Thursday, October 20, 2022

Easy Fall Weeknight Meals: Piri Piri Turkey Meatballs with Shepherd Salad

Using flavors from the famous Portuguese Piri Piri sauce my Piri Piri Turkey Meatballs with Shepherd Salad is a weeknight wonder!

Piri Piri Turkey Meatballs with Shepherd Salad

I used to never make meatballs until I found out how simple they are and how creative with flavors you can get.  What is Piri Piri anyway?  It's a spice or sauce the Portuguese use in dishes that is a wonderfully fiery mix of red chilies and spices with citrusy notes.  This one is for all my spicy lovers!  This dish has a little bit of heat, but tastes so good.

The meatballs are made with a healthier ground turkey and are broiled.  They is served with a simple salad of cucumber and cherry tomatoes, along with a flavored yogurt.  Serve over rice and some pita on the side and you have one great meal!


What Ingredients do I need?

  • ground turkey
  • egg
  • fresh pita bread
  • piri piri spice blend - I use this one
  • roasted vegetable pesto
  • greek yogurt
  • cucumber
  • cherry tomatoes
  • garlic
  • cilantro
  • red wine vinegar

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use ground beef, chicken, or lamb if you prefer
  • Use roasted red pepper pesto instead
  • Serve with roasted potatoes or mashed potatoes, instead of rice

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • You will use a small part of the pitas to make a panade.  This is a combination of bread and egg that will be folded in to the ground meat, keeping it moist and tender.
  • The salad and yogurt sauce can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator.
  • Broilers vary, so watch the meatballs and the pita closely when cooking them under the broiler.
  • Make sure to use an oven safe skillet when you broil the meatballs.  Cast iron is perfect for this use.

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Piri Piri Turkey Meatballs with Shepard Salad

serves 4

1 lb ground turkey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Piri Piri spice, divided use
1/3 cup roasted vegetable pesto
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 pitas
1 English cucumber, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large clove garlic, minced, divided use
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped, divided use
3/4 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

In a medium bowl, combine vinegar and 2 tablespoons oil.  Add peppers,  cucumbers, and a pinch each salt and pepper; toss to combine. Let stand, stirring occasionally.

Preheat broiler with top rack 6 inches from heat source.  Cut each pita in half, then cut a 1-inch thick strip from two of the cut sides of the halves.  Finely chop the pita strips.  In a medium bowl, combine the egg and chopped pitas, mashing with a fork to combine.  Add turkey, salt½ teaspoon of the piri piri seasoning¼ teaspoon of the chopped garlic, and a 1/4 teaspoon pepper; stir to combine.  Shape into meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each).

Transfer meatballs to a medium ovenproof skillet. (I used a cast iron skillet)  Broil meatballs on the top oven rack until browned, 4–8 minutes (watch closely, as broilers vary). 

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine roasted vegetable pesto⅔ of the cilantro, and ½ teaspoon of piri piri seasoning

When meatballs are browned, spoon sauce over meatballs.  Broil on top rack until sauce is warm, 1–2 minutes more.

Brush reserved pitas all over with oil. Broil directly on top oven rack until lightly browned, 1 minutes (watch closely). Remove pitas to a cutting board, and slice into wedges.

In a small bowl, stir together yogurtremaining chopped garlic1 tablespoon water, and a pinch each salt and pepper. Stir remaining cilantro into the salad.  Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle meatballs and sauce with olive oil.  Serve meatballs over hot cooked rice if desired, top with a dollop of yogurt,  salad and pita wedges on the side.

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