Moroccan Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs

Sometimes, a recipe just doesn’t turn out right even when you follow the recipe to the letter. That’s what nearly happened when I decided to try a turkey and zucchini meatball recipe I found on a food blog.

The original turkey and zucchini meatball recipe I was trying out would not have worked. Sumac, in my opinion, is too tart for a yogurt sauce. I wasn’t sure by what the author meant as a “large” zucchini (what is large? 10″? 12″?), and the recipe didn’t say to drain and thoroughly dry the shredded zucchini (which is essential). Adding two cups of wet zucchini to the moist ground turkey would have been a sloppy mess. You can’t make meatballs from a sloppy mess. Period. I’m Part Italian. I know. Maybe the original recipe used a dried-out zucchini? Maybe the ground turkey was bone dry? I don’t know the answers, but I liked how my recipe adaptation turned out.

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Moroccan Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs, adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

Makes 10-12 large meatballs or 2 dozen mini meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1# pasture raised ground turkey (lamb would be nice, too)
  • 1 medium zucchini (about 6-8″ zucchini, grated, drained, and dried between paper towels (about 1½C)
  • 1 egg
  • 2T parsley, minced
  • 2T mint, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1t ground cumin
  • 1t sea salt
  • ¼t freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼t cayenne pepper
  • ¼t Ras El Hanout spice
  • 1-2T coconut flour (you can use fine ground cracker crumbs or regular flour)
  • EVOO and coconut oil for frying

Yogurt sauce ingredients:

  • 1C plain Greek yogurt (I like Cabot® full fat)
  • zest of half a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • ½ garlic clove, minced (if you prefer it really garlicky, add a whole one)
  • ¼t Ras El Hout spice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Make the yogurt sauce by combing all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 400°.

In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients except the coconut flour. If the mixture is too wet, add a tablespoon of coconut flour. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the mixture and form into balls and place them on parchment or on a foil lined cookie sheet.

In a large cast iron skillet, add the olive oil and coconut oil – enough to give your meatballs a good fry. I usually use about ¼C of EVOO and 4T of coconut oil for my large skillet (see pic). You can always add more oil if it looks like you need it or less if your skillet is smaller. Heat the oils until the coconut oil has melted and the EVOO is fragrant but not smoking. Add the meatballs, making sure they have enough room in the skillet between them. Fry on medium-high heat, turning often, for about 3-4 minutes total or until they get nicely browned all around. Put the whole pan in the oven and finish the meatballs off in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Serve with the Greek yogurt sauce on the side.

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