The Diet Plate Update—A Great Recipe for Ground Lamb

The classic diet plate. I first discovered it when working for an erstwhile department store tearoom in my youth. And I still enjoy one now and then!

Anybody remember the “diet plate”? Comprised of a hamburger patty, cottage cheese, lettuce and tomato slices, and some cardboardy crackers, this was a restaurant mainstay in and around the 1980s. It was low-carb before low-carb was cool.

During this recent stretch of hot weather, I was thinking about how satisfying and refreshing this simple plate actually is: the juicy burger sided with cool cottage cheese and tangy in-season tomatoes.

I decided it was time for a 2017 update. The new dish has become a hot-weather favorite:

  • Instead of a ground beef patty, use ground lamb: You can generally always find this at Whole Foods.
  • Instead of cottage cheese, use another fresh cheese: Mt. Vikos Sheep & Goat’s Milk Cheese Feta*, also available at Whole Foods. This version of feta is a world apart from the usual industrial feta found in most supermarkets. While domestic industrial feta, (generally made from cow’s milk) is often tangy and dry and not much else, Mt. Vikos, imported from Greece, is not only tangy, but also moist, creamy and rich.

    Today’s Diet Plate: A great recipe for lamb patties.

  • Instead of simply using sliced trucked-in tomatoes, combine chopped local tomatoes with the feta, some halved Kalamata olives, fresh mint, olive oil, salt and pepper for an enticing topper to the lamb patty.
  • Make it all über-local, with radishes, cucumbers and a spare amount of lettuce that you’ve bring home in your next farmers market haul. Toss those veggies in a lemon-mint dressing: Whisk together 3 tablespoons superior-quality olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint and salt and pepper to taste.

You’ve got it: I’ve transformed the basic components of the classic diet plate into a Greek-style salad with a flavorful lamb patty. It’s a fabulous way to take advantage of the best of summer on a refreshing plate. Enjoy!

P.S.: Do you remember the classic diet plate? Do you ever make it? I do, sometimes. There’s something so satisfying about it….

* Note: If you can’t find this feta, or another great Greek feta (made from sheep’s-milk cheese), use crumbled French goat cheese.

 

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