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turkey meatballs with golden raisins and pine nuts.

Honest to goodness this is the very first meatball recipe I have ever made.  I’m just not a huge meatball fan – is that kind of snobby of me?

But these meatballs are in a whole other category.  They’re seasoned with cumin (a plus in my heart) and include sweet but tart golden raisins and toasty pine nuts.  Yum.  Then there’s the sauce – lemon, yogurt, garlic and more cumin.  Well you’ll just have to try for yourself.

Ok, there’s a little chopping required.  But then the fun begins…mixing all the ingredients up by hand!  I hope you don’t have a strange phobia of having ground meat in between your fingers (or you’ll just have to use a fork…which let’s be honest is just less fun).

Saute them up in a little olive oil and then eat them hot, warm or cold with the lemon yogurt sauce.

I made these for dinner but you could make them smaller and serve as an appetizer.  But I’ll warn you – they’ll go fast.

Turkey Meatballs with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

adapted from Orangette

(serves 4)

What You’ll Need:

1 pound ground turkey (or chicken)…look for approx. cost per pound of $2.99

1 onion, diced

1 egg

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup golden raisins (chop if they are large)

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

black pepper

extra virgin olive oil

Lemon Cumin Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain greek yogurt

juice from 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

salt and pepper


Using your hands (or a fork), mix all ingredients (except olive oil and yogurt sauce)  in a large bowl.  Don’t overmix…just until ingredients are blended together.  If you mix too long meatballs will be tough.

Form meatballs into whatever size you prefer – I did about the size of a golfball since we were serving for dinner.  Heat a thin film of olive oil in a heavy skillet and saute meatballs in batches, turning on all sides for even cooking.  They are done when they are medium-firm to the touch (but not too hard!).  Place on paper towel to catch oil.

Combine all ingredients for lemon yogurt sauce.

Serve meatballs hot, warm or cold with the sauce on the side.

TOTAL:  $7.91 or $1.98 per serving.

Wondering how on earth I arrived at these costs?  Take a look at my shopping guide to show see what I pay for items, per serving, etc.


439 calories per serving

25 grams of fat

31 carbs

25 grams protein

2 grams fiber

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. kellypet79 #

    Just made this tonight and REALLY liked it!! Also, my mom recently made your honey peanut chicken and could not stop raving about it. 🙂

    July 20, 2011
    • Thanks Kelly! So glad you liked it. Did you make it as a meatloaf?

      July 20, 2011
  2. Sarah #

    I made these last night for dinner and they were delicious. The pine nuts gave them great flavor and the raisins make them sweet. The whole fam loved them! Thanks!

    July 27, 2011
    • So glad you enjoyed them! We gobbled them up too.

      July 27, 2011
  3. Allison #

    These look incredible… I love pine nuts!

    September 3, 2011
  4. Thanks for the recipe. Loved the meatballs even better without the sauce. I guess I just don’t like cold sauce on my warm meatballs…but that’s just me.

    May 3, 2012
    • Thanks Esther! I suppose I should also include that the sauce can be cold or warm (as can the meatballs). But I’m glad you enjoyed them even without the sauce. Thanks for the feedback!

      May 3, 2012
  5. Tara #

    These look yummy! Think I’ll try these for a little party I’m having.

    September 17, 2012
    • Perfect! I might suggest making them a little smaller for appetizers. Enjoy!!

      September 18, 2012
  6. Kelly, do you warm up the yogurt sauce or serve it cold?

    October 1, 2012
    • I have typically served the sauce cold or at room temperature. You could warm it too if dipping a warm meatball into a cold sauce is unappealing (as I have heard from several readers). I’m tickled you’re making it! Let me know what you think!

      October 2, 2012
      • The meatballs were so good Kelly. I think Mathew and I liked them even more the second day cold. The flavors really popped when cold. I liked it with the yogurt sauce served cold.(as I was not sure how that would be warmed). Matthew actually mixed up the sauce I use for my meatloaf to eat it with which contains ketchup, brown sugar, nutmeg, and dry mustard. I will be making these again. Thanks for the great recipe. I am enjoying your blog Kelly!

        October 9, 2012
      • Thanks for all the great feedback!! So fun to hear from you!

        October 9, 2012

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