Kefta-Style Meatballs with Grilled Grapes and Yogurt Sauce

By • August 9, 2010 40 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe is a combination of a few different restaurant dishes that I have enjoyed over the years. I've gone through a handful of versions, but this one has stuck around. I usually make them with ground beef, but lamb is great too. Also instead of serving as an appetizer, skip the toothpicks and pile it all into a warm pita. I know the grilled grapes sound a little odd, but they really me. - roseinparisroseinparis

Food52 Review: You will fall in love with this recipe as you're mixing the meatball mixture, which sends up wafts of cinnamon, mint and garlic. After browning the meatballs, you sandwich them between a grilled (seared, really) grape -- we used red, and loved how their skins blistered and charred -- and a garlicky, lemon yogurt sauce. For parties, you can make everything ahead of time, and assemble the skewers and sauce just before guests arrive. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 6


  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small red onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch small seedless grapes, red or green

Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. For the yogurt sauce: Mix all ingredients. It's best when made at least 30 minutes ahead of time, to allow flavors to meld.
  2. In a large bowl combine the first 9 ingredients in the meatball list. Don’t over-mix.
  3. Heat a frying pan with some vegetable oil and toss the grapes, lightly browning on all sides, remove and set aside.
  4. Shape meat mixture into small meatballs, fry in the pan, adding more oil if needed to make sure they don’t stick. The heat should be fairly high to ensure a good sear. Toss or turn to make sure all sides brown. Drain on some paper towel, allowing to rest for a few minutes.
  5. Assemble on large cocktail toothpicks: grape first, then meatball on the bottom. Serve with yogurt sauce for dipping.

More Great Recipes: Meatballs|Ground Beef|Beef & Veal|Appetizers|Hors d'oeuvres

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