I will share these sesame-spiced meatballs recipes. I was inspired to find something a little less intimidating to prepare in the kitchen, and I happened to find this recipe for meatballs. I’ll admit, my initial reaction to this Middle Eastern-inspired recipe was to mentally exclaim “Open Sesame!” and snicker. When my cravings refused to abate, I snickered again and decided to give the recipe a whirl.
I was very pleasantly surprised when I dug into the finished meatballs to discover that they were perfectly spiced, with little crunches of toasted sesame seed, and something half-way in between a gyro and a falafel, these Sesame-Spiced Meatballs feature toasted sesame seeds, coriander, cumin, and Aleppo pepper mixed into ground turkey. Make these today, an you’ll be shouting (mentally or out loud) “Open Sesame!” without being even the slightest bit embarrassed. Open Sesame!
Tasty and Easy Sesame-Spiced Meatballs
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 pound ground turkey (minced turkey) - or ground lamb
- ⅔ cup breadcrumbs - fresh, 2-3 slices of bread, crusts removed, pulsed in the food processor until finely minced
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg - beaten
- 2 cloves garlic - finely minced
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small skillet set over a low flame, toast sesame seeds until fragrant. Keep an eye on these, as they will burn very quickly. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, lightly mix together ground turkey, breadcrumbs, water, salt, egg, garlic, spices, and toasted sesame seeds just until the mixture is combined. Do not overmix, or your meatballs may be tough. You can use a spoon or fork to do this, but I found that the meatball mixture came together much more easily when it used my scrupulously clean hands.
- Form mixture into golf ball-sized rounds and place on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet until you’ve formed all the meatballs.(I got about 16 meatballs out of one pound of ground turkey.)
- In a large skillet (oven-proof is ideal here), heat a good slick of canola oil over medium to medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides, removing each batch to a paper towel-lined plate once browned. The meatballs will not be completely cooked at this point.
- Once all the meatballs have been browned, pour out all but a thin slick of oil. Return all the meatballs to the skillet, and slide into the oven to finish cooking, 10-12 minutes.
- These meatballs have a variety of serving options: with a smashed chickpea salad (what I did this time), with couscous or rice, or wrapped in pita with lettuce, tomato, and tzatziki sauce.