Beef Kofta Meatballs

Beef Kofta

Hey! Remember that post a few days ago about the Rice with Almonds and Golden Raisins inspired by our favorite local ’50s-diner-themed Middle Eastern restaurant? Well, as delightful as that recipe is, I wanted to share the veritable meat centerpiece that topped it off when we enjoyed it last week. (P.S. Please do not Google “meat centerpiece” like I just did. You will be sorry.) After all, even an inspired side dish needs a little something extra to make an actual meal, unless you’re working on your Biggest Loser extreme weight loss 900-calories-a-day life plan. And that little something extra might as well be as intriguing and delicious as the rice, something like, oh, maybe beef kofta meatballs?

Beef Kofta

Some people may say less is more, but the combination of eleven spices (commonly found in your pantry, don’t panic) in these meatballs provides a flavor package that makes me say MORE is sometimes actually more. In a one-and-a-half-inch diameter, these little morsels contain garlic, parsley, cilantro, onion, cumin, and even a hint of cinnamon. And 5 other spices, but I won’t try your patience listing them, too. See the recipe for a multi-spiced main dish that pairs perfectly with almond and golden raisin rice and will make you say واو (عِبارة للتعَجُّب)! (Arabic for “Wow!” Or I may have copied that wrong from the online Cambridge English-Arabic dictionary. That may actually say “Wow! Look at that car!” But, you know, you get the gist.)

Beef Kofta

Beef Kofta
(Adapted from


1 lb. ground beef
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. grated or finely diced onion
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced (or 1 Tbsp. ground coriander)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
scant 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix all ingredients, using your hands if necessary to evenly distribute spices.
  3. Shape meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs and space evenly on a large baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve any way you like: with rice, pita, tzatziki/garlic sauce, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.

Serves 4.

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