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Middle Eastern Meatballs Inspired by Yotam

I am a fan of Middle Eastern food and always happy to try out new recipes. I  get inspiration from different places  including the Yotam Ottolenghi inspired Facebook group,  fellow foodie enthusiasts from around the World who share recipes, ingredients, places to source them & useful advice. One of their favourite recipes is Yotams’ turkey & courgette/zucchini burgers. The original recipe is served with a soured cream & sumac sauce. I’ve tweaked it slightly,  making meatballs and serving with a tomato Harissa sauce as a dairy free alternative.




  • 500g (1.1 lb) minced turkey
  • 1 large courgette (zucchini) coarsely grated
  • 1  shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
  • finely grated rind of 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 1 medium hot  fresh red chilli, seeds removed & finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium egg, lightly mixed
  • 1 tablespoon of fine breadcrumbs or matzah meal
  • 8-10 tablespoons of  vegetable oil ( I used rapeseed)
Courgette (Zucchini) Grated & Ready to Mix

Courgette (Zucchini) Grated & Ready to Mix


  • Preheat the oven to  200 degrees ( 390 F) fan
  • Mix all the ingredients except the vegetable oil in a large bowl
  • Refrigerate mix for about 15 minutes to make it easier to roll
  • Roll to form balls about 3.5cm (1 1/2 inch) in diameter

    Roll it roll it roll it!

    Roll it roll it roll it!


  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan
  • Fry meatballs in 3-4 batches for 4-5 minutes to brown slightly on all sides
  • Once browned on all sides remove with a slotted spoon
  • Transfer to a foil lined metal tray and cook in the oven for 7-8 minutes

Tomato Harissa Sauce:


  •  400g (14 oz) can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • freshly ground sea salt & black pepper
  • small pinch of brown sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2- 1 teaspoon of Harissa paste


  • Heat oil in a small pan over a medium heat
  • Cook the onion for 4-5 minutes until soft & translucent
  • Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring
  • Add the remaining ingredients, stir and turn the heat down to low
  • Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally

Serve with some couscous, wild rice or pasta.

Inspired by Yotam  – Middle Eastern Meatballs – tasty!


    • Thanks Angela & versatile too! Can be made into burgers or for a gluten free version leave out breadcrumbs & serve in crisp gem lettuce leaves as wraps. Enjoy!


  1. This is one of my favourite recipes from Jerusalem too, I love the bold flavours and this sounds like a delicious variation with harissa sauce, will certainly be giving your version a try!

    Liked by 1 person

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