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Category Archives: Middle Eastern

Middle Eastern Style Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

This is a great take on your regular, run of the mill, meatballs- not that any thing is wrong with that… but sometimes it is nice to change it up a bit…. they are really good to entertain with… I served mine with delicious couscous…

  • 1 pound ground pork (any ground meat can be used)
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs soaked in ½ cup milk (let sit for at least 10 mins)

Mix all the ingredients and set aside for at least an hour.

Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • Zest of one orange (keep juice aside)
  • 3 cups tomato sauce, homemade or canned crushed tomatoes
  • Salt

Heat a heavy saucepan with the oil. Add the tomato paste, fennel seeds, ground cumin, cinnamon and orange zest. Saute on medium heat for a minute and add the tomato sauce and the saved orange juice. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat with lid on for at least 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Take lid off and increase heat and form meatballs and drop gently into the pan. Lower the heat to a simmer with the lid on and cook for 30 minutes. Check for seasonings and add salt. Serve on top of couscous topped with yogurt sauce.

Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint, crumbled
  • ½ cup grated cucumber, water squeezed
  • ½ cup grated carrot, water squeezed.
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sumac

Mix all the ingredients and check for seasonings. Serve with meatballs.

Middle Eastern Style Meatballs1

Cannellini Bean Burgers with Roasted Jalapeños

A great vegetarian option for this upcoming long weekend- it’s like having falafel burgers!!!

  • 4 jalapeno peppers, cut in half and deseeded
  • 4 green onions, cleaned
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the peppers and the green onions on a lined cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some salt. Roast in the oven. Take the green onions out after 15 minutes and continue to roast the peppers for another 20 minutes or till the skin is charred. Take out and let cool and scrape the skin off the peppers. Keep aside.

  • 2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves

Place all the ingredients including the roasted vegetables in a large processor and process all ingredients till smooth. Take out in a large bowl.

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Add the breadcrumbs to the processed mixture and mix well and refrigerate for at least an hour. Take out of fridge and form 4 to 6 patties (depending on size).

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Heat a large frying pan with the butter and olive oil and place the patties and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side on medium heat or till both sides are golden brown. Top with cheese and serve on toasted ciabatta rolls.



This is a yummy salad- perfect with the Middle Eastern feast I made. Fresh, flavorful and delicious….

  • ¼ cup red bulgur
  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cups flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 cup fresh mint, minced
  • 1 cup cilantro, minced
  • ½ English cucumber, chopped
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground all spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt

Transfer the bulgur to a medium bowl and pour about ½ cup hot water and let soak for 10 minutes. Rinse and drain and add to a serving bowl. Cut the tomatoes in half and take out all the meat with a spoon including the seeds. Chop the tomatoes and add to the bowl including all the other ingredients. Mix well, taste for seasonings and serve.

Middle Eastern Style Ground Beef

I recently entertained and decided to make a Middle Eastern/Greek meal- so I started with this ground beef dish flavored with mint and garlic. I served the meal with warm pita bread with delicious feta cheese and hummus for appetizers…

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 pound grass fed ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeds and core removed, chopped
  • ½ cup tomato sauce, homemade or store bought
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped

Heat a large saucepan with the oil. Add the dried mint and garam masala and sauté on medium heat for 10 seconds. Add the ground beef and increase the heat to high and sauté while separating the meat with a wooden spoon for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Saute on high heat for another 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the salt and lower the heat to medium and cook with the lid on for 8 to 10 minutes. Take the lid off and check for seasonings. Garnish with parsley and mint. Serve with heated pita.

Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken

Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken This was a delicious dish. My husband and I used to order a chicken dish made with pomegranates at an Afghani restaurant years ago. The placed closed down a while ago and I have not eaten that delicious dish for a long time.

I have had pomegranate glaze in my pantry for a long time. I had bought it a couple of years ago from Trader Joes (they had it briefly and don’t anymore). I did some extensive research on the internet and came up with my own version. The two main flavors are the walnuts and the pomegranate glaze. I marinated the chicken in ginger and garlic. In the meantime I made a gravy with onion, and lots of aromatic spices including cinnamon.

The dish has a very distinct taste- really delicious. Serve the chicken with some aromatic basmati rice or freshly made rotis.
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Low-Fat Hummus with Roasted Jalapenos


I just made this and decided to post it right away. Usually I make a dish, write the recipe and schedule the post. It is kind of a long process. Sometimes, I like the dish so much that I decide to post it right way.

As most of you know, I have been eating GG crackers for breakfast and snack on a daily basis. For those who have tried these crackers- you know how dry they are. You definitely need something on top to make them delectable.

The other day, I was listening to Joan Hamburg on WOR and she was interviewing some dietician who spoke about a low fat hummus she made with yogurt. A light bulb turned on in my head as I heard the interview. I had been spreading a bit of it everyday on my crackers and thought about the fat in a usual tub of hummus. I decided to make my own.

I experimented last week with one batch- it was good but not post worthy. I made the second batch today and it is super delicious.

I roasted some jalapenos (took the seeds out first) and garlic. I added non-fat Greek yogurt, lemon juice and a bit of tahini and olive oil to get the flavor but not too much of the fat. The result was really good. I had some with my crackers today and it was delicious and healthy since I am getting more protein than usual as the yogurt as tons of it.

Definitely make this and keep in your fridge- although it won’t last for too long….
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Moroccan Style Chicken with Spinach Cilantro Couscous

Moroccan Style Chicken This dish takes the mundane chicken dinner to a whole new level. We had our usual Friday get together with Sia’s friend, her sisters and their Mom. It started off as a pizza party and as far as the kids are concerned, that is what we should serve every week. Most times I don’t feel like ordering pizza and would rather cook something at home.

So when the day came, I decided to make a chicken dish- something different (I usually say that in my mind- I really do). I was either watching  or reading something- I can’t remember, but Moroccan chicken came up. That was it- I couldn’t think of anything else. I bought the chicken and – everything else was in the house. Couscous comes to mind when I think Moroccan food. Instead of making a salad on the side, I decided to make a spinach and cilantro sauce and cooked the couscous in it. The colors were amazing- the orangish red chicken against the light green couscous was beautiful. The taste wasn’t so shabby either.

We all enjoyed the chicken with the couscous and some red wine- yes I am drinking wine- just on the weekends for now and Friday is part of the weekend. I do plan to incorporate wine back into the week but since I am doing a cleanse, I feel I should detox and stay away from it for a while. I digress- the evening was very enjoyable and delicious!

  • 2 tablespoons white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon schug (hot red pepper mix)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Toss the flour and salt with the chicken in a bag to coat. Heat a non-stick skillet with the olive oil and brown the chicken on both sides, about 4 minutes each. Transfer to a plate.
Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat. Add cinnamon, ginger, cumin, schug and salt. Add the tomato, honey, raisins, chickpeas and chicken. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Sprinkle the almonds and cilantro. Serve with couscous.

Moroccan Style Chicken 1

Spinach Cilantro Couscous

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 green onion

Blend the spinach, cilantro, garlic and onion with some water until a smooth paste is formed. Keep aside.

  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup spinach paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat a medium sized saucepan and add the oil. Add the spinach paste and saute for a minutes on medium high heat. Add the chicken broth and salt. Bring to a boil and add the couscous and place the lid and turn the heat off. Fluff the couscous in 5 minutes once it is cooked.