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Aleppo Pepper comes from Syria. It has a moderate heat level with some fruitiness and mild, cumin-like undertones, with a hint of a citrusy, salty taste. You could use paprika or smoked paprika in its place.
It's important to really run your knife over the scallions and the chili pepper because the meatballs cook very fast which means the vegetables need to cook fast. The zucchini will have a tender-crisp texture and remain bright green. Mint is wonderful with these meatballs but regular basil, Thai basil or cilantro would be great too.
You can make the mixture into mini meatloaves in muffin tins or regular size meatloafs too.
I've received a lot of positive feedback on this recipe. They've been featured on Healthy Aperture and Top Inspired 10 Best Persian Recipes.
Serves 6-8 with rice and salad
- 2 16 ounce packages of ground chicken, turkey or lean ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups grated zucchini (2 medium-size zucchini should be enough). Squeeze some of the water out of the shredded zucchini.
- jalapeno grated or minced. Removing the seeds will control the heat.
- 1 bunch of scallions (about 6-8), minced. Really run your knife over them, see notes.
- 1-2 limes, zest half of one and reserve the zest.
- 1/2 cup of plain breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon of dried spearmint or herb of your choice. Do not use peppermint.
- Sea salt or kosher salt to taste
- Olive oil for cooking
- To Serve: Aleppo pepper, fresh herbs like mint, Thai basil, cilantro and/or parsley, Greek yogurt, creme fraiche, marinara or sour cream for dipping, lime wedges
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line baking trays with foil and spray them liberally with olive oil cooking spray. Grate the zucchini into a large bowl with a box grater. Squeeze some of the water out. I do this with paper towels. Return the zucchini to the bowl and add the ground turkey or ground chicken, eggs, jalapeno, scallions, lime zest, bread crumbs, mint and salt. Mix to combine. Wet your hands or put a little olive oil on your hands and roll the mixture into marble-size balls. Place the meatballs on the foil-lined baking trays and bake for 10-15 minutes or until juicy but cooked in the through. Try not to overcook them or they'll become dry. Serve with a sprinkling of Aleppo pepper or paprika and lime wedges. Serve sour cream, Greek yogurt, creme fraiche or marinara for dipping. Enjoy!