In an effort to stay good on my resolution to make this place a better resource and more practical for you all I am hoping to include more every night dinner options. There will still be cakes – last week alone I made two plus a couple of cream pies. Let’s call it therapeutic baking. But the simple food, the sort we eat on a regular basis, doesn’t always make it to these pages. Let’s change that. I know for myself I am most often flipping through cookbooks and visiting blogs for inspiration for the quick, healthful, and comforting food that can easily make it to our dinner table and possibly with minimal grumbling from the little ones.

Totally unrelated to this particular recipe I’m about to share but I thought of it as I mentioned quick dinners – do you all have an Instant Pot? I think I’m perhaps one of the last to jump on this bandwagon but I have fallen hard for this device and this is coming from someone who generally hates devices. Get me a sharp knife and a cutting board and I’m set. Slow cooker? What’s the point I say. Rice cooker? I’ve got a pot and a lid for that. Yesterday I made the best chicken broth of my cooking career in thirty minutes. Side note to my side note: I took that chicken broth and made this recipe for chicken and dumplings for my sick family (sadly the smell of the broth made one sick child feel sicker, mom fail).  I used leftovers from a roasted chicken made the night before and added one cup of grated Comté cheese to the biscuits.

Okay focus, Ashley. So regular dinners. That’s what I have here in the form of a very simple meatball. I mentioned these last week as they accompanied our Cauliflower Tabouli. The kids loved these simply spiced meatballs as did the group of friends I made them for recently. In fact I promised I would get this post up today so they could have the recipe. Not the kids, the friends, although this recipe is easy enough for the boys to throw together.

Kofta is a type of meatball that is found in Middle Eastern, South and Central Asian recipes. At its simplest it is ground meat mixed with spices. Other recipes include mixing the meat with grains and vegetables. Here ground chicken is seasoned with garlic, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander bound with a bit of yogurt and laced with a flurry of fresh herbs.

A couple of things to note: Perhaps consider doubling the recipe. They make great leftovers for lunches or future dinners (they freeze well too). Also, think leftover meatball sandwich – a slather of the creamy yogurt feta sauce and some crisp greens and thinly shaved cucumber. Yes. Make more than you need.

I used ground dark meat here and I think the moisture is needed. If you can’t find any add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to add just a bit of fat to the meat. For the herbs, use any variety of the soft leafy sort that you might have on hand – dill, cilantro, mint and parsley all do nicely.

More weekday dinner ideas to come. And cake. Always cake.

Chicken Kofta Meatballs + Yogurt Feta Sauce


Chicken Kofta Meatballs

Serves 4 to 6

1 1/4 pound ground dark meat chicken

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

1/2 cup minced fresh herbs

1 tablespoon olive oil

Yogurt Feta Sauce

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup crumbled feta

2 tablespoons finely chopped dill

Pinch salt and pepper


Preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl combine the chicken, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, salt, lemon zest, and yogurt. Mix well to combine. If you're okay with this I'd suggest using your hands.

Heat a cast iron (or other oven safe skillet) over medium high heat. Cook a teaspoon size patty to test for seasoning. Add more salt if needed.

Add the oil to the pan. Use a cookie scoop or a spoon to shape the meatballs into roughly two tablespoon-sized balls. They may loose their shape a bit as there are no eggs or bread crumbs but just add them gently to the pan then sear on all sides, turning them carefully with tongs.

Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven after all the meatballs have seared and roast for 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.

In a small bowl combine the yogurt, feta, dill, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Taste and add more salt as needed.


Serve with the Yogurt Feta Sauce (recipe below). This also goes beautifully with the Cauliflower Tabouli.


29 Responses to “Chicken Kofta Meatballs + Yogurt Feta Sauce”

  1. heather (delicious not gorgeous)

    i’m guilty of judging chicken meatballs as dry all the time, but i shouldn’t, esp when there’s dark meat involved! and the yogurt feta sauce sounds like the kind of thing that could get changed up a lot and still taste amazing; i’m imagining cucumbers and mint and tandoori chicken and naan and delicious things.

  2. Chava @Almost Kosher

    I haven’t jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon yet, but not because I’m adverse to gadgets. In fact, it’s precisely because I’m not adverse to gadgets that I haven’t–I have a slow cooker, rice cooker, and pressure cooker (albeit, not an electronic one) already! However, the hype has caught my attention and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted.

    These kofta look amazing, though. It’s a good call on the dark meat. More flavor and moisture, as you mentioned.

    BTW, I’m a long time subscriber. I love your writing style and the way you style your food photography.

  3. Kyle

    I bought an InstantPot during the Amazon Black Friday sale. I am always looking for new GOOD ways to use it.

    My first go with chicken broth had good color and good taste but the smell was off? I’d love to know your approach.

    I’ve had a few fails BUT I now know the pressure cooker is the only way to cook beans worth bothering with. I know how to cook a pot of beans, but the pressure cooker blows the texture of oven-cooked beans out of the water. Creamy, perfect, even…this is the highest and best use of the pressure cooker.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      I keep a container in my freezer to throw in vegetable scraps which I use for stock. This batch was heavy on the celery and fennel. I used the bones (and some meat) from a leftover roast chicken and added that to the insta-pot with the frozen vegetables then covered the whole thing with water. In thirty minutes I had a rich, flavorful broth. So happy with it.
      And I hear you on the beans! I’ve been making bean soup all the time.

  4. Taste of France

    I made your cauliflower tabbouli last week and it was delicious.
    Meatballs are a great idea for a quick meal, and, as you say, make extra and freeze.
    I’m with you on gadgets. I have a stand mixer and that’s it. Not even a food processor. Maybe it’s because I learned to cook when I lived in Africa and didn’t have electricity (or running water). An oven and a stovetop seem so luxurious. And on a global level, they are indeed.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Glad you enjoyed the tabbouli! I went for the longest time without a food processor. Even now I hate lugging it out of the cabinet. I actually most often just grab the mini one. Easier to deal with.

  5. The slow pace

    I always struggle with dinners. I’m tired, I’m hungry and I just want to crawl into my sofa and binge watch TV series. This recipe, however, sounds like something I could do. Mostly because I’m sure it tastes amazing!

  6. Sis

    I happen to have picked up some ground turkey last night, and have just found tonight’s supper recipe, methinks. I’m very excited that you plan to post more everyday supper recipes, those are my favorites!

    • Sis

      Okay…I made it. Just like the recipe except with turkey. Amazing. I may make it again this weekend! And next Thursday…and the following Monday. ..

  7. Catherine

    Thank you for focusing more on everyday recipes! Those are what I need need need 🙂

  8. Emma

    So funny, I love my instant pot and I’m always so embarrassed when I tell people about it because I consider myself a purist in the kitchen and it sounds like something you might buy off an infomercial. But, it actually gets me to start with real, whole-food ingredients instead of reaching for canned or processed options. That’s what I love about it!

  9. Colleen

    I assume you add the 1/2 cup chopped herbs to the raw meat mixture before searing. Correct?

  10. Colleen

    I love the idea of weeknight meals. I love cooking fresh, flavorful meals, but what I always think is going to take 45 min ends up taking closer to 2 hrs, and sometimes the day gets away from me. The kids are crazy about your Tent Muffins and Coconut oatmeal, and your fudge sauce is a family favorite.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      The tent muffins! I forgot about those. It makes me so ridiculously happy that the recipes that feed my family become family favorites for others too. Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. Maria

    I love Kofta!! I have never had it made with chicken though. These look delicious!! Plus, anything + a feta yogurt sauce = delicious!

    Weeknight dinners can be a drag to come up with – without just putting the same cycle of meals on re-peat. Meat balls are so quick to make, I should integrate them more often. I don’t know why I never think of it!

  12. Chloe (Musings on Dinner)

    It looks beautiful – and so green. I’ve tried turkey meatballs and find them a little dry but these looks very succulent in the photos. And yes to weeknight meals – so helpful

  13. Victoria

    Just made this recipe tonight for dinner. I used ground lamb in place of chicken and added roasted garlic to the mix- served along side your whole roasted carrot recipe and feta ztatziki it was a perfect wholesome, low carb meal AND my boyfriend cleaned his plate. Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. May Rodriquez

    I will definitely give this a try. Why do I read blogs when I’m hungry, it only leads to a few extra pounds… but after eating something like this, you won’t see me complaining haha =)

  15. Lydia Clarke

    I made this last night for my family (husband + 3 small boys). Double batch made enough for dinner and some lunches and was DELICIOUS. I ended up making patties as ball-shapes were just not happening. Those cooked faster, too, which was a plus. I served with couscous and bok choy cooked in the chicken pan. A winner!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      So glad you all liked them! Yea, I used a scoop for form my balls so I didn’t have to handle them too much. But I do love the bonus of having the patties cook up faster. I mean imagine these as a burger!

  16. April

    These look incredible! I was wondering if I could use a plain coconut milk based yogurt since I can’t do dairy. May not have the same tang but yogurt isn’t an option for me. Any other suggestions?

  17. Marry

    I love a simple delicious dinner like this one! I wrapped these balls in lavash bread spread with hummus and drizzled with tahini sauce. Thanks for this recipe. (Directions didn’t mention to add herbs to meat, but I figured it out).