Grilled Flank Steak Pita's with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

This recipe is prepared entirely on the grill.  It's a great recipe for light summer meals.

The flavors are Greek "inspired".  I'm not going to call it Greek because someone will send me a nasty email letting me know that this is NOT an authentic Greek recipe.  Thank goodness we have different countries to inspire the flavors we use.  It sure spices up life.  I love new flavors.  

Brace yourself.  This post has several pictures.  I am going to show you how to make a marinade for the flank steak, a cucumber-yogurt sauce, and grilled vegies.  

It's not hard it just has several steps that can be done a day in advance...that makes it easy.

Let's start with the beef marinade.  You will need:  parsley, mint, rosemary, lemon, garlic, soy sauce, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Wash and coarsely chop the parsley, rosemary and mint.

Place the herbs in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.

Pulse the food processor to chop the herbs.

Coarsely chop the garlic,

add to the food processor.

Add the lemon juice...

...and the soy sauce.

Add the salt and pepper.

With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil.

Blend until all ingredients are finely chopped.

Let me just say something about flank steak.  Why in the heck (Utah word) do the tuck under the ends of the meat???  I'll tell you why.  It's so you can't see all of the meat.  They tucked the fatty ends of this flank under so I couldn't see how marbled the meat was.  If I could have seen the whole flank, I wouldn't have purchased it.  I would like to have the meat a little leaner.  I hope you have better butchers than Utah.

This is completely optional, but I like to lightly score the meat diagonally in each direction.  I think it helps let the flavors penetrate deeper into the meat and it tenderizes the meat a little.

Place the flank steak into a sealable bag.

Pour the marinade over the meat.  Reseal and refrigerate at least 4 hours.  Preferably overnight.  The flavors are so intense if you allow 24 hours marinating time.  The flavor of the mint just comes through along with the brightness of the lemon. 

Now let's make the yogurt sauce that can, also, be made the day a head.

You will need:  Greek yogurt, cumin seed, garlic, lemon, lemon zest, an English cucumber and salt.

Peel the cucumber.  I am using about 7 inches of the long cucumber.

Use a spoon to remove the seeds from the cucumber.  Discard the seeds.

I like my cucumber finely chopped, so I'm slicing long thin strips of the cucumber.

Now dice the cucumber.

Place the cucumber in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Let stand for 10 minutes to release excess liquid.

Place the cumin seed in a small hot skillet.  

Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until lightly toasted.

I like to use a mortar and pestle to lightly crust the cumin seed.  You can use a spice grinder.

In a small mixing bowl, add the yogurt,

cumin seed,

1 teaspoons lemon zest.

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice.

Minced garlic.

A pinch of cayenne.

And the olive oil.

Whisk together.

Place the cucumber in a small strainer.

Rinse with water.

Place on a paper towel to blot off any more liquid.

Add to the yogurt mixture.

Season with salt and pepper.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the flank steak from the plastic bag and discard the marinade.  Place the beef on a hot grill and cook for 5-7 minutes.

Flip the meat over and grill for an additional 5-7 minutes or until medium to medium-rare.  Whatever you like best.

 Remove from grill and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

While the beef is resting, prepare the vegetables.  I love grilled vegetables.  Just to let you know.

You will need a red pepper, yellow pepper and 1/2 of a red onion.


Drizzle with a little olive oil.  Oh maybe 2 teaspoons.

I have a mesh grill basket that I'm using.  Williams-Sonoma - its great.

Season with salt and pepper.

Place the grill basket on a hot grill.

Grill until the peppers and onion start to brown.  Remove from the heat.


After 15 minutes, thinly slice the flank steak.

Remember the yogurt sauce you made?  Get it out of the refrigerator and let's assemble the pita's

You can use purchased pita bread or you could be AMAZING and make your own grilled pita bread.

Open the pocket of the pita.

Spread about a tablespoon or more of the yogurt sauce in the pita.

Add slices of the flank steak.

Add grilled peppers and onions.

I like to add greens.  I'm using Arugula and spinach.  Added health benefits and I like the crunch.  

I'm a texture person.  Let me tell you the crunch of the cucumbers in the yogurt sauce and the flavor of the toasted cumin, and the tart of the lemon are so fabulous in my mouth.  

I just assume if I put a Forsythia wreath on my front door and start grilling, that Mother Nature will remember that winter is officially OVER!  

Grilled Flank Steak with Cucumber-yogurt Sauce

For the flank steaks 

1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
8 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 medium lemons)
1/4 cup soy sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 flank steaks (about 3 lb. total), trimmed of excess fat 
For the sauce 

1 English cucumber (about 3/4 lb.)
Kosher salt
1 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Pinch cayenne
1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper 
Combine the remaining parsley with the mint, rosemary, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the lemon juice, soy sauce, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper and process until smooth. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream.

Put the steaks in a nonreactive baking dish large enough to hold them both. Pour the marinade over them and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Make the sauce
Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and remove the seed core. Finely dice and toss with 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes to release excess liquid. Rinse, drain, and pat dry.
In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber with the yogurt, garlic, cumin, lemon zest and juice, and cayenne. Stir in the olive oil and the reserved chopped parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use. (The sauce can be made up to a day ahead.)

Grill the steaks
Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire. Clean and oil the grill grates.

Remove the flank steak from the marinade, wipe off any excess, and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill the steaks, covered, until grill marks form and the steaks have a nice brown sear, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip the steaks and continue grilling until grill marks form on the other side and the steak is cooked to medium or medium rare, 5 to 7 minutes more. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes.

Recipe inspired from Fine Cooking.

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  1. I appreciate you posted a 15 min wait time before cutting the meat. I learned the importance of that step in my cooking class. Yeah for juicy meat!!
    Maybe if I try this when I get back to Boston it will become spring there too :)

  2. We hope it's spring time for marathon Monday. Even though I'm not running it...dang. One year we ran the marathon during a "nor'easter". It was like running in Utah during the winter. Not good.

  3. This looks sooo good! I am in a health kick, and love when I can add another recipe to the three or so healthy meals I know how to cook:)

  4. I'm pretty sure this runs around 350 calories. I use a lot let meat than most people. I'd rather have the vegies and greens, myself. I would definitely put this in a healthy category.

  5. I'm making this right NOW!! Smells great! hope it turns out just as good as yours! - elissa (ryan's friend) :)

  6. Ryan has a friend?? Hi, Elissa I'm sure your pita's will turn out better. Where are you? We haven't seen you forever!

  7. Thank you Janet, I like all your recepies, god bless you for helping us to be a good cook

  8. Thank you so much for your kind comments. I need a little work myself.