Kofta meatballs are my take on the traditional kofta found in Middle Eastern cooking. Kofta is traditionally made as meat on sticks or kebobs but we decided to make it easier with this meatball recipe. These Middle Eastern meatballs are pork and beef meatballs and they are so delicious and so easy to make!
About these Middle Eastern Meatballs
While I enjoy eating kofta in the traditional way, making them into kofta meatballs saves a lot of time on my end. I can also double this Middle Eastern meatball recipe for meal prep during the week which is a win for me because of less cooking.
Although Kofta is traditionally made with ground lamb, for this kofta meatball recipe, I prefer a pork and beef combination. This is a pork and beef kofta meatball recipe but you can substitute lamb if you prefer.
You can also mix and match lamb with pork or lamb with beef. You can make just beef kofta. Whatever you prefer most.
I just find ground lamb a little harder to come by so this Middle Eastern meatball recipe omits it.
- A mix of ground pork and ground beef. Remember, you can use ground lamb in place of ground beef if you prefer!
- Onion. Try to look for yellow Spanish onions, not sweet onions.
- Garlic. Make sure you are using fresh garlic. Garlic powder will not taste as good.
- One slice of bread. This is part of the filler in these kofta meatballs.
- Spices: Oregano, cumin, kosher salt, ground cinnamon and coriander.
None of the ingredients in these kofta meatballs are complicated. The bread and most of the spices you probably already have on hand.
If you have time, try to double the recipe and freeze some of the meatballs for a later time when you want a quick dinner. I have written up steps on how to cook frozen meatballs to help make another night's dinner effortless when you do this.
How to make Kofta meatballs
Making these Middle Eastern kofta meatballs is very simple. You only need to soak the bread in water for a few minutes then grate the onions.
After that, just add all of the kofta meatball ingredients into a bowl and mix well for about 3-5 minutes to achieve the right kofta texture.
Once the Middle Eastern meatballs are rolled, they only need about 15 minutes in the oven. I like to prepare my side dish of tomato and cucumber salad and some fluffy basmati rice for these kofta meatballs during that time.
What is the difference between kofta meatballs and regular meatballs?
One of the main differences between kofta meatballs and traditional meatballs of other cultures is the consistency of the meat before it is cooked. The raw ground meat when making kofta is mixed for a long time to break down the protein structure of the meat.
What this looks like in the kitchen is basically placing your meat into a large bowl and mixing it vigorously for at least 5 minutes. You will begin to notice the consistency of the meat begins to change at this point.
Many Middle Eastern families swear by how long they mix their kofta and claim to have the best recipe. It is not too different from Italian families with all of their special red sauce recipes and fighting over whose recipe is the best.
When serving these kofta meatballs, I love adding these on top of a warm bed of fluffy basmati rice and then adding fresh feta, cucumber, and tomato salad over top of that. I love the mixture of warm and cool food items together!
The salad also helps lighten the heaviness of the meat.
What to serve with Kofta
I love serving these meatballs with a fresh salad (tomatoes, feta, and cucumber) along with a side of rice. I am a really big fan of cold and hot items on the same plate. It just adds a freshness to cooked meat.
You can serve these Middle Eastern meatballs with so many other sides like basmati rice, homemade no yeast flatbread, Mediterranean bean salad, Greek cucumber salad, a fresh taboule salad or pita bread. You can also add some homemade avocado and yogurt sauce or hummus.
This is the type of dish to be plated and served alongside a variety of other fresh and bold-flavored items.
I hope you give this kofta meatball recipe a try! It has always been a real crowd-pleaser when I make it and I am sure it will be the same for you.
If you decide to make the fresh tomatoes and feta salad, definitely double the recipe for that since it stores so well in the fridge and makes a great healthy snack!
More Meatball Recipes:
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!
- 1 lb ground beef 80-85% lean. You want a little fat here to keep the meatballs tender
- 1 lb ground pork you can substitute ground lamb for the pork
- 1 small onion grated finely on a cheese grater or microplane. You are looking for getting something similar to onion pulp instead of chunks of onion
- 2 cloves of garlic grated finely on the cheese grater or microplane
- 1 slice of bread soaked in water
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ¾ cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tomatoes cut into large chunks
- ½ cucumber cut into large chunks
- ¼ cup crumbled feta
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill course chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
To make the Meatballs
- Add all of your ingredients except the bread to a large bowl
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
- Now take your slice of bread that has soaked in water and pick it up a squeeze out the water
- Add the bread to the bowl with your other ingredients and mix well. Keep mixing your mixture for about 5 minutes until it starts to look smooth.
- Now grab a handful (about ⅛ cup full) of the meatball mixture and roll it into a ball.
- Place your rolled meatballs on to a baking sheet
- Continue to do this until you have made all of the meatballs
- Now place your meatballs into the oven and bake for 15 minutes
- While the meatballs are baking, I like to start making my rice and salad (directions below)
- After 15 minutes remove from the oven and turn on your broiler
- Once the broiler is ready, add your meatballs back into the oven under the broiler to crisp up on the edges (about 2-3 minutes)
- After 2-3 minutes, remove the meatballs from the oven and serve immediately with rice and your salad
- Heat your olive oil on medium high heat in a medium sauce pan with lid
- Now add your rice and mix around to coat well
- Increase the heat to high heat
- Add your water and bring to a boil
- Once it comes to a boil, add your salt, bring the temperature down to low and place the lid on top and cook for about 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed
- Prepare your tomatoes and cucumbers by cutting them up into large cubes. It doesn't need to be perfect.
- Add this to a medium bowl.
- Next add your feta, salt, pepper, dill, olive oil and mix well then set aside
- Plate your rice, kofta and tomato salad separately. Lay them out on a table for people to plate themselves.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here