You all know how much I love Middle Eastern food. There is no other set of flavors in the world that come close to competing. The only thing about that is…Middle Eastern cuisine can be heavy on the bread. I mean, many of the countries don’t even use utensils. They just use pita. And really, who wouldn’t rather use bread as a utensil?
I messed around with a few of my kafta recipes and found a good mixture of them that doesn’t use bread crumbs, nuts. or any other starch as filler, and they turned out perfectly! They were so perfectly tender, juicy, and delicious! The most important part is to use a food processor of some sort when making the meat mixture. That way, everything was mixed (and further minced) really well. The tzatziki lends itself well to the meatballs, as well as the lamb shawarma I made tonight (recipe to follow soon). I might even eat it like yogurt–it has just under 1 g carbs per tablespoon (it’s about 0.7 g per tablespoon), but it’s not something you’ll eat huge quantities of. Raw garlic can get spicy!
You can likely make these with any meat mince, but traditionally, they would be lamb. Unless you REALLY don’t like lamb, try it out before you change up the meat. It’s to die for!
18 servings (1 meatball per serving)
Nutrition per serving: Calories (50), Fat (3.1 g), Saturated Fat (1.1 g), Cholesterol (15.7 mg), Sodium (15), Carbs (0.1 g), Protein (5.1 g)
1# ground lamb
1 Tbsp chopped mint
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp fresh thyme
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1.- Heat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Finely chop mint, cilantro, and time.
2.- In the bowl of a food processor, break up the ground lamb into a few chunks. Add spices, chopped herbs, and garlic. Pulse for a minute or two until the meat is well-mixed and becoming smooth.
3.- Roll into 15-20 meatballs (I made 18, so the nutrition is based on 18 meatballs) and place on baking sheet. Cook in oven for 18-20 minutes. Serve with tzatziki.
Makes about 3 C. Serving size is 1 Tbsp.
Nutrition: Calories (20), Fat (1.6 g), Saturated Fat (0.5 g), Cholesterol (1.6 mg), Sodium (3.4 mg), Total Carbs (0.7 g), Sugar (0.5 g), Protein (0.9 g)
16 oz full-fat Greek yogurt (2 C)
2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced (set back 1/2 cucumber’s worth of fine dice in a bowl and save)
1 tsp basil
1 tsp tarragon
2 tsp chopped mint
2 tsp chopped dill
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1.- Put everything except the reserved cucumber mince in a food processor or blender. Pulse until mixed well.
2.- Pour into bowl, stir in reserved cucumber, and season with salt and pepper to taste. I added about a tsp of Lebanese seven-spice as well, but that’s just a personal preference.
3.- Chill at least 30 minutes before serving. This goes well with pretty much every meat on the planet.