Recipe: Middle Eastern Meatballs

3 minutes to read


The writer, cook and photographer behind Your Ultimate Menu

Difficulty: Easy

Ready In: 55 Minutes

Serves: 4


Eggplant and Meatballs

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large handful Italian parsley (optional)
  • 5 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 400 g can chickpeas (14oz)
  • 400 g lamb mince (14oz)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds (optional)

Cauliflower Puree

  • 1 whole cauliflower
  • 2 tsp chicken stock powder
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan (30g)
  • 2 Tbsp butter

To Serve

  • 80 g baby spinach (2.8oz)
  • 135 g sundried tomato dip or pesto (4.8oz)
  • 1 large handful Italian parsley (optional)


1. Preheat Oven

Preheat oven to 180ºC (360ºF) fan bake and line a large oven tray with baking paper.

2. Prepare Ingredients

Dice eggplant into approximately 1cm / 0.4in pieces and season with salt and pepper. Finely dice onion and crush garlic. Finely chop parsley. Roughly chop cauliflower into florets.

3. Cook Spices

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large frying pan on medium. Add onion and garlic and cook until just soft (3-4 minutes). Stir in cumin, coriander, paprika and cinnamon. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

4. Prepare Meatballs

Drain chickpeas, rinse and place in a large bowl. Use a stick blender to process until you have a mixture of smooth and chunky bits (this can also be done in a food processor). Add onion mixture, parsley, lamb mince, tomato paste, egg, salt and pepper. Using a spoon or your hands, mix until well combined.

5. Cook Meatballs

Shape heaped tablespoons of mixture into approximately 24 meatballs and place on prepared tray. Scatter eggplant all around the meatballs, sprinkle cumin seeds on top (if using) and drizzle with remaining 3 teaspoons oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

6. Make Cauliflower Puree

Place cauliflower in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, stir in stock powder and cook for 12 minutes. Drain well, then add parmesan and butter. Use a stick blender or food processor to purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7. Assemble and Serve

Spread cauliflower purée on warmed serving plates. Top with spinach, eggplant and meatballs. Spoon the dip on top and garnish with parsley, if using

Recipe Notes

  • Wine Match: Go for a Shiraz.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free stock powder and make sure dip is gluten-free.
  • Ingredient Notes / Swaps: You could use beef mince instead of lamb mince. Half of the cauliflower can be swapped for 400g / 14oz peeled, diced potatoes – increase boiling time to 20 minutes. You might need to add a little milk when puréeing.
  • Storing and ReheatingStore individual portions in containers in the fridge and reheat in the microwave.

The combination of all the spices in this recipe is what gives it the flavoursome and delicious taste to the meatballs. Better yet, the spices cumin and cinnamon both have anti-cancer properties! 

Cinnamon has been found to decrease the viability of cancer cells while cumin has been found to have potential health benefits in regards to decreasing breast cancer cells. 

To explore more about how certain spices have anti-cancer properties, please see our article on Anti-cancer foods – The Healthiest Herbs and Spices

A bit more about the master chef behind this recipe…

Cooking, baking and creating recipes have always been Josie’s passions. She has a Bachelor of Food Technology and works as a freelance recipe developer, food stylist and photographer.

Josie launched her website, Your Ultimate Menu, as a way to help others solve the dreaded “what’s for dinner?” question. Each week she provides recipes for three easy meals together with an organised shopping list. 

Her sister’s recent diagnosis with coeliac disease has inspired Josie to provide gluten-free options for all of her recipes.

Like this recipe? Check out Josie’s website for more cooking inspiration! https://www.yourultimatemenu.com/ 

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