Monday, March 2, 2015

sesame-spiced turkey meatballs with chickpea salad.

In an effort to streamline weekday evenings, I've taken it upon myself to turn Sunday into a full blown day of cooking.  This usually involves a big batch of something that can be transformed into other meals throughout the week.  This concept is nothing new (I mean Rachel Ray did have an entire show about this) but it takes a lot to have the foresight to plan out a whole week. I've found it helpful - it makes me less stressed and less overwhelmed and it ensures we don't eat every night (just some nights) until 8.  

This is why I've been scouring my large inventory of recipes as of late - looking for things that can be made in big batches and transformed throughout the week.  I've been relying a lot on beans (why don't beans get the respect they deserve?!) but this past week I tried something new with these spiced turkey meatballs.  

Middle-eastern flavors are the way to my heart so the second I spotted these in my ever reliable Smitten Kitchen cookbook, I knew they had to be made.   These are easy-peasy. So easy in fact that you could make them in the middle of the week and still get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. They are chock full of flavor (so many spices!), protein-packed, and fairly healthy.  Really, what is there not to love?

Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs with Chickpea Salad
Recipe adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Me being me (and considering I was serving this to adults), I upped all the spices (and added some new ones), I don't think Deb would mind.  

Serves 4 – 6 depending on the individuals and the appetites

For the Meatballs

1 pound ground turkey
⅔ cup fresh breadcrumbs 
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 large egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
¼ teaspoon sumac
1/4 teaspoon Zatar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

For the Chickpea Salad

1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup pitted green olives, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground sumac
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon Zatar
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Olive oil

For the meatballs: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with your hands. Form into 1½" balls and arrange on a baking sheet lightly greased with olive oil or nonstick spray.

Bake meatballs for 20 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Serve with chickpea salad.

For the chickpea salad: Combine all the salad ingredients except the olive oil in a medium bowl. Very lightly smash the chickpeas with a potato masher or fork, leaving small bits. Drizzle with olive oil and stir to combine.

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