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Turkey Falafel Meatballs with Lemon Yogurt Sauce | Panning The Globe

Turkey Falafel Meatballs with Lemon Yogurt Sauce

  • Author: Lisa
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 5-6 1x


Light, flavorful, healthy turkey meatballs made with ground turkey, chickpeas and Middle Eastern spices. Serve with a side salad for dinner or pack into a pita for lunch. Pass around the lemon yogurt sauce!



For The Lemon Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup plain whole milk or low-fat yogurt
  • 1 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried crumbled mint or basil to sprinkle on top (optional)

For The Meatballs

  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey, light or dark meat
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, packed
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plain Panko bread crumbs or (for gluten-free) 1 cup cooked, cooled quinoa
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. To make the lemon yogurt sauce, combine all ingredients, cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  2. Set up your food processor with the chopping blade. Add chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, egg, cumin, coriander and salt. Process until finely chopped with a grainy consistency. Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl, add turkey and bread crumbs (or cooked quinoa). Mix until just combined and roll into 1 ½ inch balls (should make about 25)
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the meatballs and sauté for 8 minutes or so, turning frequently, until browned on all sides and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the rest of the meatballs.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon yogurt sauce on the side. See post for more serving suggestions.


Make These Gluten Free: Use 1 cup of cooled cooked quinoa in place of bread crumbs. When using quinoa, the meatball mixture will be a bit looser. Use a light touch when rolling it into balls, tossing the meat from palm to palm and pressing, to shape.

Make These In The Oven:  You can bake these turkey falafel meatballs in the oven instead of sautéing them. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Spread meatballs out on lightly-oiled baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

[This post first appeared on Panning The Globe in July 2013. It was updated in January 2020 with added nutritional information, clarifying details in the written post and clearer instructions in the recipe.]

Nutrition Information: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for the advice of a professional nutritionist.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Lunch, brunch or dinner
  • Method: sauté
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Keywords: turkey meatballs, falafel, chickpea and turkey meatballs