Israeli Meatballs with Broad Beans

Last week I set myself a challenge to play with some new flavours in old classics and these Israeli meatballs courtesy of Ottolenghi were an absolute winner.

Not only were the meatballs totally scrumptious by themselves but the broadbeans and lemon just add that little extra bit of tasty.

You can serve these with some warmer up flatbreads, pita or my personal favourite of orzo rice.

Israeli Meatballs with Broadbeans

  • Servings: Makes about 20 meatballs, to serve 4
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  • 4½ tbsp olive oil
  • 350g broad beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 whole thyme sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 8 spring onions, sliced
  • 2½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, mint, dill and coriander, to finish

For the meatballs

  • 300g minced beef
  • 150g minced lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 120g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp each chopped flat-leaf parsley, mint, dill and coriander
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tsp baharat spice mix
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp capers, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten


Put all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Add three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper and mix well with your hands. Form into balls about the same size of ping-pong balls.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in an extra-large frying pan for which you have a lid.

Sear the meatballs in batches over a medium heat, turning them until they are brown all over – about five minutes. Once you’ve cooked all the meatballs give the pan a wipe clean with a kitchen towel.

While the meatballs are cooking, throw the broad beans into a pot with plenty of salted boiling water and blanch for two minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water.

Heat the remaining oil in the meatball pan, add the thyme, garlic and spring onion, and sauté over a medium heat for three minutes.

Add half the broad beans, one and a half tablespoons of the lemon juice, 80ml of the stock, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper. The beans should be almost covered by liquid. Pop on the lid and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.

Return the meatballs to the pan, add the remaining stock, cover again and simmer gently for 25 minutes.

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. If it is still very runny, remove the lid and reduce a little.

Once the meatballs stop cooking, they will soak up a lot of the juices, so make sure there is still plenty of sauce at this point. You can leave the meatballs now, off the heat, until you’re ready to serve.

Just before serving, reheat the meatballs and add a little water, if needed, to get enough sauce. Gently stir in the remaining herbs, lemon juice, broad beans and serve immediately.


Orzo Rice

Normally you’ll find people use butter to toast the orzo however all you really need is a good quality olive oil – my personal choice is always Greek olive oil as it packs a strong flavour and aroma – and a pinch of salt. Job done – dairy free comfort food at its best.

Serves 4


  • Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Basmati Rice
  • 1/3 cup Orzo
  • 3 cups Chicken Stock
  • Salt


In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat add the oil and orzo, browning until golden.

Add rice, chicken stock and water; bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to medium-low.

Simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes or until all water is absorbed.

Set the rice aside for atleast 10 minutes before you fluff.

The original recipe can be found in Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

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