Do you have any foods that make you swoon? Maybe for you it’s chocolatey desserts or macaroni and cheese? For me, it’s meatballs that have me in their spell. Whether they’re stuffed or glazed, Swedish or Asian or on spaghetti with tomato sauce, they are utterly irresistible to me. In fact, that’s why I don’t make them very often, because I end up eating waaaayyy too many! I’m constantly on the lookout for recipes that are both healthy and irresistibly delicious. These turkey zucchini meatballs, from my new favorite cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi, are made mostly from vegetables and herbs. I’ve cooked them at least a dozen times since I got Jerusalem, Ottolenghi’s newest cookbook.
If you have the cookbook, you’ll notice that Ottolenghi calls them burgers. I call them meatballs. They don’t look quite like either one. They’re small – two or three bites apiece. They’re served with a lemony yogurt dip and no bun. I like rolling them in an oblong shape because it makes them more like finger food that you can hold and dip. In fact I often serve them as appetizers – had them out for the Superbowl. For weeknight dinners, I add a green salad and rice or quinoa.
Considering they’re made of turkey and vegetables and no bread crumbs, it’s surprising how well they hold together and how nicely they brown up. However, rolling them does require a little technique. The mixture is pretty wet so you’re in for some serious frustration if you try to “roll” them like you do with other meatballs. You have to toss them from hand to hand, giving them little squeezes to shape them – three or four tosses and squeezes per meatball. Then drop the formed meatballs onto a plate. Once the oil is hot, tip the plate towards the pan and use a spatula or a knife to gently slide them in. They brown quickly and are then finished in the oven.
The dip features sumac, a beautiful deep red spice with a lemony flavor that’s very popular in Middle Eastern cooking.
When you pass by the fridge looking for a quick tasty snack, these are hard to resist. They even taste good cold.
- Yogurt Sauce
- ½ cup sour cream *
- ⅔ cup lowfat plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove, pressed or finely minced
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground turkey (white or dark meat)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large zucchini, grated
- 6 scallions, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 large cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil for sautéing
- * For a lower fat sauce you can swap out the sour cream for low fat yogurt. The taste is a bit more tart but still delicious.
- Make the Sauce Combine all ingredients. Set aside or refrigerate for up to 3 days, until needed.
- Meatballs Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine turkey, zucchini, scallions, egg, mint, cilantro, garlic and spices. Using your hands, shape the meatballs (about 2½ tablespoons per ball) by gently squeezing them and tossing them from hand to hand. Set formed meatballs on a large plate. (makes about 18)
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Slice half the meatballs into the pan and brown them on all sides, about 4 minutes. Carefully transfer them to the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the meatballs, adding extra oil to the pan, if needed. Slide the tray into the center of the oven and cook for 6-7 minutes, until cooked through. Serve with lemony yogurt sauce.
Jerusalem: A Cookbook
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