Israeli Chicken Meatballs with Creamy Garlic and Sumac Sauce

anmimic1I love, love, love this recipe. So often chicken turns out dry. So often, when we’re trying to avoid starches (breading), meatballs have this dry, grainy texture. Not with this recipe. Plus, it is packed with flavor. Then there’s the ridiculously delicious sauce. As wonderful as the meatballs are, and they are, the sauce is the shining star of this dish. With a base of sour cream and thick greek yogurt, it too can be a healthy addition to any diet (even a low cab one) if you use it in moderation. 

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup full fat greek yogurt
  • grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove – smashed then finely minced
  • 1.5 Tbs high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs sumac (you can purchase it online here at World Spice)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the meatballs:

  • 1lb ground chicken
  • 1 large zucchini – grated
  • 3 green onions – thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg
  • small hand-full mint leaves – finely chopped
  • small hand-full cilantro stems & leaves – finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic – smashed and minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • several grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • oil for pan searing


  1. Make the sauce first by adding all ingredients to a bowl and stirring them together. Set aside to chill. This can be made days in advance. I like to make extra to have around for dipping just about everything in. It is that good, I promise.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425F. Combine chicken through cayenne into a large bowl. Mix it thoroughly but gently. I like to use my hands for this. A trick for getting the salt and pepper levels right: pinch off a tiny bit (maybe the size of a medium olive) and put it into a small bowl or plate. Zap it in the microwave for 35-40 or until cooked through. The texture will be weird, but you can give it a taste and adjust your salt if needed.
  3. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to coat the bottom. If using a non-stick pan you can use oils like olive oil, that have a lower smoke point. If you use cast iron or anything like that, you may want to switch to an oil with a higher smoke point. Set the pan over medium heat and bring up to a good frying temperature.
  4.  The meat mixture will be a little wet and won’t hold its shape well enough to form firm balls so don’t bother trying to roll these by hand. Use two tablespoons to vaguely shape the meatballs into rounded mounds. One spoon will hold the mixture. Use the second spoon to form the mound and then use it to gently scoop the mixture into the hot pan.
  5. You can try frying the balls on all sides but I’m lazy and find that I like slightly flattened patty-type meatballs to be just perfect. Fry on the first side for around 4 minutes (or until golden) and then flip. Use your spatula to slightly flatten the ball into a patty-ish shape. Give that another 4 minutes or so.
  6. Placed the fried meatballs onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 425 for about 6-7 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Serve with sauce and any veggie dish of your choice. I find that baked or pan seared cauliflower pairs well with it.

One thought on “Israeli Chicken Meatballs with Creamy Garlic and Sumac Sauce

  1. Pingback: Low-Carb Berbere-spiced broccoli cheese “flatbread” with Tahini sauce | Cooking For Thogg

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