Middle-Eastern Lamb and Lentil Meatballs Salted Tahini Yogurt Pickled Cucumbers and Herbs

Course: Appetizers / Snacks, Entrees
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Pulse Type: Lentils
Servings: 4 portions

Mid-East Flavored Beef, Lamb and Lentil Meatballs with Tahini Yogurt Sauce, Pickled Vegetables and Fresh Mediterranean Herb Salad



For Spice Paste:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 4 tbsp onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp red chilis fresh
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1 tsp paprika Spanish smoked
  • ½ tsp turmeric ground
  • ½ tsp cumin ground
  • ½ tsp cinnamon ground
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice

For the Croquettes:

  • 4 oz ground beef
  • 4 oz ground lamb (can double up on beef or lamb if preferred)
  • 1 slice bread whole wheat (torn into crumbs)
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz lentils, brown (cooked)
  • ¼ cup olive oil

For Pickled Vegetables:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 red chili fresh (seeded and thinly sliced)
  • ½ cucumber Long English (unpeeled, thinly sliced)

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 cup yogurt full fat
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp salt (plus more if needed)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice

Herb Salad:

  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup parsley flat leaf, leaves
  • 1 splash olive oil extra-virgin
  • pinch salt


For Spice Paste:

  1. Heat a small sauté pan. Add the olive oil and onion and sauté until golden brown.

  2. Add the garlic, chilies and lemon zest and sauté until fragrant -about 2 minutes.

  3. Add the spices and salt and sauté for another minute.

  4. Add the lemon juice and remove to a large mixing bowl to cool.

For the Croquettes:

  1. When the above spice paste is cool, add the ground meat and mix well with hands to combine.

  2. Add the whole wheat bread and egg and mix again to combine thoroughly.

  3. Carefully fold in the lentils without crushing them.

  4. Cook a tablespoon size patty and test for seasoning adjusting if necessary with salt.

  5. Form into 2 oz patties and if you have time, refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking.

  6. In a non-stick pan, heat the remaining olive oil and pan the patties for 3-4 minutes per side until they register 155°F on an instant read thermometer.

For Assembly:

  1. Spoon the Salted Yogurt Sauce onto 4 plates. Top with the patties and the herbs serving the pickles on the side.

  2. Alternatively, serve all components in a pocket bread or pita as a sandwich.

For the Pickled Vegetables:

  1. In a small non-reactive saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, turmeric, garlic, sugar and salt to a full rolling boil.

  2. Pour over the vegetables, pressing to submerge. Allow to cool to room temperature and refrigerate.

  3. These quick pickles will last for up to one week in the fridge.

For the Salted Yogurt Sauce:

  1. In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients.

  2. Adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed. This sauce should be quite salty and lemony.