A few weeks ago, when my husband asked what was for dinner, I told him “meatballs.”
“Just meatballs? Not spaghetti and meatballs?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied, “I’m not really in the mood for pasta or marinara sauce, but I have the ingredients for meatballs.”
So my work was cut out for me: find a recipe for meatballs that didn’t call for smothering the meatballs in tomato sauce. (Of course, when you’re in the mood for tomato sauce, spaghetti and meatballs can be quite delicious! Perhaps I had overdone the tomato recipes with my 50+ jars I canned from our garden the last summer).
I already had parsley on hand, so when I found a recipe for Lebanese Kibbeh meatballs, I knew this was what I’d be making for dinner. Instead of breadcrumbs, it calls for bulgur wheat. And bonus! Bulgur wheat is a whole grain, so that’s better for your health than breadcrumbs. It uses some different spices too: cumin, allspice and cinnamon, as well as fresh parsley, garlic and onions. Set aside some of those ingredients and make some delicious tabbouleh too!
The next time I made this, I went all out and made my own hummus (even down to the tahini), plus a tzatziki sauce and tabouleh. I loaded everything into a wrap (either pitas or tortillas work), but my husband skipped the tortilla and just used his fork. Either way is delicious!
When it comes to hummus, I’m not too picky about recipes, although this was the recipe I used this time around. To get creamy hummus, I always use canned chickpeas and remove the shells first (that filmy casing on the chickpea). This keeps the hummus more moist and creamy!
- ¾ cup uncooked bulgur
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ¼ cup minced onion
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Cook bulgur according to instructions and strain out excess liquid.
- Combine bulgur with everything except olive oil in a food processor. Process until smooth.
- Form meat mixture into about 20 meatballs.
- Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add meatballs to pan; cook until no longer pink in the center, about 12 minutes, browning on all sides.
- Serve with tzatziki sauce.
To recap, here are the other recipes I used, more or less (I’m terrible at following recipes to a T – I usually use them as a very loose guideline!)
Creamy Garlic Hummus recipe (remember to shell the chick peas!)
Tahini recipe (to use in the hummus – I made half a recipe in the food processor, then just added the hummus ingredients.)
Tabbouleh recipe (I used less bulgar, and substituted red onions instead of spring onions. If I don’t have mint, I just skip it.)
For tzatziki dip, I just mix together about 1 cup of yogurt, 1 clove of garlic and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice. Some people add salt or dried dill too.