Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Persian Meatball Poppers with Lime Whipped Yogurt

For some time now people have been asking me to share my juicy turkey meatball recipe. I’ve been making them for years. These meatballs are my husband’s  absolute favorite.  He has asked for them for as long as we’ve been  married. They’re light, bouncy and flavorful. A chili pepper gives a spicy kick. 
Honey helps to caramelize and brown the outside.  Herbs lend freshness. Grated onion adds moisture to the mix, helping to keep them from drying out. They’re just delicious with lime-whipped yogurt.

Middle Eastern Meatballs

There are a few tricks to keeping meatballs moist. Remember to….relax…let all the nightmares of dry meatballs leave your mind. 
Be patient when rolling the meat into balls …and last but not least….with all your will and might, resist, resist, resist the urge to overcook them into something that resembles sawdust marbles. This is going to be hard at first, but trust me, it gets easier with practice.  Even if you overcook them a little (this happens from time to time) they’ll still be full of flavor.

Moroccan Meatballs

Persian Meatball Recipe With Lime-Whipped Yogurt

serves 6-8 with couscous

Some Notes

The small size of these meatballs gives you more control and less of a chance to overcook them. Remember, they’ll continue to cook once they’re out of the pan. They should be juicy but not raw inside. Test one. Some will cook faster than others. Take them out of the pan as they’re done and place on a plate. 

You can also add about 8-10 finely diced sundried tomatoes or dried apricots to the meatballs for extra moisture and flavor. 


  • 2 lbs of ground turkey or ground chicken
  • 1 medium red or white onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves minced. I use a microplane or a garlic press.
  • 1-2 tiny green or red Thai peppers, minced (optional). A small minced jalapeno pepper, a dash of sriracha or some ground red pepper or chili pepper flakes will work too.
  • A generous handful of fresh mint or basil, chopped. Any herb of your choice will likely work including dill and parsley.
  • 2 limes, zest one of them and reserve the zest
  • 8-10 finely diced sun dried tomatoes or dried apricots (optional)  
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 2/3 cup of plain bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts (optional but good)
  • Drizzle of honey
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Sea salt  to taste
  • To Serve: lime wedges and lime-whipped yogurt or plain Greek yogurt

Instructions For The Meatballs

Using the small holes of a box grater, grate the onion directly into a large bowl. Add the ground turkey or ground chicken, the eggs, the breadcrumbs, the minced garlic, chili peppers (if using), diced sun drieds or apricots (if using)  fresh mint,  pine nuts  (if using), drizzle of honey, dried oregano and salt to taste. Mix to combine all the ingredients. Wet your hands with cold water and form the mixture into small balls the size of large marbles or walnuts.

Heat a large nonstick pan on medium high heat with some olive oil. Drop the meatballs in the pan and saute until they’re golden brown on all sides and cooked through. Do not overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches if you have to. Be careful not to burn them as the honey will help to caramelize the outside of the meatballs, helping them brown and crisp. You can cover the pan occasionally to cook them. But, keep a close eye on them and remove the cover when almost done. They cook rather quickly. Try not to overcook or they’ll become dry. Remove them from the pan as they’re done cooking. Serve with lime wedges and lime-whipped yogurt. Enjoy!

Instructions To make the lime-whipped yogurt:  Take two cups of Greek yogurt and mix it with the lime zest, adding a pinch of salt.  You can also add a drizzle of honey to the yogurt to sweeten it a bit. Whip it with a fork until combined. Serve the meatballs with the lime whipped yogurt for dipping and fresh lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!

cous cous thurs night

Orange Almond Couscous 


  • 1 box of Original Plain Near East Couscous, cooked according to package directions.
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted.
  • 2 oranges, zest one and reserve the zest. Cut one orange into segments and chop the segments into small pieces.
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • A handful of both fresh parsley and dill, chopped.  Any herb of your choice would work here like basil or chives or cilantro.
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Serving suggestions: A scattering of  quickly defrosted frozen peas, a drizzle of olive oil


Toast almonds in a small fry pan until golden brown, be careful not to burn them.

Add the cooked couscous, toasted almonds, orange zest, orange segments, scallions, parsley and dill into a bowl. Add the juice of one orange, drizzle of olive oil and season with salt to taste. Stir and fluff with a fork to combine. 

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