What can you make with a pound of ground beef? A lot! Here’s a terrific addition to the list.

Kofte Turkish Meatballs


There are endless of versions of meatball kabobs with many different names throughout the Middle East and India. This one, made with walnuts, aromatics, spices, and herbs, is based on a Turkish recipe. Serve them on low-carb flatbread or over a bed of riced cauliflower with yogurt or tahini sauce. Small ones on wooden picks are perfect as appetizers. Lettuce, tomato, and cucumber are traditional accompaniments.


These fine-textured meatballs are a snap to make in a food processor; you don’t even have to chop the onion! Thread them on skewers and broil or shape into patties and fry in a skillet. 


  • 1 cup walnuts (1/2 cup after grinding)
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef or lamb
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered (5 to 6 ounces)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes (use 8 for regular or 24 for appetizer-sized servings). Place rack about 4 inches from the heating element.

Stir walnuts in a dry skillet until lightly toasted, no more than 5 minutes. Grind cooled nuts in food processor until chopped.

Add ground meat, onion, garlic, cumin, mint, if using, allspice, cinnamon. cayenne, salt, and pepper and process until will mixed, stopping to scrape down the bowl occasionally as needed. Add egg and process until blended. Add parsley and pulse a few times just until evenly distributed.

Preheat broiler.

Shape the meat mixture into 8 to 10 elongated balls (or 24 for appetizer-size servings). Thread them on skewers, one or more per skewer. Broil, turning once, until brown, about 10 minutes total. Alternately, shape the meat mixture into patties and fry in light olive oil or butter in a skillet until browned on both sides.

Makes 4 to 6 servings as a main dish, 24 as an appetizer.

Nutrition data per each of 4 servings:
Calories: 449; Fat: 35.3 g; Protein: 28.7 g; Fiber: 3 g; Carbs: 8.3 g; Net Carbs: 5.3 g
Data is for broiled kofta, not fried in fat. 

Photo by Judy Barnes Baker, (c) 2017
(c) 2017, Judy Barnes Baker

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Judy Barnes Baker

The working title for my first book was, “You’ll Never Know What You Are Missing.” It summed up my goal: to make eating for health synonymous with eating for pleasure. Once you discover the secret, you will find that the very best food for weight management, longevity, the treatment and prevention of disease, and over-all health and happiness is also the most sumptuous, satisfying, and indulgent way of eating the world has to offer. You are invited to the feast. Enjoy!
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