Lebanese Meatballs

Lebanese Meatballs ~ you can’t help but fall in love with these tender beef and lamb meatballs made with tons of fresh herbs, spices, and tangy goat cheese!

I know.  These look really good, don’t they?  Little spiced meatballs are one of the things I make over and over again.  But I do try and experiment with something a little different each time.  This time I made them a little spicier and a little greener.  I don’t know why, but flavors tend to get sucked up by ground meat dishes like meatballs and meatloaves.  It helps to have a pretty heavy hand with the seasonings if you want the flavors to come through in the end.

We had these meatballs with the Hummus and Laffa Bread the other night.  I like meatballs because you can have just a little meat as part of a mostly vegetarian dinner.

And once you have the meatball ‘formula’ down, you can tweak it any way you like.  My formula is an egg and half a cup of some kind of bread crumb for every pound of ground meat. The rest is up for grabs.

For these meatballs I added a little extra in the way of spices—cardamom, cumin, allspice and lots of salt and pepper.  Cinnamon can be substituted for the cardamom if you don’t have any.  I love the exotic combinations of spices in Middle Eastern meats.  You can experiment with other spices, too, like paprika, coriander, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg and chilies.

I also used a heavy hand with the greens…scallion, parsley and mint.

Just for a little more flavor and texture I added some crumbled goat cheese.  You could also use feta.

Lebanese Meatballs

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (grind some fresh in your mini processor if you have any bread lying around, or use prepared crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup finely crumbled goat cheese (you can use feta)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom (or cinnamon)
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil for browning
  • pine nuts for garnish
    Yogurt Sauce
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 1/4 cup tahini (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, parsley, mint, or a combination, finely minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. For the meatballs: Put everything except the olive oil into a large bowl. Make sure you egg is pre-beaten. With as little manipulation as possible, combine all the ingredients thoroughly together. The less you work the mixture the more tender your meatballs will be.
  3. Form into small balls and set on a plate. Using a scooper makes the process clean and easy. Mine was 1 3/4 inch.
  4. If you want to do this part ahead, you can, just cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till you're ready to cook.
  5. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs, in batches, for several minutes, turning them once or twice in the pan.
  6. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, until done. The time will depend on the size of your meatballs, I like to use my cooking thermometer to check one; it should read about 160 degrees. They will continue to cook a bit after they're out.
  7. For the sauce mix up all the ingredients and thin with a little milk if it seems too thick. This can be made ahead.
  8. Serve the meatballs with the sauce and a few pine nuts for garnish.
http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/lebanese-meatballs/

 

 

39 Comments

  • Reply
    Cindy Oley
    December 11, 2016 at 10:30 am

    I would like to make these ahead for Xmas, can they be frozen? Should I freeze them uncooked or cooked?

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 11, 2016 at 10:49 am

      Meatballs freeze well, Cindy, and you can do them either way, cooked, or uncooked. Either way you would set them out on a tray in a single layer and freeze until solid, and then put into a good thick freezer baggie or container. If you freeze them uncooked, you will need to let them thaw before cooking. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Adriana
    January 17, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    What degree should I bake them?

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 17, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      350F Adriana.

  • Reply
    Recipe roundup April 2014 | SterlingFink
    March 17, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    […] Lebanese Meatballs from The View From Great Island.  These meatballs were excellent and easy to make. Since it can be a butt pain to get meatballs thoroughly cooked without scorching their outsides (especially if you, like me, cannot learn to simply make smaller meatballs) these go in the oven for a bit after pan frying.  The meatballs are, of course, delicious: beef, lamb, goat cheese, scallions, cumin, cardamom.  (I omitted the mint.) But the sauce was insane.  I’m glad I cut it in half because we hardly put a dent in the small pond it created.  It’s super duper-zingy!  Full of fresh cilantro and lemon and raw garlic.  Ugh.  Yass.  Serve with saffron or turmeric rice and kiss it all goodbye because there won’t be leftovers. […]

  • Reply
    tara piowaty
    February 24, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Can these be made with dry mint?

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 24, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      I don’t recommend it Tara. Just leave out the mint if you don’t have it, it will be fine.

  • Reply
    CK
    February 9, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I’m making these for a party this weekend but the day is going to be so busy that I have to completely prepare them the night before. Any suggestions for reheating them? I’m concerned they will dry out. They look so delicious, I don’t want to ruin them!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 9, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Meatballs are tricky to reheat, I would do it on a very gentle heat with some sort of liquid to keep them moist. I would do it on the stove so you have more control…good luck with the party!

  • Reply
    Judi
    December 11, 2014 at 9:42 am

    my Palestinian SO ate one not knowing what they were and his eyes shot wide open because “the taste like something out of a lebanese restaurant”.
    Impressed as I was by his palate, I was more so impressed by these meatballs, moist, savory, tender, and perfectly spiced. and SO EASY!
    I made these with all turkey and pickled labneh instead of feta (cause its all I had) and they were amazing!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 11, 2014 at 9:47 am

      Wow great compliment! I never thought of making them with turkey, I’ll try that. Thanks for visiting Judi!

  • Reply
    Kymelle
    August 13, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Thank you for a delicious and super easy recipe! My 3 young sons loved these! :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 13, 2014 at 6:52 am

      I’m so glad, Kymelle, I’ve made them several times and everybody I’ve served them too agrees! Thanks for stopping by.

  • Reply
    10 Best Meatball Recipes on Pinterest - I Breathe... I'm Hungry...
    November 4, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    […] Lebanese Meatballs with Yogurt Dipping Sauce from The View from Great […]

  • Reply
    Christina Conte
    May 21, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Holy cow those look good (no pun intended!) I think you could make cardboard look delicious!

  • Reply
    Christina
    October 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    AMAZING!!!! Just finished making these for tailgating this afternoon and my husband & I are having a hard time staying away from them – wonderful recipe!!!!

  • Reply
    Alison Burtt
    October 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    I made these tonight and while the meatballs turned out just wonderfully, the sauce was not what I expected. Maybe it was just my lemon, but it was way too tart for me. I added some honey to remedy it, which helped a bit, but do you have any other suggestions?

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    October 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Sounds DELISH to me!!!

  • Reply
    Yasmeen
    August 3, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Lovely Middle Eastern dish! I’m partial to those flavors for obvious reasons I guess :) I’m making some tonight, funny enough.

    I especially love the big handful of mint – that’s what my grandmother always used.

  • Reply
    Jan Rossi
    July 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    dude..nice shots!!! I am sooo going to make this

    PINNED as well!!

  • Reply
    Jacki C
    July 9, 2012 at 1:16 am

    I made these last night with some ground lamb picked up at the farmer’s market–they were delicious and even my picky eaters loved them. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Reply
    GinaT
    May 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    These are a staple for me now. I make a big batch and freeze them. They are fantastic, thx for posting :)

  • Reply
    grace
    February 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    more lebanese goodness! i love the yogurt sauce you’ve made to accompany these juicy and flavor-filled balls. well done!

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    February 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    We use to go to a Lebanese restaurant(since closed) and loved everything on the menu. I really want to reach in and grab one. You make awesome recipes.

  • Reply
    At Anna's kitchen table
    February 19, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    They look fantastic! I agree, one does have to be a tad heavy handed when seasoning meatballs.
    I think you’d like my keftedhes ( recipe on my blog)

  • Reply
    yummychunklet
    February 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    These sound delicious! Love all the spices you have on top of the meat.

  • Reply
    gigiofca
    February 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Bookmarked!

  • Reply
    Cornelia
    February 19, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Just have to try these, they look tasty! :)

  • Reply
    Mel (Sharky Oven Gloves)
    February 19, 2012 at 9:39 am

    These sound so good!! I love the combination of all those flavours together… Can’t wait to try these!

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    February 19, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Can’t beat good meatballs and I love these with mint.

  • Reply
    Rose
    February 19, 2012 at 3:51 am

    Delicious! I happened to make pork meatballs last night. Loved them!

  • Reply
    Gerlinde in Dallas
    February 18, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Your meatballs look amazing! Lamb and yogurt.. fresh herbs and spices.. right up my alley!

  • Reply
    Amy
    February 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I LOVE all of this middle eastern food you’ve been posting! Just yesterday I bought myself a big bag of zahtar, which I have yet to try (hoping to make some laffa or pita-less pita to spread on top), but now I’m wondering if it would be good in something like meatballs…? Anyway, really excited to play around with this formula of yours.

    And I feel like middle eastern food in general is great for using a little bit of meat to go a long way by using other vegetables or grains or beans. Thanks for the post + inspiration, Sue!

  • Reply
    Steph@TheChickpeaChickadee
    February 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    These look amazing. I like that you added more spices. They also look really moist. YUM!

  • Reply
    Mary
    February 18, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    What a perfect meal. I love anything that smacks of North African cooking.These sound wonderful. I especially love the sauce you’ve made to serve them with. Have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    A Trifle Rushed
    February 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    How truly delicious, I could just eat these now, and with houmus and bread, perfect.

  • Reply
    Heather @girlichef.com
    February 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    No. These do not sound good. They sound FLIPPIN’ FANTASTIC! Love the color you got on them and all of those flavors. I definitely want to make a meal out of them!

  • Reply
    From the Kitchen
    February 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Your photographs are almost as good as having a plate of these sitting in front of me!! I love the flavors of the middle-east. My brother-in-law is from Beirut. By day, he is a busy surgeon. In the evenings and on weekends, he is a marvelous cook. We look forward to when he prepares his native dishes.

    Have a delicious weekend.

    Best,
    Bonnie

  • Reply
    Mary
    February 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I’ve never tried anything like this, but I need to! Wow. That sauce looks amazing and the meatballs look absolutely stuffed with different flavors. Gorgeous!

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