Grilled Middle Eastern Meatballs

Pass crisp lettuce leaves and tangy yogurt with these cumin-spiced patties and assemble them at the table.

Slideshow: Global Grilling
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4


  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh mint
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons zatar (see Note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Bibb lettuce leaves and plain yogurt, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. Light a grill. In a medium bowl, gently mix the chuck with the onion, garlic, parsley, mint, zatar, salt, cumin and pepper. Form the meat into 1 1/2-inch balls and flatten them to 3/4 inch thick patties.

  2. Grill the meatballs over moderately high heat until pink in the center, about 2 minutes per side. Wrap the grilled meatballs in lettuce leaves and serve with yogurt.


Zatar is a Middle Eastern spice blend made with sesame seeds, thyme and sumac, a tart seasoning made from ground dried berries.

Contributed By Photo © Iain Bagwell. Food styling by Simon Andrews. Published February 2014

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