A meatball is a great versatile thing that can be everything from a main course to an appetizer. My Middle Eastern meatballs are very flavorful and everyone loves the complex spice mix. The Middle Eastern spice blend may seem like a lot of stuff, but I normally make a triple batch of it and keep it in its own jar to use whenever so I don’t have to make it every time. The recipe for the spice blend came from someone else, I think the New York Times but I have made adjustments and can’t find the original that I was working from.

There are three ways I like to serve my easy Middle Eastern meatballs.  The simplest is as an appetizer I serve just the yogurt sauce and the meatballs on a tray and let everyone enjoy. For a quick meal on the run pop the meatballs into a pita or wrap with mixed greens, cucumber yogurt sauce, and some veggies (hummus is a great stand in for the yogurt sauce if you rather). If you have the time and want a lovely meal make something like a salad platter you might get at a Mediterranean restaurant with lightly dressed greens, tomato, pita, cucumber yogurt sauce and pickled onions (like in these photos).

Easy Middle Eastern Meatballs beef

I generally make beef meatballs but you can use just about any ground meat: turkey, lamb or even chicken in your Middle Eastern Meatballs. This is a very forgiving recipe and the sides are what I like, if you don’t like my cucumber yogurt sauce, than make a sour cream based sauce or hummus. I like arugula dressed with lemon and olive oil but use the greens you like and have in the house. Same goes for the pickled onions they are optional, so if you hate onions skip them! If you are concerned about the taste of this or any meatball recipe I highly recommend that you make a small sample one and pop it in the microwave just to cook through so you can try it before you make and cook all your meatballs. A test meatball lets you adjust spices and salt before you cook a pound of under flavored ground meat that you can’t fix.

Easy Middle Eastern Meatballs

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs ground beef or other ground meat
  • ½ onion grated
  • Salt to taste
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Spice Blend

  • 1 Tbs coriander
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 1 Tbs dry garlic
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • ¾ tsp ground mustard
  • ¾ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Juice half a lemon
  • Half a cucumber peeled seeded and grated
  • Adobo season salt

Quick Pickled Onions

  • 1 small onion sliced
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Splash white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350. Mix up the spice blend. Add the spices to the ground meat with the grated onion, salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix well and then form the meatballs, a small ice cream scoop is perfect for the job. Place the meatballs on a greased baking rack over a pan or a broiler pan. Bake for 15-25 minutes.

For the Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and adjust salt to personal preference. Cucumber Yogurt Sauce can be made in advance and kept for days in the fridge.

For the Quick Pickled Onions

  1. Thin slice the onion, a mandolin is great for this, then add the rest of the ingredients. The quick pickled onions can be made in advance and kept for days in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

Serve on bed of arugula or lettuce that has been lightly dressed with lemon, salt and olive oil with pita or whole wheat tortillas on the side.

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