Middle Eastern Meatballs with Cherries & Spicy Zhoug

Reach My Kitchen

Serves 4
Prep time:
Cook time:

A wonderful take on meatballs, if you love middle eastern flavours then this is the perfect dish. The meatballs are full of spices and the cherries add a slight sweetness to the finished dish. Serve with plain rice, pilaf or flatbread.


  • For the meatballs:
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp Lebanese 7 spice (shop bought or make your own)
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 70g dried cherries
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil

    For the zhoug:
  • 50g coriander
  • 30g parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-6 jalapenos (depending how spicy you like!)
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
    *Lebanese 7 spice: 1 tbsp ground allspice, 1 tbsp ground cloves, 1 tbsp ground nutmeg, 1 tbsp ground fenugreek, 1 tbsp ground ginger, 2 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp ground cinnamon.


  1. Combine the beef mince, Lebanese 7 spice, chilli flakes, egg, 1 1/2 tsp sea salt & some chopped parsley in a bowl, use your hand to mix together until well combined then form into meatballs.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet on a medium/high heat and brown the meatballs on both sides. Turn the heat down and add the onions, fry for a few minutes to soften then add the dried cherries and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer then cover. Turn the heat down and cook for around 20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.
  3. Meanwhile make the zhoug by blending all the ingredients together.
  4. Check the meatballs are cooked and season the sauce with salt. Garnish with a the zhoug, some chopped parsley and yogurt if you wish.