Spicy Turkey & Zucchini Meatballs with Creamy Sumac Sauce

March 6, 2013
Spicy Turkey & Zucchini Meatballs with Creamy Sumac Sauce - Incredibly moist turkey and zucchini meatballs loaded with spices & served with a sharp & creamy sumac sauce. They're anything but dull

If I could open the back door to my life

and quietly tip-toe away without anyone noticing ..

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Photo Credit: BusyGhana – Jerusalem

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I'd go to Israel

All the places to see .. with thousands of years of history. I'd love to walk the paths of those who lived in  Biblical times .. and see for myself .. some of the places God dearly loves.

I'd been wanting an excuse to buy this cookbook for quite some time .. what was I waiting for? This recipe becoming the first of many as I began my journey to cook my way through in its entirety.

(** I share this recipe again today .. a post that originally appeared in March of 2013 .. back when The Veggies was just getting started. It's one we've made frequently over the years .. and featured as part of last weekend's Spaghetti Saturday.

The original plan was to update the pictures .. though decided an updated post was also in order for those who maybe haven't ventured through the archives)

They're really .. really good. One of the best turkey burger recipes I've had the pleasure of making.

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The shredded zucchini added to the mix makes them incredibly moist. With spices like mint .. cilantro .. garlic .. cumin .. and cayenne .. they're anything but dull.

Creamy sumac sauce is fantastically sharp. If you happen to have extra .. it and will also go well with most non-red meats .. as well as grilled veggies. It's easy to make in advance .. though after a day or so in the fridge the flavors will mellow a bit .. so it may need to be reinvigorated a bit with extra sumac and/or lemon juice

The burgers are very portable .. easy to have as a snack in the fridge .. bring along to a picnic at the park .. or pack in your sweet husband's lunchbox for work. They also freeze beautifully .. and are simple to pull out when you need a protein boost for a soup or salad.

The original makes slider-sized burgers (~ 1 1/2 oz each) .. which would be great for appetizers. Though we've made them every which way .. as burger-sized burgers .. and in this case .. meatballs

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A few other notes about the recipe

The original calls for including an egg in the mix .. though I've found better results without. The turkey and zucchini mix is already pretty wet.

The original also starts them on the stove-top and finishes them in the oven .. though I've cooked them entirely on the stove-top with great success. They can also be cooked entirely in the oven .. in a way similar to our favorite sicilian recipe. There's really no right or wrong

Sumac is a spice we love. According to a thespicehouse.com .. Sumac is considered essential for cooking in much of the Middle East; it served as the tart, acidic element in cooking prior to the introduction of lemons by the Romans.

If you'd like to experiment with it .. start with a sprinkle on top of hummus .. or maybe as a dusting on roasted veggies .. or even a few pinches on your freshly popped popcorn.

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Looking for a fun and different challenge? There's an online group called Tasting Jerusalem ..where other home cooks are working their way through the cookbook! It might be fun to join them every now and again



ps:  For more recipes and stories from Spaghetti Saturdays .. here

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~ Adapted from Jerusalem by Ottolenghi

Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 Servings
  • Meatballs
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large zucchini, coarsely grated (scant 2 cups)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large free-range egg (**optional .. I'll leave it out if my turkey/zucchini mix seems wet enough)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped mint
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • about 3½ Tbsp olive or coconut oil + more for as needed for searing the meatballs

  • Sour Cream & Sumac Sauce
  • Scant ½ cup sour cream
  • Scant ⅔ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sumac
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Sour Cream & Sumac Sauce
  2. First make the sour cream and sumac sauce by placing all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside or chill until needed.

  3. Meatballs
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 425 deg F.
  5. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs except the oil. (It's easiest to mix with your hands)
  6. Using a tablespoon, scoop about a tablespoon and a half of the turkey mixture and shape them into meatballs (ending up with ~ 20 - 22 meatballs)
  7. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to form a layer about 1/16 inch thick on the pan bottom. Heat over medium heat until hot, then sear the meatballs in batches on all sides. Cook each batch for about 4 minutes, adding oil as needed, until golden brown.
  8. Carefully transfer the seared meatballs to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until just cooked through.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the sauce spooned on top .. or on the side.
Nutritional Data by %
% Protein: 25
% Carbs: 17
% Fat: 31
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅙ total recipe Calories: 382 Fat: 24.53 Carbohydrates: 16.92 Sugar: 4.63 Fiber: 1.3 Protein: 24.58
pps:    Miss Hoover .. What evening of cooking would be complete without a bit of clean-up? We love you extra for that 

Jerusalem - Hoover

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1 Comment

  • Reply DaveUtrata March 6, 2013 at 11:55 am

    A total home run!

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