za’atar turkey meatballs

I have had some serious recipe fails over the last few weeks, which has resulted in an unintentional hiatus here.

We went up to the lake for Brewfest and I made a lemon poppyseed loaf that was good not great. I attempted to turn this apple cake recipe into something resembling the apple pie I had at Winkel 43 in Amsterdam by doubling it and baking it in a springform pan with a layer of apples in the middle rather than mixing them in. It initially appeared to have cooked all the way through but then I got it out to serve it and the middle was totally raw. So I had to Frankenstein it, pulling off the top cooked layer and re-baking the inside. It was ultimately delicious and people liked it but it was more of a bread pudding type dessert than pie slices. Fail.

(I did do it successfully in a regular pie pan without doubling it a couple weeks later, but I think the recipe is better the original way.)


Most egregious that weekend was the cauliflower. I bought two heads of cauliflower and cleaned and chopped it all into florets, intending to turn it into buffalo cauliflower for happy hour. I did the cleaning and chopping the day before we got there just to avoid making a mess in the communal kitchen, but by the time I went to prep it, it was RANCID. Honestly one of the grossest things I’ve ever smelled. I still can’t figure out what went wrong there but TG my mom had made a chicken wing dip to fulfill our buffalo craving.

And then yesterday I tried to make pumpkin whoopie pies but Harris Teeter didn’t have the spice cake mix so I got gingerbread mix instead and discovered that this does NOT work as a substitute.

Let me reiterate: I failed. At a recipe. With boxed cake mix.

So in the spirit of boosting my own confidence I’m going to share these meatballs which are insanely simple but came out great and are proof that I can still do some things right.

Za’atar Turkey Meatballs

1 lb ground turkey

1/4 cup za’atar

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 egg

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cloves minced garlic

Za’atar is a seasoning mix that has some variability but usually has at least thyme, sesame, and salt. I bought green za’atar (about $5 for this huge bag in the international foods section) which also has sumac, fennel, coriander, and anise. Oddly enough I normally hate anise but it doesn’t have a strong taste here I guess.


When we went to Lebanese Sajeria in Amsterdam I got a za’atar and haloumi wrap thing that was delicious so I bought this big bag and have been putting it on everything- roasted cauliflower, mixed with oil and vinegar as a salad dressing, as a chicken marinade, and in these meatballs.

It’s basically like using Italian seasoning mix, but edgier.

Combine all the ingredients except for the turkey in a bowl. This prevents overmixing the meat!


Add the turkey and combine- I usually use my hands- until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Roll into small balls and bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.


Night 1 I served these in homemade bread with hummus, grilled onions and zucchini, and haloumi cheese.


I later broke them up for a baked ziti type thing- I was a little worried about the za’atar working with a more Italian style meal but it was really good!

Moral of the story is- go buy some of this magic dust and start cooking with it. And in the meantime I’ll try to get my act together to give you some fall-flavored deliciousness. I’m thinking pumpkin ice cream and/or some kind of pumpkin air-fryer doughnut…


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Edean says:

    Blame your fails on baby Eddy!

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