Lamb arayes are delicious Lebanese stuffed pitas with herby, spiced mince that are grilled & baked so they are juicy inside & crispy outside.
Cooking this dish takes around 20-25 minutes and preparation takes around 15 minutes, but you can make the meat mix in advance and stuff and cook them whenever you are ready.
Lamb Stuffed Pita Bread
Sometimes you stumble up a recipe that just makes you go phwoar… I want some of that!
These lamb stuffed arayes were one of those recipes for me, I caught them on a TV show when I was flicking through the channels and they have been a bit obsessed ever since.
They are gloriously simple, they are essentially pita bread stuffed with minced meat, spices and herbs that are grilled until crispy outside and filled with juicy meat!
I played around with loads of flavours as the filling and pretty much arrived at the conclusion that you can’t really go wrong. Think of complementary Middle Eastern flavours mix them together and your job is one.
The flavours that I used in mine were lifted pretty much directly from my lamb kofta recipe.
Onion, parsley and garlic do all the heavy lifting and the highlights are provided by sumac, cumin, allspice and coriander.
Cooking them is so easy, chuck them in a griddle pan, get some nice griddle marks, and then transfer them to the oven until golden.
What are you waiting for, get stuck in they will be the best sandwich that you eat this week!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use minced beef or chicken?
Yes absolutely, but I would recommend changing up the spicing of the meat a little so that it fits with the meat a little better.
My flavours are unashamedly designed to compliment lamb, but you could go with zaatar, cumin and coriander if you are cooking with beef. They are the same flavours that I use in my beef kofta recipe.
If I were making chicken or turkey arayes I would again look at coriander and use baharat spice blend and maybe add a little chilli to liven things up.
Do I have to grill the pitas before baking?
No, you can just throw them in the oven, but getting some griddle marks on there adds a little more flavour and texture.
Can I make this in advance?
I personally do not think that Arayes reheat particularly well. But you can make the stuffing in advance, it’s actually better when rested, and then stuff and cook just before you are ready to cook.
Can I cook Arayes on the BBQ?
Yes, and they are even better than cooking them in the oven!
Set up your BBQ with direct and indirect heat zones and get it nice and hot. Get some nice grill marks on the direct heat then transfer them to the indirect heat for 6-10 minutes.
These lamb-stuffed arayes are a wonderfully versatile meal you could stick a salad on the side and call them lunch or go to town and make a more substantial meal.
If I were to add a salad, I would go with something like the Lebanese malfouf cabbage salad.
If I wanted to bulk it out then you could add potatoes as a side. I serve them with batata harra in these pictures, a wonderful Lebanese potato dish.
Finally, I would add a dip. Here I have mixed 150g of yoghurt with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon or two of pomegranate molasses.
It is delicious and works so well with both the arayes and the potatoes!
I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- Griddle pan (optional).
- Mixing bowl.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
Arayes are a Lebanese grilled stuffed pita bread "sandwich", my version fills them with minced lamb, loads of parsley, sumac, coriander, cumin and allspice.
- 3 Pita Breads
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
For the Filling:
- 250g (9oz) Minced Lamb
- 100g (1 Small-medium) Red Onion
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 60g (½ Cup) Chopped Parsley
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Sumac
- 1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
- ½ Tsp Ground Coriander
- ¼ Tsp Ground Cumin
- ⅛ Tsp Ground Allspice
- ⅛ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
- Peel and grate the red onion, then squeeze out as much moisture as you can, then place it in a bowl with the lamb.
- Peel and mash the garlic cloves and add them to the lamb mix.
- Chop the parsley as finely as you can and add it to the lamb.
- Add the salt, sumac, smoked paprika, ground coriander, cumin, allspice and cinnamon, then get in with your hands and mix it all together. Then leave it to stand for as long as you can, this is superb made the day before but if you have no time, don't worry it will still taste great!
- Heat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat.
- Slit the top of the pita breads and then split the meat mix into three and stoff the pitas pressing them down to create a single flat layer.
- Brush the pitas with the olive oil then place them in the griddle pan to get some nice grill marks.
- Transfer the arayes to a cooling rack over a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes at 220°C or 430°F.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 777Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 1237mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 4gSugar: 18gProtein: 45g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.