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Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Sumac Sauce

by practicewithdanielle
top down shot of Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Sumac Sauce on a blue plate on wood floors
One of the things I like about living in Denver, is the dramatic change in seasons.

Love SF, primarily for the weather, but you’re never really outside the 50-70 degree range.

We’ve had a brutally hot summer. Then all of a sudden this week, something shifted. Fall is here.

The airy is thin and crispy.
Rayna chases every leaf.
Pumpkin treats are everywhere.
Sweaters and boots are back in rotation.

The change in season reminds me that time keeps moving, even when we aren’t ready for it.

On my Rayna walks, I’ve had to remind myself to stop and take it all in. I have the life I had been dreaming about.

It all feels so normal/routine today, but one day in the not too distant past, I longed for this day.

To walk my puppy on a crisp fall day, waiting for a loved one to come home and eat dinner together.

Of course I replaced those dreams with new ones, but this one still feels pretty damn good.

My guess is that you’re living the dreams of your past too.


If you know me, you know I don’t like touching meat.

And these Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Sumac Sauce require you to get your hands all up in that meat.

But I’ve evolved. If I’m going to eat meat, I should touch it. Next step, kill it, prep it yada yada, one step at a time.

close up of Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Sumac Sauce on a blue plate

I love that there are basically three steps in this recipe:

1. Mix sauce
2. Mix meatballs
3. Cook meatballs

The perfect mid-week meal that will feed you for a few days.

My favorite part of these Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Sumac Sauce is the herbs and spices. There’s nothing too fancy in here yet they taste special – maybe it’s the cumin, or the green onions or maybe the Sumac Sauce.

close up shot of Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Sumac Sauce

We’re in Israel month and I got this recipe from Jerusalem, from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. 

It’s literally the one recipe in this book that does not discuss where it came from.

It’s also one of my favorites.

But after making quite a few Israeli dishes over the least few weeks I can tell you this Turkey Zucchini Meatball with Sumac Sauce recipe just feels so Israeli – the meatballs, the sumac, fresh herbs and cumin.

Fresh and perfectly spiced is how I come to think of Israeli food.

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Sumac Sauce on a blue plate on a wood counter

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Sumac Sauce

(start making 30 minutes before you want Turkey Zucchini Meatballs)

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
1 lb ground turkey
1 large zucchini, grated (about 2 cups) and water squeezed out
3 green onions, sliced
1 egg
2 Tbsp mint, chopped
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
6 Tbsp sunflower oil


Sumac Sauce 
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup greek yogurt (5% fat)
1 lemon (juice and zest
1 glove garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sumac


Make the sumac sauce by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425F. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs except the sunflower oil. Mix with your hands and create 18 small patties.

Pour 1/3 of the oil into a pan (I used non-stick and used even less oil). Heat over medium until hot, then sear the meatballs on each side, about 4 minutes total.

Repeat in 3 batches until all the patties are browned on both sides. Place all patties on a cookie sheet and cook in the oven 5-7 minutes until cooked through. Serve immediately with the Sumac Sauce.


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