated to the world of meatloaf and casserole. It’s seen as the reliable but boring go-to for quick and budget-friendly meals. And really, that’s not a bad identity. We need budget-friendly ground beef.

But friends, I’m here to tell you, ground beef can be so much more.

Beef Kafta Pita Sandwiches are light, fresh, and perfect for summer.

Have you ever found a new attachment for your vacuum cleaner that changed everything? Or maybe a setting on your dishwasher that blew your mind? Suddenly that plain ol’ contraption was THE BEST THING EVER! For me, it was the upholstery attachment on my vacuum cleaner. It had a powerful, manly sounding whir and somehow managed to whisk pet hair right off of my sofa.

It. changed. everything.

Tired of boring ground beef? Spice it up with this easy Beef Kafta!

Guys, this Beef Kafta is the upholstery attachment of ground beef. It will change the way you think about this humble freezer staple. Don’t be afraid of the unfamiliar word Kafta. It simply refers to a Lebanese style preparation for beef which includes parsley and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice. I know these may seem like a strange addition for beef, but trust me on this one. It creates the kind of flavor that will make you cock your head, raise your eyebrow, and then immediately dive back in for a second bite.

Think of Kafta as Middle Eastern meatloaf. It’s just as easy to prepare, but has a great flavor twist to brighten up your family dinners. I threaded the kafta onto skewers and grilled them, but, truthfully, the skewers were kind of a pain, and it was tough to keep the meat from falling off the skewers. Next time, I’ll simply shape them into patties and grill them like a burger or fry them in a bit of oil in a cast iron skillet.

I served these with my homemade Tabbouleh salad (but you could just as easily pick some up at the store), the creamiest hummus ever and pita bread I burnt grilled to perfection on the grill. The tahini sauce is a cinch to make and adds a nice pop of lemon. This recipe makes quite a bit, but I don’t recommend halving it because they make great leftovers! Slap some leftover beef on a grilled cheese sandwich with some horseradish sauce or crumble it over a salad the next day for an entirely new beef experience.

Beef Kafta- The fresh, warmly spiced, Mediterranean cousin of meatloaf. Give it a try!

Today my fellow #SundaySupper-ites are sharing more fresh ways to incorporate beef into your family’s menu rotation. From stir fries to stuffed steaks, you’ll find loads of ideas. Check them out below the recipe!

And for more last minute inspiration,  you can also check out The Beef Checkoff’s Pinterest board and follow them on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

beef logo

Beef Kafta Kabobs

Prep Time 20 minsPrep Time
Cook Time 20 minsCook Time
Total Time 40 mins Total Time
Yields 6-8


  • 2 slices sandwich bread
  • about 1/2 cup water
  • 2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • freshly ground pepper

For the tahini sauce

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Water as needed to thin
  • Salt to taste

To serve

  • Warmed/Toasted/Grilled Pita Bread
  • Tabbouleh
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Chopped red onion


  1. Place the sandwich bread in a small bowl and cover with water. Set aside to soak while you continue with the recipe.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beef, onion, garlic, parsley, allspice, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom. Use your hands to gently toss the mixture together.
  3. Remove the bread from the water and squeeze it to get rid of any excess water. Tear it into small pieces and add it to the meat. Add the beaten egg and again use your hands to combine the mixture until it's well mixed. Shape the meat into patties or football shapes, or thread them onto skewers and place on a baking sheet. Refrigerate overnight or for at least an hour.
  4. Meanwhile, for the tahini sauce, whisk together the tahini and lemon juice. Add warm water, a Tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is smooth and drizzle-able (yes, I made up a word just for this). Add salt to taste.
  5. To cook, preheat the grill or heat a cast iron skillet with a bit of oil to medium heat. Add the patties to the grill and cook for 7-8 minutes a side or until cooked through. Remove from heat.
  6. To serve, place the patties in warmed pita bread with tabbouleh salad, sliced tomatoes, and red onion. Drizzle with tahini sauce.


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Thanks for cooking with me today!

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 Recipe adapted from Elly Says Opa

This post is sponsored by The Beef Checkoff. All opinions are my own.

More great recipes for beef:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

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{ 44 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

  • Jennifer Drummond August 3, 2014, 6:16 AM

    Your photos are gorgeous! I love the spices that you used. This would make the perfect dinner! Pinned!

  • Renee Dobbs August 3, 2014, 6:30 AM

    I need this in my life and soon. Very soon.

  • Liz August 3, 2014, 7:27 AM

    You are exactly right! You have transported ground beef into a lovely, company worthy entree! Sounds divine!

  • Tammi Forcier @ Momma's Meals August 3, 2014, 7:56 AM

    I love ground beef! I agree it’s left out a lot isn’t it! I love the creativity you used by putting it on a skewer! I can’t wait to try it!

  • Cindys Recipes August 3, 2014, 8:42 AM

    I’ve never tried beef this way thanks for the recipe!

  • Family Foodie August 3, 2014, 9:17 AM

    It’s true that ground beef can be so much more and you sure did a great job showcasing it!

  • Constance August 3, 2014, 9:35 AM

    Oh my heavens, that looks AMAZING!!!!!

  • kimchi_mom August 3, 2014, 10:58 AM

    I love kefta/kafta kebabs! This dish takes center stage when I host a Mddle Eastern themed gathering. So flavorful!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood August 4, 2014, 10:46 PM

      Haha…I’m laughing because I couldn’t figure out whether to call them Kefta or Kafta. I saw it both ways so I finally just went with one. Should’ve gone with the slash. 🙂

  • Alice Choi August 3, 2014, 11:14 AM

    oh my gawd. . Courtney. . this dish looks SO good!!! LOVE this with your Tabbouleh salad and the hummus on a pita. . this is perfection right here.

  • Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious August 3, 2014, 12:44 PM

    Yes, please, I want some. Right now. And your leftover suggestions are great!

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog August 3, 2014, 12:53 PM

    I love your analogy here. I agree, there’s nothing wrong with ground beef. Sure, it’s not glamorous, but it sure is tasty. Love this. Pinned.

  • Shaina Wizov August 3, 2014, 1:28 PM

    I absolutely love Mediterranean food. The spices and flavors in your dish sound awesome! Tahini sauce is so tasty too, I have to try making my own!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood August 4, 2014, 10:45 PM

      The tahini sauce is so easy to make and would go well with other Mediterranean food as well!

  • cupcakekalechip August 3, 2014, 1:32 PM

    Kafta Burgers are sooo happening at my house ASAP!

  • Alida August 3, 2014, 2:07 PM

    This looks incredible! And you are hysterical..yet totally right on. It’s always those little hidden treasures that end up being the greatest ever!

  • Beate @ The Not So Cheesy Kitc August 3, 2014, 2:21 PM

    Oh, I love Beef Kafta Kabobs…and am so excited for your recipe. Yum!!!

  • littleredkitchen August 3, 2014, 2:37 PM

    Now when you buy the good ground beef lots of excellent stuff happens because it tastes amazing. I see this in my future.

  • DB-The Foodie Stuntman August 3, 2014, 6:30 PM

    Glad to see ground beef is so versatile! You’re correct that it’s under-appreciated.

  • Gwen August 3, 2014, 8:39 PM

    I think that this recipe is fabulous! Everything about it, especially that you served it w tabbouli and tahini sauce.

  • Gwen August 3, 2014, 8:43 PM

    so glad i found your blog! I’m stalking you everywhere now 😉

  • TreatYourselfSweeter August 3, 2014, 10:27 PM

    Yum! I think I just found dinner 🙂

  • Karen @ The Food Charlatan August 4, 2014, 2:14 PM

    “this Beef Kafta is the upholstery attachment of ground beef” haha Courtney, I love you. This looks fabulous!!

  • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons August 4, 2014, 5:26 PM

    This has got to be one of the strangest blog posts I’ve ever read, and I love it for that. I remember my first time making kafta, totally cringing at adding the cinnamon. But it just works! It’s mind-blowing, really!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood August 4, 2014, 10:31 PM

      Haha. My brain thinks up the weirdest analogies. I’ve just learned to embrace it. 🙂

  • Bobbi Renee Hass-Burleson August 6, 2014, 4:34 PM

    LOL I love your sense of humor!! We would get along well 🙂 I love this recipe. I have been wanting to give it a try but the Mr has been hesitant. I will just tell him to step aside and let me get down to work!!

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