Select Page

Melissa Thompson’s Spiced Beef Wraps

Welcome to City Harvest Cooking with Melissa Thompson

City Harvest Cooking is a series where guest chefs and cooks join City Harvest in its London food rescue warehouse to create amazing dishes from surplus food. It’s all about being resourceful and getting creative with whatever might be in City Harvest’s food redistribution depot on the day of cooking. The beauty of food redistribution is its unpredictability, although having a network of fresh produce suppliers means that we often see seasonal goods come through our depot doors.

The third chef in our first series of City Harvest Cooking is cook, food writer and author Melissa Thompson. In 2014 Melissa started a sell-out supper club that grew into a pop-up serving across London. In 2022 her debut cookbook, Motherland, was published celebrating the food and history of Jamaica. For us, Melissa’s role in advocacy and her resourceful and no-waste approach to cookery meant it was a no-brainer to involve her in City Harvest Cooking! 

In Melissa’s second City Harvest Cooking episode, surplus beef mince and Belazu rose harissa paste caught her eye. A great sharing dish, these flatbreads filled with flavourful spiced beef patties, fresh aubergine salad and cooling herb yoghurt will knock your socks off! Recreate this delicious dish at home using the recipe below.

Author, food writer and cook, Melissa Thompson at City Harvest London food charity

“I spent the day cooking at City Harvest HQ, having gone to a food bank in the morning and just getting an idea of what City Harvest do, how they rescue surplus food and then redistribute it to organisation & other charities. My mind has been blown, it’s an incredible operation.:

Ingredients  (serves 8-10)

Prep time: 30 mins, cooking time: 30 mins, total 1 hour.

For the patties:

  • 750 kg beef mince
  • 1 – 2 sachets Belazu rose harissa paste
  • 1-2 red onions, finely diced
  • 2-3 fresh garlic cloves, grated or finely diced
  • 200g crispy fried onions
  • Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Handful fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt

For the aubergine salad:

  • 2 aubergines, finely sliced
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 handful spring onions, finely sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 sachet Belazu rose harissa paste
  • 1 tsp salt

Yoghurt dressing:

  • 200g natural yoghurt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Handful chives, finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Flatbreads or pitta bread to serve.  


For the aubergine salad: 

  1. Thinly slice your aubergine and dry fry in a large frying pan on medium heat. The thinner the slices are, the quicker they will cook. 
  2. Replace the aubergine slices as and when they are ready. 
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by chopping a handful of fresh mint, fresh parsley, finely sliced red onion (half an onion), lemon zest, juice of 1/2 lemon, olive oil, white wine vinegar and half a sachet of Belazu rose harissa. 
  4. Slice the plum tomatoes and add them to a bowl with the onion, aubergine, herbs and dressing and give it a good stir to full coat all the elements in the dressing.

For the patties: 

  1. Finely dice the remainder of the red onion and grate the garlic cloves into a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Add the beef mince and sachets of Belazu rose harissa to the bowl and mix it together with your hands to ensure it’s all fully incorporated. 
  3. For an extra flourish of flavour, add approx. 200g of crispy fried onions to the mince mix and combine. 
  4. Season with a generous pinch of salt.
  5. TOP TIP: fry off a small amount of the mixture to cook through and check for seasoning before forming and frying all the patties. 
  6. Once you’re happy with the seasoning, form the patties into the size of a golf ball, mould them into more ovular shapes and add them to the pan, flattening them with your hands to increase the surface area. 
  7. Fry these gently until crispy on the outside, and fully cooked through on the inside (as you would cook beef burgers) 

For the yoghurt: 

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine natural yoghurt with the juice of 1/2 lemon, chopped fresh mint, spring onion and chives. 
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste and give it a good mix.

Assembling your wraps: 

  1. Using shop-bought flatbreads or pitta pockets, fill your wraps generously with a bed of aubergine salad, followed by the patties and cover in the yoghurt dressing. Garnish with any leftover herb of your choice (parsley, mint or chive in this instance). Serve and enjoy! 

“I think it’s really important to support City Harvest because it’s combating food waste and its repurposing food to give access or to give people who need it access to nutritious, fresh and tasty food.”

Enjoy this recipe?

Our recipe page hosts a variety of recipes from chefs, food partners, supporters and our charity community. If you enjoyed making this recipe, check out some more.