Turkish Meatballs in Yogurt and Tomato Sauce


I have a thing for the richness and tang of Greek yogurt. I use it all the time. It’s a healthy, tasty alternative to sour cream. It’s wicked awesome on baked potatoes with a little, salt, pepper, butter, and chopped chives. I put it in a bowl, so the kids don’t know that I’ve tricked them. I’ve got one, in particular, who would think it was heresy to put yogurt on his tacos (sour cream on tacos is a New England thing…don’t hate). What they don’t know won’t hurt them. And it’s mmm mmm good.

Yogurt’s also a frequent guest star in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. You can’t pick up a nutrition book or magazine these days without reading about the copious health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. I wonder, is it the yogurt or the red wine? I vote for the red wine.

This is a riff on a recipe I jotted down in one of my notebooks some time ago.

Feeds 4-6 (depends on who you’re feeding!)

1.5 pounds grass-fed ground beef

1 medium onion

1.5 tsp. cumin

1.5 tsp. dried oregano

1/3 cup chopped parsley

2 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. grated fresh ground pepper

1.5 cups Greek yogurt

1 tsp. grated fresh garlic

½ tsp. kosher salt

1-28 oz. carton of crushed San Marzano tomatoes

2 tsp. smoked paprika

3 tbsp. salted butter

Chopped cilantro for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees


Grate the onion with a cheese grater.


Mix the ground beef, onion, cumin, oregano, parsley, 2 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper in a bowl.


Roll meat mixture into 2” meatballs. Roast the meatballs on a cookie sheet until cooked through.

Mix the yogurt, garlic, and ½ tsp. salt in a bowl.


Melt the butter in a large skillet and add paprika. Heat until the paprika is fragrant. Add the tomato sauce. Mix the butter and tomato sauce well, heat, and add the meatballs to the hot sauce.

I served this dish over basmati rice. First I put rice on the bottom of the dish, then yogurt, tomato sauce, the meatballs, chopped cilantro garnish, and topped with some roasted baby zucchinis. Those baby zucchinis are so dang cute! 

Serve with a generous glass of Burgundy and reap those health rewards. Enjoy.

Eat well!


“Either give me more wine or leave me alone.” -Jalaluddin Rumi







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