Lamb Kofta Meatballs

I had started out one night thinking I’d make lamb and spinach meatballs, but I found I was low on eggs, and wanted to use what I had for something else. So I switched to lamb kofta meatballs mid-stream! Sometimes, I pivot in the middle!

The meatballs are flavored with toasted nuts, warm spicy cumin and cinnamon, as well as sweet, minty green cardamom. All that makes them a feast both for the mouth and the eyes. Look how colorful they are!

Plus, they require no eggs and no breadcrumbs. I wasn’t entirely sure if they would stay together without it, but they did. So it’s a great way to have meatballs if you can’t have eggs. And, since there’s no bread crumbs, they’re also gluten-free.

I’ve adapted this from once upon a chef‘s recipe for Middle Eastern lamb kofta meatballs , and reduced the quantities. I did make a few other changes. One, I swapped cilantro for spinach (don’t like cilantro!). Two, my quarter of a bell pepper was questionable, so I used chopped carrot instead.  And lastly, I didn’t have the mixed nuts, only ground almonds, so I used that. More pivoting!

That also saved me the step of grinding up the nuts.  You can use almonds, or go with a mixture of walnuts, almonds, and pine nuts as she did in the original recipe.

That’s the thing about cooking. Sometimes you have to be able to think on your feet, and figure out what to do when something doesn’t go quite the way that you initially planned.

 

More Lamb Recipes

spinach lamb meatballsSpinach Lamb Meatballs

Rich with lamb, earthy spinach, tangy vinegar, and spicy/warm cumin, these meatballs are ready in minutes. But, they taste like you spent hours making them.

 

Lmab keema with potatoes and broccoliLamb Keema with Potatoes and Broccoli

Flavored with ginger, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric, this dish is a sort of Pakistani shepherd’s pie. It’s savory, not hot or strong. Make it with lamb or beef if you prefer. And only needs one pot!

turkish lamb burgerTurkish Lamb Burgers

Rich lamb, sharp garlic, and salty feta balanced by cool cucumber and mint, topped with yogurt sauce. Flavorful, filling, and just a wee bit messy. But soooo good. Even better if you can refrigerate the mixture for a few hours.

Peruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe

I tried this Peruvian roast chicken in green sauce recipe for the first time last week, and I can’t stop eating it! It’s not just the chicken either, it’s the sauce. I loooove the sauce. I made enough to have extra, and I’ve been putting it on everything. It’s tangy, spicy, garlicky, and just spectacular.  And the chicken is lip-smackingly good too!

There are two stages to this recipe, which I adapted from Epicurious, but since we’re only making it for one person (instead of a whole chicken) we can cut some steps and speed everything up. The reviews on the original commented that it was a lot of work (but worth the trouble). But, my way, it isn’t a lot of bother at all.  There’s a lot less to chop and a single chicken thigh cooks a lot faster than a whole bird. You wait less and you don’t have to baste as much either. No need to butterfly/spatchcock one piece of chicken!

First you mix up a spice rub for the chicken and spread it on the meat. While the chicken cooks, you make up the sauce, which is essentially tossing ingredients in a mini chopper or blender and then mixing them together with some mayonnaise. Baste the chicken once and then serve it with the sauce.

The chicken cooks at a higher temperature than usual, so it ends up with crispy skin, while still retaining its juices. Plus, it’s ready in 35-40 minutes instead of an hour and a half.

If you like, you can add a salad of cucumber, avocado, lime, olive oil, and scallions on the side.




Peruvian Roast Chicken with Green Sauce Substitutions and Variations

Unlike the usual changes, this list is largely focused on the sauce, rather than the chicken.

  • Try different herbs or combinations of herbs and leafy greens instead of the spinach. You could use basil, coriander (the original recipe), or some sage
  • Instead of mayonnaise, try Greek yogurt or lebne
  • Serve the sauce over eggs with crusty bread
  • Use the sauce as a dip with fresh cut up carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumber wedges
  • if you don’t have fresh lemon, use dried lemon peel and bottled lemon juice

More Chicken Recipes

crispy lemon chicken thighCrispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Great hot or cold, this is perfect for picnics. There’s three kinds of lemon (don’t worry, nothing unusual), and a crispy crust that tastes like you fried it (but you won’t have to).

 

chili citrus chicken thighChili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

The flavors of Buffalo wings, without any frying. The garlic adds zest and the chili packs the heat (but not too much heat). Cheaper than wings too.

 

feta brined roast chickenFeta Brined Roast Chicken

Bathed in a briny blend of of feta cheese and lemon to keep it moist, and lock in flavor. Serve the finished chicken on a bed of earthy spinach.

 

honey sticky garlic chickenHoney Sticky Garlic Chicken

Delight your taste buds and fight colds with this crispy/sweet/spicy chicken. Ready in 30 minutes, from pantry ingredients.

 




Spinach Lamb Meatballs

Sometimes you get recipes from a cookbook, or online, or from a friend. This recipe for spinach lamb meatballs started in a cookbook in NY, bounced to the US West coast, and then back again to NY. It was a cross-country collaboration!

Here’s what happened.  A friend had some ground lamb and was looking for dinner ideas.  I mentioned a spinach lamb meatball recipe I had and gave her the ingredients.

She wanted to serve her meatballs with marinara sauce, so I suggested she might want to change it around a bit (the original recipe called for nutmeg, which wasn’t going to work with marinara sauce). Also, while the recipe I had fit her requirements, it was, honestly, a bit bland, and needed more punch.

She added her own spin, then told me what she did. I made a few more changes, and ended up with this recipe.

Red wine vinegar stands up to the lamb’s assertive flavor, while cumin adds a warm, nutty, slightly spicy bite. The spinach adds color, and those all important vitamins and iron too.

It’s pretty easy to put together too. First, you sweat the onions (cook them over low heat for a few minutes, until they become transparent). Then wash and dry the spinach (this is important, otherwise the meatballs will be too moist and won’t hold together). The rest is simply measuring, mixing, and rolling.




Spinach Lamb Meatballs Substitutions and Variations

  • try red wine (say a Pinot Noir) instead of the vinegar
  • add an extra flavor punch and spice with some harissa
  • use ground beef instead of lamb
  • skip the cumin and have the meatballs with marinara sauce
  • serve the meatballs with Greek yogurt and cucumber

More Lamb Recipes

turkish lamb burgerTurkish Lamb Burgers

Rich, messy, and absolutely lip-smackingly good. These burgers are stuffed with feta and garlic, then topped with a tangy, refreshing yogurt cucumber sauce.

 

lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetablesLamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables

Bring a hint of Morocco to your kitchen without traveling.  Flavored with cinnamon, cumin, carrots, and chili, this dish is warm, spicy, and only takes about 30 minutes to prepare.

lamb kofta meatballsLamb Kofta Meatballs

A feast for both the eyes and the taste buds, these meatballs are flavored with toasted nuts, sweet/minty cardamom, and earthy spinach. No eggs needed and no breadcrumbs.

 

 




Eggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

So here we are again with two major holidays on the same weekend.  And, they’re two holidays with entirely different food requirements!  One traditionally goes for brisket and matzo; the other gets lamb or ham. However, there are two common themes. The first one is eggs.  Lots and lots of eggs.  The second is everyone stuffs themselves silly at either one or two big dinners.  But, you still have to eat something in-between all of that. Eggs with spinach and chili peppers is just the thing. It’s quick, and easy to make. And, it’s not a big, heavy meal.  It’s essentially a sort of egg pancake or frittata, except with South Asian flavoring.

The other nice thing about this recipe, is it’s done in two stages, but you only need a single skillet to make it.  First you cook the veggies, garlic, and ginger, then add the eggs to the same pot.  Let those cook, and you’re done.  Add the yogurt (or not) to serve.  Depending on your affiliation, serve with toast, matzo, or just some fresh fruit. If your chili is super hot, the sweetness in the fruit will also help reduce the burn from the pepper.

Oh, and a third thing. It’s ready in about 15 minutes.  So, if you’re hungry, and it’s late (as it was the first time I made this), you don’t have to wait long for a hot meal.

I adapted this from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking.  In addition to reducing the amounts, I replaced the coriander with spinach. I don’t particularly like fresh coriander and I know lots of other people don’t care for it either.  And, since my jalapeño pepper turned out to be really, really super hot, I added a dollop of Greek yogurt to cool it off, even though that wasn’t in the recipe.  I found I liked it better that way too.




 

 

Eggs with Spinach and Chili Pepper Substitutions and Variations

  •  use the coriander if you like it
  • add two or three sliced mushrooms to the vegetable mixture
  •  toss in 1/4 C diced canned tomatoes
  • if you’re not a spicy food fan, replace the chili with some bell pepper

 

More Egg Recipes

egg and tomato gratinEgg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

Fragrant with thyme, onions, and tomatoes, then topped with Swiss cheese. Perfect for a light meal (especially around big holidays).

 

cherry tomato basil frittataCherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Only four ingredients, ready in just a few minutes.  Just the thing when you want something fast.

 

fried egg burritoFried Egg Burrito

Great for breakfast, lunch, or brunch.  It’s flexible too: add mushrooms or bell peppers, change the cheese, top with chili garlic sauce, or leave it as is.  Delicious food without a lot of fuss.

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito

A tortilla, a couple of eggs, some chilis, and cheese: poof, it’s a meal! And since eggs cook quickly, you don’t have to wait long to eat.

 

 




Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Since it’s spring and everything is turning green (and yellow and pink), it’s time to take advantage and turn from heavy food to something lighter and fresher. Spaghetti with green olives and lemon panko hits all those buttons. It’s light, it’s green, and it’s a bit of a flavor bomb that will wake up your taste buds.

It’s got zesty garlic, and earthy fresh spinach, paired with tangy capers, briny olives and a burst of citrus. Crispy, golden-brown panko crumbs mixed with dill and lemon zest add a bit of crunch.

In fact, I shared it with some friends and one of them said, “Oh I want that! I want it now! But I’m at work! Sob.”

I hate that the internet doesn’t include a “push here for spaghetti option”!

I found the original recipe on Bon Appetit, but I changed it a bit.  First, it had anchovies. Nope! Nope!  Second, I swapped the original parsley for some spinach instead. One, I had lots of spinach. And two, I don’t like parsley all that much, so there’s no point in buying a whole bunch of it. The spinach I will use for other meals.

One more small thing. The recipe said to cut some of the olives in half and then chop up the rest. It may have said to chop up the capers too (the instructions were a bit unclear). I started to chop the olives and then decided it was silly, so I stopped.

It also occurred to me after I made it that I could prepare the pasta first, then keep it warm while I cooked the panko and mixed everything else together.  Just drain and wipe the saucepan, add the oil and panko, and proceed with the rest of the recipe. That way it’s only one pot!

I used ordinary green olives (because they were handy). I think I will try it next time with castelvetrano olives instead, since they are my favorite olive (and taste great with pasta).

Oh dear, I’m revising and internet commenting my own recipe! Ha!




Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko Substitutions and Variations

  • like anchovies and parsley? Go for it!
  • use castelvetrano olives instead, they are firmer and more buttery
  • top the whole thing with some red pepper flakes
  • add more garlic
  • use the sauce over cooked fish (such as cod or tilapia)

More Spaghetti Recipes

spaghetti spinach lemon cream sauceSpaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

A bit of basil, a handful of spinach, and some cream (or diluted plain Greek yogurt), and cooked pasta. You’ve got dinner (only two pots).  A healthy, green way to say hello to spring.

 

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Fancy fresh pasta, or standard dried, this meal works either way. And it makes me smile every time.

 

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Nobody knows exactly how this dish got its name. But, the punchy capers, sweet tomatoes, and briny olives pack a lot of flavor into a few ingredients. It’s fast, and delicious too.

 

pistachio pasta pestoPistachio Pesto Pasta

Green, earthy, garlicky, and made with pistachios rather than the usual pine nuts (who can pay for those nowadays anyway?).  This recipe came from an unusual source: a book. And, it wasn’t a cookbook either.

Quick Caldo Verde Soup

 

Caldo Verde is a traditional Portuguese soup that’s made in one pot. And, it takes about half an hour to cook. It’s filling, spicy, and great for cold weather. The usual way to make this is with kale and linguiça, which is a garlicky pork Portuguese sausage. Except, I don’t like kale.  Some use collard greens instead, or cabbage. I didn’t have cabbage, but I did have spinach.  As far as I’m concerned, that works! It’s still a bitterish green and it takes less time to cook too.

This is good right away, but like many soups, it’s even better after it sits for a day or two.  I’ve cut the recipe from six servings to about 2 or 3, depending on how hungry you are.

It does come with a few minor cooking decisions.  You can cut the greens up roughly, or chop everything up into fine ribbons.  And, you can either purée the soup, or leave it as is. I went with rough chopping and skipped the purée this time, mostly because I was feeling lazy.  The last thing I made was pizza and I somehow got the tomato sauce everywhere: the stove, the floor, the cabinets, the sink.  I’ve had enough cleanup to last me for a while, so I didn’t want to clean one extra thing (even a stick blender).

Also, if you can’t find the Portuguese sausage, any other garlicky sausage will do just fine.




Caldo Verde Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Use a mixture of baking potatoes (Russett) and Yukon Gold potatoes for different textures
  • If you don’t have the linguiça, try chorizo or andouille, merguez, or any garlicky sausage you have; even pepperoni in a pinch
  • Try it with cabbage (or kale) if you prefer
  • Skip the sausage entirely, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth and make it vegetarian. If you want it vegan, use olive oil instead of butter.

More Sausage Recipes

creole cabbage and sausageQuick Creole Cabbage and Sausage

Fragrant with creole spices and mustard for a spicy bite, this meal is ready in fifteen minutes. Recipes for the mustard and spice mixture linked in the post.

 

lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetablesLamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables

A whole meal all by itself.  The spicy lamb sausage is mellowed by carrots, eggplant, and cinnamon.

 

Polish sausage with cabbage and potatoesOne Pot Polish Sausage and Cabbage with Potatoes

This dish only requires a few basic ingredients. However, it’s packed with flavor from rich sausage, braised cabbage, and sweet carrots. One pot!




Leftover Roast Lamb Eggplant and Spinach Salad

Hot. Cold. Then hot again. Anyone else getting whiplash from this weather? The calendar says fall, but the thermometer reads summer.  To beat the heat, try a leftover roast lamb eggplant spinach salad.  You can use leftover lamb from my Greek lamb breast recipe, or just broil a lamb chop.

This salad is a festival of tastes, textures, and colors.  You get luscious lamb topped with tender golden-brown eggplant over earthy spinach, refreshing crisp cucumbers, and sweet tomatoes.  Then the whole thing is finished with a rich garlicky lemon mayonnaise.

I’ve sauteed the eggplant in a skillet (because I didn’t want to heat up the oven), but you can grill it if you prefer, or bake it in the oven (400 degrees for about 20 minutes).  Then just add spinach and your favorite salad ingredients.

I have adapted this from a Silver Palate cookbook recipe which called for pignoli nuts and olives.  I had neither, so I filled in with cucumber and tomato. You could also put in mushrooms, sprouts, experiment with different kinds of olives, or top it with toasted nuts.  See the “substitutions” section below for more ideas.

You can either make the mayonnaise from scratch (homemade mayonnaise is divine, just remember to use it up quickly), or just dress up some store-bought mayonnaise with a bit of garlic and lemon juice.  I like to “freshen” up commercially made mayo with lemon and olive oil whenever I use it.  It tastes more like homemade that way.

Have this for a quick dinner, or make it for lunch.  I think of it as an entree salad; it works for any time you want something filling without a lot of fussing (or waiting).




Leftover Roast Lamb Eggplant Spinach Salad Substitutions and Variations

 

  • Top with pignoli nuts, chopped almonds, or chopped walnuts
  • Add 1/4 C feta cheese and some mint
  • Add some sliced apples
  • Make some orzo and add that to the salad
  • Try different veggies like zucchini, bell pepper or squash

More Lamb Recipes for One Person

greek lamb breastGreek Lamb Breast Recipe

Marinate this overnight, then roast it slowly in a low oven to bring out the full flavor.

 

moroccan lamb stewMoroccan Lamb Stew with Almonds and Raisins

A Jewish-Moroccan recipe fit for a feast. The raisins add sweetness and complement the lamb beautifully.

 

lamb breast provencale with rosemaryOne Person Slow Roasted Lamb Breast Provencal Recipe

Cooked slowly and topped with a mixture of garlic, olive oil, rosemary and bread crumbs.

 

turkish lamb burgerTurkish Lamb Burgers

Meaty, rich lamb burgers stuffed with garlic and salty feta. Served with a cucumber yogurt sauce.  Make the burgers ahead and let the ingredients blend for full flavor.

 



Sauteed Garlic Parmesan Spinach

In my head, this was Roman spinach.  Then I looked and realized that was a completely different recipe (with pine nuts and raisins). I was wrong about the Roman part, but at least sauteed garlic parmesan spinach is really Italian.

The recipe that inspired this called for blanching and baking the spinach and then broiling everything.  That was too much bother!  I’ve adapted it to make it simpler and easier.

This way, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to prepare.  It will go nicely, I think, with a simple pan fried fish, or grilled fish. Or, serve it with a steak.

Unlike the Roman spinach (which would have required a trip to get pine nuts), this sauteed spinach is made from everyday ingredients you probably already have at home.  No special shopping trip needed!

If you want, you can add additional ingredients to the basic recipe (see the substitutions and variations section below for more ideas).




 

Substitutions and Variations for Sautéed Garlic Parmesan Spinach

  •  add a sliced mushroom or two (put that in before the spinach)
  • try some sautéed onions
  • add this recipe to some scrambled eggs and make it a main course for breakfast, lunch, or brunch
  • roast the garlic first
  • add some chopped fresh cherry tomatoes just before serving

More Spinach Recipes

Bacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich Recipe

Spinach and Egg Frittata for One Person

Spinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

Shakshouka for One

 




Shakshouka for One

Shakshouka doesn’t roll off the tongue when you try to say it.  Maybe it’s a Middle Eastern market?  Or a new folk dance?  It is Middle Eastern spicy poached eggs, either Tunisian or Israeli (depending who you ask, or which ingredients you use). If you make it with onions and bell peppers, it’s Israeli.  On the other hand, if you serve it up with feta or potatoes then it’s Tunisian.

This shakshouka for one recipe is actually two recipes that I mind melded together (one from column A and one from column B) to get what I wanted.

Also, for some reason, I thought it had spinach.  So, I washed and chopped 1/4 C of spinach. Only to find out there was no spinach in either recipe.  I added it anyway. Why waste perfectly good spinach? Besides it adds extra color and flavor, which I think worked out well.

The real recipe ingredients are poached eggs, tomato, onions, bell peppers, and some cayenne for kick.

I’m calling it lunch here, but it works well as a light dinner too. You can put the whole thing together in only 20 or 25 minutes.

So, easy, and no fussing. The hardest part is making sure you don’t break the egg yolks.

Serve it with lots of crusty bread to sop up the sauce.




Substitutions and Variations for Shakshouka for One

  • Slice and fry up a potato in some olive oil, then proceed with the rest of the recipe
  • Add some sliced spicy sausage (merguez would work beautifully)
  • Sprinkle it with some feta cheese
  • If you do break the eggs, just scramble them

More Egg Recipes

egg and tomato gratinEgg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

“Fast” food doesn’t have to mean heavy and greasy. This egg dish is different. Great for brunch or a light lunch.

 

cherry tomato basil frittataCherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Delicious food doesn’t have to be complicated. This recipe has only four ingredients. And you probably have most of them already.

 

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

A quick meal with a bit of a kick. Ready in about fifteen minutes with pantry and fridge staples.

 

eggs with spinach and chili pepperEggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

Brighten your day with this delicious and colorful frittata. It’s another “fast” food meal, ready in minutes. And only requires one skillet too.

 




White Bean Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

I spotted this white bean salad with sun dried tomatoes when I was shopping.  It sounded delicious: beans, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, spinach.  Healthy and tasty!

The price was a bit of a turn off though: $8.00 a pound?! For beans?  Nope.  I had dry beans at home, but it was too hot to start cooking them. So, I trotted over to the canned beans section. Instead of $8.00 a pound, I got a whole can of beans for 88 cents (on sale!).  Score!

The rest was easy (and no cooking needed on a hot day).

Just soak the sun dried tomatoes, pour the beans into a bowl, roughly chop the spinach, chop some onion, and let it sit for a while to let the flavor develop.




Substitutions and Variations for White Bean Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

  • Add some olives and mozzarella cheese
  • Substitute fresh basil for the dried oregano
  • Make it a dip: roast some garlic, add that to the salad, and put it in your mini-chopper or blender. Or, do this with the remaining beans.
  • Use different colored beans or several different kinds. Put the rest of the can(s) in soup or chili.

More Bean Recipes

black beans and rice recipe one personBlack Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

A meal that’s budget and pantry-friendly, that somehow feels indulgent.  Simmer the beans with garlic, onions, and two surprise ingredients for a rich, delicious meal. Cook it less for soup, longer for a side dish/entree.

moroccan bean and chicken soupMoroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Adapted from a popular Ramadan recipe, this soup was a surprise.  It was supposed to be lamb and lentils, but I didn’t have any. So, I improvised. Delicious either way.

 

tuna cannellini bean saladTuna Cannellini Bean Salad Recipe for One

Open a couple of cans, add a few standard ingredients, and you’ve got a meal. No cooking needed.

 

Brazilian chicken paprika stewBrazilian Chicken Paprika Stew

Essentially Brazilian chicken paprikash, but with a South American twist. The cream is gone, and replaced with beans and sausage. It’s rich and satisfying, even without the cream. One pot meal!