We know you’re tiring of your usual beef recipes, so here’s a great way to switch it up! This beef kofta recipe comes from Moroccan cuisine and is actually a Mediterranean diet version of a meatball. However, this beef kofta is going to be shaped into patties, like a flavorful Moroccan burger. (FYI: Kofta, or “kefta” in some regions, comes from a Persian word meaning “to grind” because it is made from ground beef or lamb.)
In this episode of To Eat With Love, our Mediterranean diet cooking show, nutritionist Fiorella DiCarlo, RD, CDN, begins by making a classic yogurt sauce. This healthy condiment is used in a variety of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, like a leaner take on mayo or ranch dressing. (Here’s more advice on selecting healthy condiments.) The sauce is made with fat-free yogurt, fresh chopped parsley, lemon juice, and freshly ground black pepper. Make sure the yogurt is plain and unsweetened (you don’t want vanilla in this sauce), and look for one that contains “live and active cultures.” That’s how you get those gut-healthy probiotics! (Here’s more on how probiotics can boost your health.)
The next step is to prepare the cucumber salad. This simple side dish is made by adding rice vinegar to sliced cucumbers. (Try using a mandolin to get thin, even slices.) This process is a quick way to pickle vegetables, which enhances texture and flavor of dishes. These pickled cucumbers make an excellent, crunchy addition to any Mediterranean diet sandwich or platter.
To prepare the beef kofta patties, mix a very lean ground beef with the following spices: cilantro, parsley, fresh ginger, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon. This results in a classic spice blend for North African cuisines. Using spices is also a smart way to cut the sodium levels in your food.
To plate the beef kofta patties after they’ve cooked, place the yogurt sauce in a bowl at the center of a serving platter. Add the patties on one side and a pile of the fresh cucumber salad on the other. Fill in the remaining space around the bowl with triangles of pita bread, which is perfect for stuffing or dipping with the other ingredients. For a special touch, grill the pita bread before adding to the plate.
Dinner guests will love creating their own pita wraps from this fresh, made-with-love platter! Add a side of couscous or a “salad vert” (lettuce and tomatoes) for an extra touch of Moroccan flare to your Mediterranean diet dish.
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups thinly sliced English cucumber
- 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
- 1 tablespoon chopped and peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 (6-inch) pitas, quartered