MIDDLE EASTERN MEATBALLS
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These Middle Eastern meatballs combine chickpeas and lamb mince with a handful of fragrant spices.

Middle Eastern meatballs with cauliflower puree, eggplant, spinach and sundried tomato dip.

Buttery cauliflower purée and baby spinach provide the perfect low carb base to nestle the meatballs into.

Creamy eggplant gets baked with the meatballs, for ease and flavour. Add a generous dollop of chunky sundried tomato dip or pesto to round out the meal nicely.

For more healthy meatball inspiration, check out these pork meatball salads or lamb meatballs (a great alternative to regular spaghetti and meatballs!).

 

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Middle Eastern meatballs with cauliflower puree, eggplant, spinach and sundried tomato dip.

MIDDLE EASTERN MEATBALLS

Keyword: LAMB, MAIN MEALS
Difficulty: Easy
Ready In: 55 minutes
Serves: 4

These Middle Eastern meatballs combine chickpeas and lamb mince with fragrant spices. Creamy cauliflower purée and plenty of veggies help to bulk up this lower carb meal.

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Ingredients

EGGPLANT AND MEATBALLS

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large handful Italian parsley (optional)
  • 5 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 400 g can chickpeas (14oz)
  • 400 g lamb mince (14oz)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds (optional)

CAULIFLOWER PUREE

  • 1 whole cauliflower
  • 2 tsp chicken stock powder
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan (30g)
  • 2 Tbsp butter

TO SERVE

  • 80 g baby spinach (2.8oz)
  • 135 g sundried tomato dip or pesto (4.8oz)
  • 1 large handful Italian parsley (optional)

Instructions

  1. PREPARE INGREDIENTS

    Preheat oven to 180ºC (360ºF) fan bake and line a large oven tray with baking paper. Dice eggplant into approximately 1cm / 0.4in pieces and season with salt and pepper. Finely dice onion and crush garlic. Finely chop parsley. Roughly chop cauliflower into florets.

  2. COOK EGGPLANT AND MEATBALLS

    Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large frying pan on medium. Add onion and garlic and cook until just soft (3-4 minutes). Stir in cumin, coriander, paprika and cinnamon. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

  3. Drain chickpeas, rinse and place in a large bowl. Use a stick blender to process until you have a mixture of smooth and chunky bits (this can also be done in a food processor). Add onion mixture, parsley, lamb mince, tomato paste, egg, salt and pepper. Using a spoon or your hands, mix until well combined.

  4. Shape heaped tablespoons of mixture into approximately 24 meatballs and place on prepared tray. Scatter eggplant all around the meatballs, sprinkle cumin seeds on top (if using) and drizzle with remaining 3 teaspoons oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

  5. MAKE CAULIFLOWER PURÉE

    Place cauliflower in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, stir in stock powder and cook for 12 minutes. Drain well, then add parmesan and butter. Use a stick blender or food processor to purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  6. SERVE

    Spread cauliflower purée on warmed serving plates. Top with spinach, eggplant and meatballs. Spoon the dip on top and garnish with parsley, if using.

Recipe Notes

WINE MATCH: Go for a Shiraz.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: Use gluten-free stock powder and make sure dip is gluten-free.
INGREDIENT SWAPS / NOTES: You could use beef mince instead of lamb mince. Half of the cauliflower can be swapped for 400g / 14oz peeled, diced potatoes - increase boiling time to 20 minutes. You might need to add a little milk when puréeing.
STORING AND REHEATING: Store individual portions in containers in the fridge and reheat in the microwave.

 

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