sheet pan meatballs with crispy turmeric chickpeas

In October of last year, I made one of the best, and prettiest, dinners I’d had all year and couldn’t wait to tell you about them. Then I got a *little* (29 flights and 24 cities in 7 weeks) busy and somehow (somehow!) they — along with the Dutch apple pie, this endive salad and some brown butter carrots I’m still holding out on you — fell by the wayside. And so let me present a long-overdue entry in the Best of 2017 files, eagerly hoping to make a run in 2018.

what you'll need, kindaseason and spice the chickpeastoss the spiced chickpeas with half of onion slicesmix the meatballs

This dish is inspired by two others. The first is a favorite recipe from my first cookbook, the sesame-spiced turkey meatballs that teeter on a lemony smashed chickpea salad; I will forever love the combination of lemon, spices, chickpeas and just enough protein to balance the meal out. The second is a sheet pan chicken with turmeric, roasted and lightly pickled red onions and lemon I spied on the New York Times website last year and couldn’t get out of my head. However, I’m on a bit of a meatball kick, especially since I recently realized (only after all of you have been telling me for years and me stubbornly waiting to find out) how easy they are to bake, and how delightfully they keep their golf ball shape when you do. And those spiced meatballs, just barely tweaked, work fantastically here.

form the meatballscrisp the chickpeasadd the meatballslemony pickle half the onion

The result is packed with flavors, textures and color; and we scooped it into bowls with lemony salted yogurt and lightly pickled onions and pita wedges, and all I want it more fun, playful dinners like this all year.

sheet pan meatballs with chickpeas, turmeric and lemon


One year ago: Crusty Baked Cauliflower and Farro
Two years ago: Swiss Chard Pancakes and Blood Orange Almond and Ricotta Cake
Three years ago: My Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup and Butterscotch Pudding
Four years ago: Chicken Pho
Five years ago: Gnocchi in Tomato Broth
Six years ago: Buckwheat Baby with Salted Caramel
Seven years ago: Pizza with Bacon, Onions, and Cream
Eight years ago: Barley Risotto with Beans and Greens
Nine years ago: Vanilla Almond Rice Pudding
Ten years ago: Crunchy Baked Pork Chops and Pickled Carrot Sticks
Eleven years ago: World Peace Cookies and Leek and Mushroom Quiche

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Hummus Heaped with Tomatoes and Cucumbers
1.5 Years Ago: Corn, Bacon and Parmesan Pasta
2.5 Years Ago: Very Blueberry Scones
3.5 Years Ago: Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings and Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches
4.5 Years Ago: Grilled Bacon Salad with Arugula and Balsamic and One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes

Sheet Pan Meatballs with Chickpeas, Turmeric and Lemon

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Source: Turmeric chickpeas adapted from NYTimes, meatballs from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
  • Print

Meatballs take much less time to cook than chickpeas do to crisp, so they go in long after the chickpeas. The red onion that gets roasted will char a bit; we love it. Because I’ve been writing and reading comments here for as long as a 6th grader has been alive, I know that you’re about to tell me that you do not like fennel seeds. Yes, you can skip them. There’s enough else going on here. You could also add a teaspoon or two of whole cumin seeds, for an extra crunchy boost. But if you like fennel seeds or you’re on the fence, I think you’ll love them here.

If you’d like to keep this dish, and meatballs, dairy-free, you can replace the 1/4 cup plain yogurt with 2 tablespoons of water, bringing the water in the meatballs to 1/4 cup. And of course skip the salted lemon yogurt at the end.

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Meatballs
  • 1 pound (455 grams) ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup panko, or another plain, dry breadcrumb
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, hot paprika, or red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or mint leaves, or a mix thereof, plus more to garnish
  • To serve
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 3/4 of a lemon)
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • Toasted pita wedges
  • Harissa or another hot sauce

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine chickpeas, fennel seed, cumin, 1 teaspoon turmeric and half the red onion slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast for 25 minutes, until beginning to firm/crisp up.

Meanwhile, make meatball mixture. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a fork or (my recent discovery) a potato masher to mix. Form into 1.75-inch meatballs; I use a #40 cookie scoop, which holds about 1 2/3 tablespoons.

Remove sheet pan with chickpeas from the oven (leave oven on) and move the chickpeas to the sides of the pan, clearing a space in the center. Lightly coat center with a thin coat of oil, either brush or spray it on, just to be safe. Add meatballs to oiled area, not touching. Place baking sheet in oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.

Meanwhile, toss remaining onion slices with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Combine yogurt with remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; set aside.

When meatballs are cooked, scatter remaining fresh herbs over the tray. Serve with lemony onions and yogurt, toasted pita wedges and hot sauce. Repeat as often as needed.

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278 comments on sheet pan meatballs with crispy turmeric chickpeas

  1. Sallyt

    Your turkey meatballs/chickpea salad is a favorite of ours – I always double the salad. Coincidentally, I made meatballsballs twice last week – one from small victories, which we love, and the other was a riff off Melissa Clark’s Vietnamese meatballs from dinner. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

        1. Leah M Miller

          I knew this was a hit when the first words out of my husband’s mouth were, “Yup, I’ll take that!” The only thing I did differently was add a little garlic to the yogurt we served it with…. husband ate his on a Greek style pita like a gyro.

          I’ve literally never had a recipe of yours that wasn’t wonderful. Thank you!

  2. Jessica

    Looks delicious! Do I assume correctly that after the chickpeas are moved to the edge of the pan, the meatballs are placed in the center?

      1. Bonnie Cape

        It’s just because there is a typo in the instructions that it’s unclear. Move chickpeas aside and place the meatballs in the center, per the photo.

    1. Tara

      Loved, made with ground turkey and these were delicious and perfectly cooked! So easy too. I’m Indian, the fennel really enhanced the flavors of this dish. Thanks Deb!

  3. Nathaniel

    This looks amazing! I’ll keep this one on my list of dinners for when I’m actually cooking (right now I’m on the meal plan at school). Do you have any recommendations that would pair well if I wanted to add some more vegetables to this meal, either as part of it or in a salad separately?

    1. deb

      I definitely think you could add some diced carrot or sweet potato or cauliflower to the pan; just increase the spices and seasonings so they get coated too. Carrots and cauliflower take *about* 30 minutes to roast, so may need less time. Sweet potato, more like 40, but keep an eye on it, moving it around as needed so it doesn’t blacken underneath. Maybe you could add some leaves of curly kale (tossed with a little oil, salt and pepper) from a salad kit about 10 minutes from the end so they soften, scoop them into your bowl too.

      1. Andrea

        Gah. Kale, sweet potatoes, chickpeas and Indian spices. Best combination ever. Now if only I could get sweet potatoes in Pakistan. At least the spices are easy!

    2. stacey

      Thanks, Deb! Another winner!!! Made meatballs the first time round and skipped the chickpeas cuz I just don’t care for roasted chickpeas (I know, I know!!!) I did a trifecta of smoked paprika, cayenne and Aleppo as the red pepper in the meatballs, and a bit more than called for, and did not regret it…
      Last night, partly out of laziness, partly out of curiosity, I made 2 small meatloafs (i doubled the recipe cuz I love good leftovers). Spread it out in baking dishes so it was only 1″ or so thick and would cook evenly, and I think it took about 15 minutes longer than the meatballs… was delicious, edges were browned and crispy but not burnt! And the ‘run off’ olive oil from the baking dishes is actually really nice mixed in with the lemony yogurt or sopped up with pita.

  4. MichelleLL

    I totally thought those meatballs were cauliflower, which I am loving right now. I think I need to add some when I make this.

  5. sshapiro87

    The spiced sesame meatballs with the chickpea salad is one of our weeknight favorites! Can’t wait to try this one :) Do you think that the meatballs from the first cookbook could be done like this (just baked, without the browning first) without losing anything?

      1. Dan

        We’ve made the sesame meatballs and chickpeas several times, and we’ve actually found that using a disher to scoop the meatballs, lightly rolling them with our hands, then broiling them actually produces a fairly crispy, deep brown crust with a nicely rounded shape. And they pretty much just cook through with the broiler.

      2. Lesley C

        This is a delicious meal! I left the fennel seeds out because I didn’t have any, and it was absolutely tasty. I served with parathas as I didn’t have pita. This will stay in our dinner rotation.

  6. Jess

    We LOVE the meatballs and chickpeas from your first book, so very much. We’ve made it many times over, so I’m really excited to try this. I have a self-professed “chickpea problem” and then you also said “pickled onions” so I’m completely sold. Adding it to the meal plan for next week!

  7. This sounds fantastic. The yogurt in the meatballs is new to me.
    I have tried crispy chickpeas and they went from not the least bit brown to burnt-beyond-eating in the blink of an eye. Just sayin’…watch them!
    Also, FYI, the add that pops up at the bottom of your post is for a hoodie printed to look like a steak. Appropriate!

      1. I made a double batch with 1 1/3 lbs of ground beef (one “cube” of a Costco 3 pack) and 3/4 lb ground lamb. Two half sheets of nicely spiced goodness were devoured by a passel of hungry young adults, with rave reviews all around, even though I over cooked the meatballs a titch. Thanks for a forgiving crowd pleaser!

    1. Lexi

      We made it with a pound of beef only, and it was still very light (thanks to the yogurt). This recipe is amazing! We will definitely make it again soon.

  8. Have you ever done a veggie alternative to meatballs? I would love sheet pan dinners, but am bad at thinking up alternatives. (e.g., I was thinking about replacing meatballs with eggplant, but then it’s much lower protein). I’ve made lentil meatballs and veggie burgers before, and they are good in saucy dishes but might be kind of dry in this setting. Thanks!

    1. deb

      I haven’t experimented much with this, but really think that lentils, semi-mashed, could easily replace the turkey. In my new book, there’s a sheet pan halloumi with a lot of vegetables and a great marinade, and also a crispy pan of tofu and broccoli with a crunchy cold sesame sauce.

      1. Rachel

        What about a nut-based veggie meatball with the spices you’ve got in the turkey ones? I was thinking that might be a more neutral vehicle for highlighting the cumin, etc. I’m also thinking that since nuts have a higher fat content they might not get dry the way I imagine bean-based meatballs might in the oven.

    2. Tanya

      I think baked falafel balls would work as a great vegetarian substitute here. I’ve made the pistachio ones from sprouted kitchen blog many times and they are excellent.

  9. Kate

    Hi! Love the idea of this recipe but don’t like ground turkey (or chicken, unfortunately). Do you think it would work with another type of meat?

  10. Sudie

    so excited to see a new meatball recipe here!!! I’ve been wearing out your chicken marsala recipe for the last few weeks and can’t wait to try this next

  11. JP

    I don’t have your new cookbook at hand, but I did read it and I wonder, including this recipe, how many of your recipes include chickpeas? They seem to be the popular bean right now. I do wonder if any other beans can be crisped like chickpeas, or if they are the only one?

    1. deb

      Looks like about 18 on the site (which has about 1200 recipes), although on some, it’s just one ingredient of 8 or more in a salad, and in a few it’s hummus, of course. However, the last year has been particularly chickpea-heavy: this recipe, the quick pasta ceci, and a simple pot of them, and a fourth if you include this hummus dish. Three recipes with chickpeas in the new book. I like all beans equally but do find that the recipes with chickpeas seem to get made by more people than the ones with my more beloved beans — white beans and black beans.

      1. Jenny

        I will eat anything with black beans: if it’s the main ingredient even better. I love the taco recipe you have, more ideas always welcome!

  12. Well, I happen to love fennel seeds! And fennel in general. Mmm. This recipe looks beautiful, as does the chicken sheet pan recipe you linked. Can’t wait to make it using goat yogurt, as I can’t have cow dairy. Thanks!

    1. Mel

      You would have to soak and cook the chickpeas first. If you have a good recipe for cooking your chickpeas plain then do that, drain them, and follow the recipe.

    2. Charity

      Doing this right now! A 15oz can of chickpeas is about 2 cups of cooked chickpeas, so you need about 4 cups cooked for the recipe, which is approximately 1 1/3 cups of dried chickpeas. I think they benefit from a soak in cold water overnight, and often add a little baking soda to the soaking water, but have also skipped the soaking step (it just means they take longer to cook).

      1. Donna

        Charity: Thanks for the canned to dried chickpea conversion info. I find many recipes that call for canned when I want to use dried, this info will be very helpful.

  13. Mel

    This is a winner! I made it tonight, and my two teens and husband loved it. I pickled the non-baked onions with some cider vinegar, water and sugar by heating them up and then letting them sit while I made the rest. I also made a little shredded kale salad dressed with pomegranate molasses and olive oil that added a nice note to the mix. My daughter commented and ‘mmmmm’ed all the way through dinner, and I can’t blame her: crunchy chickpeas, onions and fennel seeds + tender meatballs + toasty pitas + creamy yogurt + sour onions…. YUM. Thanks, Deb!

  14. Laurel

    If one does not like fennel seeds another direction to consider would be sumac.a restaurant near us does crispy chickpeas (deep fried) with sumac and I do a baked version at home with some smoked paprika along with the sumac. Quite delicious and I think both could be added to the meatball mixture and crispy chickpeas without ruining anything.

  15. Sarah

    Sort of tangential, but I think of this every time you post something baked on sheet pans—what kind of pans do you have, and does one side twist up all crazy in a hot oven? I thought I had substantial, decent-quality pans, but I still hear them go *boing* in the oven 5 minutes into cooking.

    1. deb

      Mine haven’t twisted; I have a few brands, none I’m terribly attached to. I have a few Chicago Metallic 1/4-sheet pans (9×13) that I definitely like. But I don’t think my half-sheets (13×18) like this have any name attached. I look for heavy-feeling pans that are uncoated and that the edge of the pan fully rolls under.

      1. Michelle

        Agree! I finally bought Nordicware pans and they are the first that haven’t warped. They also still look like new even though they’re a couple months old.

  16. Yum! We got “snowed in” in Texas today, which pretty much looked like someone just shook a little salt on the ground, but I digress. I always use snow days to bake and cook, so I was really pumped to discover that I already had all the ingredients for this recipe. It was delish! Thanks for posting. I didn’t have fennel seeds, but I used whole cumin seeds as you suggested. A++ Loved the lemony yogurt and onions too. Good call. Thanks, Deb.

  17. This looks so good, but I am not a fan of ground turkey. Do you think it would suffer if I used chicken for the meatballs instead? And can you comment on how well it freezes for later noshing?

  18. NK

    This was really good. Easy, healthy and delicious. While he liked the meatballs, my carnivore husband said the chickpeas and pickled onions were the best part. Going into regular rotation.

  19. dincer

    this is very much like something I came up with that has its roots in the food of my hometown. Instead of stealing the cumin’s thunder with fennel and turmeric I put more cumin (some seeds, some ground). The sauce is where the kick should be. 1 lemon’s juice mixed with tahini as if you were making mayo (but this is way easier). After a point of adding tahini the emulsion becomes thick all of a sudden. Mix with some chopped plain parsley and garlic and pour over the chickpeas. Yummy.

    extra points for using bitter oranges instead of lemon

  20. Nancy Sinkoff

    Any suggestions about replacing the yogurt with something non-dairy? We keep kosher so many meatball recipes end up on the cutting room floor (except Joan Nathan’s Moroccan Albondigas from ‘Jewish Cooking in America’). Thoughts?

    1. Amanda

      Wouldn’t suggest it for this recipe, but I use dark beer instead of milk to make more traditional meatloaf and meatball recipes kosher. Works great and makes the meat extra tender!

  21. Jane M

    My connection to home-on the road for business and this recipe pops up! Very inspiring – I’m making my shopping list on my phone right now! Going away is good for me cuz I seem to do a reset in my kitchen.

  22. Maybe this is a silly question but I have a newly gluten-free family member so am new to the GF world….. do you think it would be ok to just leave the panko/breadcrumbs out or do you have any ideas for a GF replacement? This looks so yummy, the chickpeas especially!!

      1. Kim

        I make turkey meatballs with cooked quinoa in place of breadcrumbs. (1/4 cup raw quinoa cooked in about 1/2 cup water – watch it closely and add more water if necessary – per pound of ground turkey.)

  23. Christina

    I got your first cookbook for Christmas and had shopped for the original meatballs and chickpeas from it last week but didn’t get around to making them yet… This might have to take precedence with that pound of turkey sitting in the fridge. Thanks Deb!

    1. CarolJ

      Similarly to @Brenna, I use a brown rice cereal (Rice Crispie-like) that I get at Whole Foods, and pulse it in my blender to get a panko consistency. I agree with @Rita, below, that boxed GF panko is a disappointment.

  24. Rita Marlowe

    Carly: I’m GF so here’s some advice regarding breadcrumbs. I have tried the GF versions, though not this year, and my experience is that they are not a good substitute. Best suggestion I have is to make your own using GF bread. Just toast in oven until hard or use stale bread, then make into crumbs in food processor.

  25. Francoise

    I love the idea of a crispy chickpea. However whenever I make them in the oven they never quite crisp up; more like dried out and sometimes tough. I’ve tried drying thoroughly and then letting them sit to dry more, increasing oven temperature. I’m thinking I may have to actually fry them in oil to get the right texture Does anyone have any thoughts on what might be happening and how I could be more successful? Thank you!

    1. deb

      Without a doubt, frying makes them more crispy without them getting hard. That said, I find I have the most luck in the oven with Goya chickpeas (not sponsored, of course, but I actually like their canned beans the most across the board) because they usually seem large, with loose-ish skins (the part that picks up crisp the best) but firm, followed by chickpeas I’ve cooked myself. I’ve seen recipes where you’re encouraged to roll them in… rice flour? for extra crisping. But I can’t find it online now to confirm.

      1. JP

        Guessing that it could be rolling the chickpeas in cornstarch. We do this with tofu to get it really crisp and brown in oil in a skillet. Might not be the healthiest way to eat tofu, but certainly one of the best. Might work for chickpeas too?

      2. MCC

        I’ve tried every store- and national-brand of canned beans from Texas to Massachusetts and Goya wins hands down! There seems to be a much higher bean-to-liquid ratio than a lot of others, too. [Looking at you 365 brand…] I occasionally stray when something else is on sale and I always regret it.

  26. Beth

    Every time I bake meatballs (I’ve used beef, turkey, chicken, and pork), they seem to end up “leaking” (?) a lot of juice onto my pan as they’re cooking. I always assumed this is grease, even when I use really lean meat. I do sometimes add onions into the meat mixture, so I guess that could also cause some moisture to come out.

    Does that not happen to you? Just curious because I’d be so sad if I ruined all these yummy looking chickpeas!

    1. deb

      It’s probably fat but also liquid — I add quite a bit of water, milk, yogurt, etc. for more moist meatballs. I wouldn’t stress over what is left behind on the tray so long as the meatballs taste good.

  27. Rhonda

    I made this last night, and we loved it! I wanted a few more vegetables, so I sliced up some red capsicum (bell pepper) and cooked it with the chickpeas. It was all absolutely delivious! Thank you!

  28. Melissa

    I do this thing where I buy things like meat when it is on sale to put in the freezer for dinner later on. Somehow, I rarely actually manage to make anything out of these freezer goodies and eventually my freezer starts to look a little like it belongs on “hoarders”. One of my new year’s resolutions was to make a list of freezer items, plan menus around them, and remove at least 1 item per week. There are two pounds of ground turkey and now I know what to do with at least one of them. (I think the meatballs marsala from the cookbook may be the fate of the other pound….mmmm meatballs)

    1. Cy

      I have one of those stick anywhere little chalk boards and I make a list. Otherwise I forget what’s in there! Also quick defrost method; line a pan or bowl with foil, fill with warm water. Your item defrosts in @ 20 minutes. I often forget to pull things out to defrost. :)

  29. anitampoeppel

    Made this tonight with ground pork. We put it all over a bed of greens and radishes. Delish!! Thank you for an outstanding recipe and super simple supper.

  30. Kimberly

    Hello!! Must make this dish now!! But, have just begun a no dairy regime. Any suggestions for what to swap for the yogurt? Thank you!!!!

  31. Kimberley Stevens

    I made this delicious, tasty and dead easy dish last night. Husband is not a big fan of ground turkey, but he loved this recipe! I used coriander/cilantro as my chopped herb. Highly recommend.

  32. SharonDC

    Great combination of flavors (love the fennel) and easy to make as well! I used ground chicken (not a fan of turkey) and added potatoes to the chickpeas.

  33. Melissa Seldin

    Hi, Love this idea but we don’t mix milk and meat and was thinking of serving the meatballs along side some spaghetti squash or zoodles. What would you suggest instead of the yogurt in the meatballs? Mayo?

  34. Meleyna

    Looking forward to this one! Also, Julia Turshen’s merguez is A+ as meatballs, and Melissa Clark’s Dinner book has so. many. meatballs. Highly recommend.

  35. Mollie

    Cookbook recipe question!
    How long would the gribiche sauce last in the fridge?
    I want to make the recipe for lunches, can I safely make it for a 4-5 days in advance?

  36. witloof

    Deb, can I put in a word for my newest obsession, homemade preserved lemons? It’s super easy to do, you just cut the lemons and squash them up with salt and more juice, throw in some peppercorns and bay leaves, then let them sit for about a month. They are delicious, silky, salty, and the essence of lemon, and would be fabulous diced up into the yogurt.

    Also, a serious chocolate person such as yourself may want to try making some homemade chocolate extract by steeping raw cocoa nibs in vodka for a few months. I’ve been adding it to brownies, frosting, hot fudge sauce, etc, and it really takes the chocolate flavor way over the top.

  37. Elisabeth in Vienna

    i made this last night. it was delicious. will be trying my hand at chicken noodle soup from your new book (got it for christmas) tonight and i hope to fend off the looming flu.

  38. Dawna Eastman-Gallo

    Ok, I have admittedly been in New Orleans for a week, looking at King Cakes, but my first glimpse of the title photo made me think Mardi Gras!

  39. Erin

    I made this tonight and it was delicious! I used ground venison instead of turkey. I love venison with cumin! My family loved this recipe. A keeper!

    1. beckern2014

      In Julia Turshen’s cookbook, Small Victories, she has a meatball recipe with ricotta instead of breadcrumbs. I’ve made the recipe from the cookbook and they are delicious! You could also try almond flour in place of the breadcrumbs. I’ve done that and couldn’t tell the difference!

  40. Alison

    Made this for dinner last night and was really happy with how it turned out. Skipped the fennel seed (not a fan) and added cayenne to the chick peas. I also used gluten-free bread crumbs as I have celiac. Hubby really enjoyed it as well. One thing: the crispy chickpeas were a bit chalky; I’m wondering whether I overcooked them.

    Will definitely make this again. It will be even easier next time, as I only cooked half of the meatballs and froze the rest. It will be a very quick meal next time round.

  41. Carolyn

    I’m in Kenya for a few weeks and just happened to have purchased “chicken mince” in town, so when I saw this recipe (and managed to rustle up some turmeric), I figured it was a no-brainer. Even feeling a bit out of my element in my current kitchen, it was delicious! Can’t wait to get home and try it in the comfort of my own home. :)

  42. Mary Langhorne McManus

    We made this and threw it over salad, it was AMAZING, a hit with kids and husband … the charred red onions might just be the best part.

  43. Kate

    It’s a rare success that all 3 kids and 2 parents like something new! Served with a pilaf and upgraded the yogurt to tahini sauce since it’s my favorite. So quick, easy and flavorful I could squeeze it in on a weeknight.

  44. Rachael

    Chickpea question! In an uncharacteristic moment of frugality, I bought a bag of dried chickpeas for this rather than my usual cans. If I soak them overnight, do I need to boil them AND roast them, or can they simply cook once, directly in the oven? Thanks for continuing to make my dinners more interesting!

      1. deb

        I do not believe that beans have to be soaked, but it saves you cooking time if you do. They do need to be fully cooked before roasting, though, or they’ll just be little pebbles.

        1. Kate

          I think soaking might make the chickpeas more digestible, so I usually do it. If you have a pressure cooker though, you can skip the soak and just pressure cook them!

  45. Emily

    This is off-topic but I’m hoping Deb or a commenter can help. I’m making the Wild Mushroom Shepard’s Pie from your new cookbook tonight and in the text preceding the recipe, it says “dry sherry, a tiny bit of tomato paste, and sherry vinegar takes a simple mushroom saute….” There is no sherry vinegar in the recipe. Was this an error or is the recipe supposed to have sherry vinegar?

    Thank you in advance. And there for sure should be a word in English for “multiple professionals have read this multiple times and no one caught the mistake.” Happens us all! :) Apologies if this is the wrong place to post, please feel free to delete and respond via email.

  46. kxfritsche

    This is so easy and so flavorful. I added some really simple, lemony green beans and naan (because I like it better than most pita) and it was a perfect weeknight meal. It was a hit with the whole family, which has been a little trickier lately with our 5 year old. Thank you!!

  47. SRA

    Made this tonight with half the chickpeas, and tossed a half a head of cauliflower (cut into small florets) to the pan instead. It was very good, but the chickpeas were not at all crispy – I wonder if the cauliflower added moisture to the pan? Not sure, but just wanted to share for anyone else thinking of adding a veggie directly to the pan.

  48. Eb

    This was phenomenal. I will definitely place it in my cooking rotation. I was a little apprehensive about the meatballs, as they are very soft, but they cooked through just fine. I added some cilantro and cayenne to the yogurt and lemon juice for the dollops. I also served it with couscous that I cooked with chicken stock and stirred in more cilantro.

  49. Lisa C

    The Street Cart Chicken in your newest cookbook has quickly become our family favorite meal. These are like the meatball version of those and we LOVE that. I made the meatballs last week (we didn’t have any chick peas). I treated it a bit like the Street Cart Chicken and made rice, and heated up some naan. Super fast, hands off and awesome dinner.

  50. JAZ

    Deb – tiday’s Newsletter was so timely. I’m going to sit down with husband and show him veggie recipes and see what he’s on board with. I’m the one with a mental block thinking he won’t eat this or that. 2. Friday I bought my first Costco rotisserie chicken for $4.99 what a revaluation 3 meals used carcass with a turkey backbone for chicken soup. So good – going to get another for chicken & dumplings! 3. I’ve not bought an instapot the cleaning of the seal has put me off plus I’m old enough to remember the possible explosion my mom was so afraid of. I loved her article on the honeymoon with your new toy!

  51. kflgreene

    My husband took a plunge and made this last Friday, but we swapped turkey for ground lamb. All turned out beautifully! Full of flavor, deliciously satisfying…I couldn’t get enough. Thank you for this!

  52. K

    Made these last night and YUM!!! Such a good dinner! Loved the pickled onions, don’t skip those!

    For those looking for veggie sides, I made “carrot fries” with them – just tossed peeled, cut-up carrots with some olive oil and similar spices and salt and roasted on a different rack in the oven. (Mix a little harissa into some ketchup for a sauce…mmm) Might skip the chickpeas next time and make with sweet potato or broccoli instead!

    Thanks… I swear your blog keeps me alive. I never, ever have to worry if something’s going to turn out or if something’s just gonna be kind of bleh or bland. Everything’s always good. I like to judge meals based on the question, “Would I be pissed if I were served this in a restaurant?” and the answer with your recipes is always no! Might be a weird rubric, but you pass every time!

  53. Kate

    Made this tonight, so quick and easy, and as always delicious! Next time I will try it with lamb as you suggested in the Questions section. Thanks Deb :)

  54. Chelsea

    I made this for dinner tonight. Delicious and so easy. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch. The lemon yogurt was the best part.

  55. Jess

    This was delicious! I left the fennel seeds out but otherwise followed exactly and my 2yr old and husband loved it – adding it to the regular weeknight meal rotation and will try adding in some cauliflower or sweet potato next time for more veggie.

  56. Shappyj

    So not everyone in the family is a fan of chick peas (garbanzo beans). Do you have a suggestion for using other types of canned beans?

  57. Fiona

    I tried this recipe tonight. I replaced the breadcrumbs with cooked quinoa (because I already had some handy), which seemed to work just fine. The combination of flavours was lovely, and we enjoyed it a lot. I will definitely keep this one on file. Thank you!
    (My friend who was with us tonight received your book from me for Christmas – immediately she asked “Is it in the book?” I think she’ll be going home to check.)

  58. Maggie

    I planned on making this tonight for my writing group. Everyone canceled due to illness, but I went ahead and made it for myself. So, as my 4-year-old sat in the bathtub and with my husband away on business, I poured a glass of wine and sat at my kitchen table and ate this absolutely beautiful dish, and I must say I enjoyed every single bite. Every flavor and texture in this is just perfect. I have a friend coming tomorrow, and I plan on reheating, so at least I will get to impress someone!! Thanks, Deb! I just loved this-and I did include fennel!!

  59. Robin Meredith

    These meatballs were amazing!!! So moist, light, tender, easy and delicious. And the lemony onions are one of the simplest and best things I’ve prepared in a long time. I have to admit, I just don’t get the roasted chickpeas – I may have made a poor choice at the market (Progresso), but between this and the NY Times chicken sheet pan recipe I’m just not sure they’re for me. But I’ll be thinking hard about other ways to put those amazing meatballs to work. Thanks!

  60. Trushna

    Hi Deb, the sesame meatball recipe from your first book is on weekly rotation in our house, so I was excited to see this. And yes, we only bake the meatballs, don’t bother with frying them. However, most times I leave out the chickpeas as my kids (ages 4 & 2) aren’t fans of the crispy beans. I’m guessing they’re too lazy to do the extra chewing. Do your kids like the crispy chickpeas and if so, how did you get them to eat ‘em? Thank you in advance!

    1. deb

      They do like them; they’re salty and crunchy. But there’s no rhyme or reason to what my kids eat, so I’d just keep making them when you want to eat them and they’ll eventually come around. ;)

  61. Cath

    I made this over the weekend and it was delicious! One question — the chickpeas were quite rubbery the next day when I put them in lunches. Any suggestions on how to maintain crispiness or is it an occupational hazard for day-old chickpeas? Thanks!

  62. JDT

    I made this and it was wonderful. My husband and 15yr old son loved it. I think the next time, I will add a side dish of spicy/tangy sautéed greens. It will be a great addition.

  63. ChicSi

    Absolutely delicious! We added brussels sprouts and cauliflower to the chickpeas (which necessitated adding in the meatballs on a separate sheetpan), and all came out delicious. I’m fairly new to cooking, but each recipe that I’ve made from your blog has been a hit – and this chief among them! We didn’t use fennel seeds, only because we didn’t have them, but cumin seeds worked a treat.

  64. arshimonk

    This was spectacular! My husband and I enjoyed this last night for dinner. Every dish I have made from your site or your books has been a winner — this was another one! Thank you for this! It was easy to put together, and the flavors were out of this world.

  65. Yael

    Aside from adding a drizzle of EVOO to the meatball mixture since I am always afraid Ground Turkey will be dry, I followed the recipe pretty closely and it was delicious! Better still, it was a hit with my more and more picky every day teen. I served it with a finely chopped cucumber and tomato salad dressed with lemon and EVOO and some of the mint and cilantro I used to garnish the meatballs and chickpeas. A definite winner!

    1. Donna

      Do you use white meat ground turkey or mixed white and dark? Only white meat can be very dry. I also like the more complex taste of mixed dark and white.

  66. Leti

    Wonderful! Had to make do w/what I had so no fennel or coriander. Also only had plain kefer so that was the sub for the yogurt. Fresh herb was parsley. All turned out great- crispy onion and chickpeas are amazing!

  67. We tried this today and overall, it was quite tasty. I really liked the texture of the meatballs, and my ground turkey averse husband enjoyed them. Even the four year old and baby happily ate them! I think next time I’ll bump up the spices and maybe add some lemon zest to the meat mixture. Although I like the chickpeas in theory, mine never seem to come out crisp and are more leathery, instead. Still, the flavors were good – you were right about the fennel seed, Deb – and I’ll keep trying. Maybe I need to bake them longer.

  68. donna

    Dear Deb – Thankyouthankyouthankyou! Thank you for enjoying cooking, thank you for creating this blog, thank you for posting these wonderful recipes! I made this for dinner tonight, no substitutes, and it is amazing. I think this will be saved for a spring/summer recipe. For the meatballs, I used a combination of cilantro/parsley/and a little mint, and it was delicious. Many of your recipes have now become staples in our home. Thanks again!

  69. Mama flew

    These are now what I call,”sleepy sheet pan turkey meatballs”. I made them and my 1 year old and 3 year old inhaled them and slept through the night. Because 1) they are awesome and delicious and 2) turkey (tryptophan)

    You’re my hero. Thank you.

  70. Lori W

    This was absolutely delicious! I made this for dinner tonight. Cooked dry chick peas in my Instant pot (prefer to canned). Made a quick pickled red onion to serve along side. This one is definitely a keeper!

  71. I made this for dinner tonight and it was so good! I made a side of smoky baba ghanouj and added some pureed cucumber, garlic and black pepper to the yogurt sauce. Your recipes are always on point!

  72. Theresa Carroll

    Hi! I’m a working mama of two (we met in Naperville IL and you met my kiddos including my curly headed toddler – it made all of our days/months/year!) and I’m trying to do as much cooking ahead as I can on Sundays. I’ll freeze the meatballs, but would the chickpeas suffer if I mixed the ingredients together ahead of time, so I can just pop them in the oven?

    1. deb

      Hi! Freeze the meatballs, yes. The chickpeas are fine to mix the ingredients and bake them when you have time. Hope it works! And yes, your kids were adorable.

  73. holly moriglioni

    I am adding this one to the rotation. I used ground pork instead of turkey and served it with a bit of spiced applesauce for the kiddos. Delicious.

  74. Kate Nicholson

    Was feeling cranky, and not in the mood for a complicated meal tonight, and this was just the thing. Healthy, delicious, and simple to put together. Can’t wait to have some of the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

  75. Lilly

    Thanks for the inspiration for dinner tonight! So delicious – I made it with wild rice and spinach salad with roasted cauliflower and it was perfect all together

  76. Courtney

    Hi! This looks delicious. I’m trying to get better at prepping over the weekend for quicker weeknight cooking. How far in advance can the meatballs be prepped? Thanks!

    1. deb

      If baked and refrigerated? A few days. If baked and frozen, weeks or more. Raw, I probably wouldn’t keep them in the fridge more than 1 to 1 1/2 days before baking them.

  77. I made this for a big dinner party (recipe x 4, there were a lot of people). I tried to follow your advice of prepping in advance; so the meatballs were pre-made, cooked to 5 minutes shy of the finishing point, frozen, and then heated on the day of. I couldn’t do that with the chickpeas, but I figured the hard part was mostly done. Also…I used beef and lamb. Oh yes, that was a great idea! They held the moisture better than turkey would have (higher fat content I think). Amazing, Deb. Everyone loved it all. Thanks again. You make me look like an excellent chef! And we love your new cookbook!

  78. NJChicaa

    We enjoyed this recipe a lot! I didn’t think my husband would go for the cumin/coriander/turmeric combo but he did and went back for seconds. We liked the yogurt sauce but felt the pickled onions were kind of overkill. . . but we weren’t having it with pita.

    I’d probably cook the chick peas like a few minutes less before adding the meatballs next time. (there WILL be a next time!) They were a bit dry to us.

    Overall a wonderful recipe and one that will make a regular appearance in the rotation.

  79. wendy

    What about all the fat and juice that renders out of the meatballs while baking? Doesn’t that turn the crispy chickpeas mushy?

  80. I made this the other night and it was FAB. Everyone wanted *more* pickled onion and *more* lemony yogurt sauce. It was a perfect dinner for the dark of January.

  81. brooklynjen

    Loved it! I was worried the meatballs would be dry and substituted a little cream for the water. They were tender & delicious and the flavor was great. My chickpeas weren’t crisping at all at 400 so I gave them an extra 15 min at 450 before adding the meatballs. Served over endive salad & the combo was really good; I think any bitter green would be good with these flavors.

  82. Charlotte

    I just wanted to tell you, this was so flippin’ delicious. It was filling but not heavy, it was warming but not too spicy. I followed the recipe pretty much to a tee, except I was short on cumin so the meatballs had half a teaspoon, at most. I used flat leaf sparsely in the meatballs and really liked the clean flavor it provided. I forgot the pitas, but honestly, it was so good and filling, I don’t think I needed it. I think next time I’ll add a big ol’ salad to stretch out the food a little bit more, but even eating three meatballs and a good chunk of the chickpeas, I never felt bloated or stuffed. A+, Deb.

  83. Laura

    My husband made this for dinner the other night, and it was delicious! We basically followed the recipe as is, and there really isn’t anything we would change. The yogurt sauce and lemony onions were a nice contrast to the chickpeas and meatballs.

    We served it with roasted red peppers to up the vegetable content. My husband got fancy and did them over the gas burner, but I imagine you could throw them on their own sheet pan and cook them simultaneously to make them a really easy side.

  84. Carly

    I made this the other night and knew I needed to come back and comment. It was SO GOOD. The lemony yogurt + onions went so well with it and I liked that the yogurt toned down the harissa we added. I could honestly eat this every night with no complaints. Will probably do the meatballs over quinoa, farro, or lentils in the future too.

  85. Julie

    I made these tonight and they were DELICIOUS! I am generally not fond of turkey- I find it dry and favor-less but these were moist and awesome. I didn’t want to add dairy so rather than using breadcrumbs I soaked a couple of slices of bread in water and mixed that in instead. You never disappoint Deb! Thank you!

  86. Lowri Jones

    I made this and it was delicious with your carrot, harissa and feta salad as a side. It’s so tasty but easy! The only problem was some of the crisping chickpeas exploded over the oven, but it’s a small price to pay for a yummy dinner!

  87. Tundra

    Last week my family came home from a three week overseas holiday and due to a few unseen circumstances ended up with a house full of guests the night after we got home. Suffering jet lag and people overload I came straight to the Smitten Kitchen website looking for a ‘fish and loaves’ meal to feed 11 people. I made these meatballs along with a couple of quick salads (it’s summer down under) and it was fantastic. There were plenty of compliments. Very easy to double and required limited mental faculties! Thanks so much.

  88. Cristy Lee

    Not a fan of ground turkey but decided to make recipe as written first time. Started prematurely turning my nose up as soon as I took sheet pan out of oven at end of cook. Sat down to dinner with husband and ACTUALLY tried meatball. Whoa. These meatballs are delicious, light and flavorful, and super easy to throw together, entire dinner is. Served with an herby green salad, no pita, and husband declared twice “I don’t want this dinner to end”.

  89. Cindy Cavanagh

    I did not care for the chickpeas. I roasted 2 large sliced red onions instead. I zested a large lemon and put that in the meatball mix, used lemon juice for the water, added a clove of garlic, nixed the coriander as I didn’t have any, tripled the cumin and used cilantro. I chopped half of a bunch of cilantro for the meatballs and put the rest in the yogurt sauce. I put the meatballs, roasted red onion and yogurt on top of warm naan. Very good even though I bastardized the recipe! lol

  90. Kathleen Silverstein

    Oh, how I wish your website would feature a “save to your recipe box” button. I have both cookbooks, love your work, but oy- I want to be able to save the ones I am interested in and go back to them!

  91. Alexandra Geiger

    Made this for dinner tonight. Accidentally made my yogurt sauce to be equal parts lemon juice and I was not mad.

    Roasted chickpeas are a revelation. This was SO tasty!!! It took so much willpower to not scarf down all of them. And the meatballs were so easy and so flavorful!!

  92. Paula

    Just finished eating this wonderful meal and all I can say is YUM! I was a little hesitant because I’m not a huge fan of cumin, but I decided to trust you Deb – and I’m so glad I did. It was absolutely delicious! I’ll definitely be adding this to my repertoire. Thank you for another great recipe.

  93. Michelle

    These might be the best meatballs I’ve ever baked. Usually my baked meatballs are a little dry so I’m trying to figure out the magic behind this batch. Maybe it’s the yogurt?

    I was a little jealous of husband getting to eat out tonight, but once I tasted these I knew I drew the better hand. I buried the leftover meatballs under the beans in a container hoping he doesn’t find them. Ssssshhhhh…

  94. Sarah

    I made this on Sunday to serve as work lunches all week, and I loved it. The chickpeas definitely get a bit chalky/rubbery (not sure how it’s possible to be chalky and rubbery at the same time, but they were!), but the meatballs held up well for four days.

    Next time I’ll use the same seasonings as the chickpeas but on sweet potatoes, and use that as my side along with some roasted broccoli. A great winter lunch.

  95. Kristen

    This dish is SO GOOD. I am so excited to have it for lunch all week.

    FYI: I made this with gluten free panko but the meatballs were a little wet. For those of you going this route, I’d suggest skipping the water in the meatballs or adding additional panko.

    Also, I roasted cauliflower on a separate pan. I used the same seasonings on the cauliflower and (of course) oil before roasting. More goodness.

  96. Cindy Krueger

    I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a few months, finally had a dinner party and made the recipe. It was fantastic! I’d say that for one pound of turkey – you should consider it serves 4 adults. I had two folks with dairy allergies, so I prepared a tahini sauce, and replaced all the liquid in the recipe with that. I then served tahini sauce along with the meatballs and the lemon yogurt. The next day, I warmed some left-over chickpeas along with the left-over red onion and kale, put an egg on it and topped with the yogurt sauce. Amazing! Thanks Deb.

  97. Beth

    My friend and I made this last night together and WOW. It was SO good.

    We both were worried the meatballs would leak a lot (based on our meatball-making experiences in the past) – but nope! Something about the combo/measurement of breadcrumbs/water/yogurt held these together really well. They were fantastic. The chickpeas were addictive, and we definitely tasted them every time we opened the oven to check on them. You know, just to be sure they were crisping nicely. The onions with lemon juice and garlic/yogurt mix are the perfect finishers to this dish.

    We also roasted brussels and shaved fennel on a separate pan with garlic, salt and pepper for the same amount of time as the chickpeas to add in some extra veggies.

    This entire dinner was so fabulous, we went back for seconds and even better – it was done in under an hour! Definitely adding this into the rotation, and can’t wait to make it again :) Thanks, Deb!!!

  98. Never one to turn down a meatball, I l-o-v-e-d the flavors and textures of this recipe. Make it! Make it for your friends, your family, your loved ones, yourself!

  99. Erin

    Loved this! Made it exactly as written, with parsley and cilantro, and maybe a touch more lemon in the yogurt since I didn’t measure it. Served it with garlic naan and we inhaled it! You never steer me wrong, Deb. Thank you!

  100. Emily

    I’ve made this a few times. My favorite was last night when I made this, and then made a huge salad/bowl of it, using romaine lettuce, tomato, and your tzatziki dressing from your Chicken Gyro salad recipe. So very delicious and filling, and also getting in some fresh veggies!

  101. Nancy

    Can I just tell you that the advice to use the potato masher to mix the meatballs is a game-changer? The process is so much more pleasant now. Why had I not thought of that?

  102. Vicky

    I made these with chicken and they were great! Will definitely be in the regular rotation, but following the recipe exactly (aside from the meat swap) they were super wet and it was hard for them to keep shape. I tried refrigerating the meat mixture before shaping, but that didn’t seem to help (maybe I didn’t wait long enough). I was thinking of just skipping the water next time if it seemed pretty moist. Any other suggestions?

  103. semicircle66

    I made this last night; so easy and didn’t wreck my kitchen! I’m happy to be eating the leftovers for lunch today (everything holds up well). The flavors and colors of this dish are delicious and vibrant. This will be a regular recipe for me!

  104. Allie

    This is one of my “meal prep” meals. I make a batch on Sunday, eat it for lunch through Friday. This is my favorite of my rotation.

    The texture of the chickpeas isn’t the same in the subsequent days, but I still think they’re crazy tasty. YMMV, though. The lemony yogurt – man, that’s almost my favorite part. But the super tender meatballs are the best.

    I’m counting calories, so I don’t do the pita. I also don’t do the red onion or fennel seeds because of my own taste preferences (though I tried it with both the first time). I do roast cauliflower and cubed sweet potatoes, mixed in the same spice combination as the chickpeas, on a separate tray to make sure I’m getting in more veggies. It’s a winning combination, and one of the best recipes I’ve discovered in ages.

  105. Farrah Schwartz

    My husband is learning to make dinners from scratch. He made this recipe using beef instead of chicken and it was delicious. Impressed that he could pull off the flavour and taste with limited skills, but your recipes always help us make magic, Deb!
    Lately when I cook a new recipe, my 10 YOndaughter asks “Is this Deb’s recipe?”. It often is!)

  106. Bridget

    This is a four star meal! I made it exactly as specified. It’s such an interesting and wonderful blend of flavors. Don’t even think about skipping the lemony onions!

  107. Seattle206

    This is delicious. Only quibble is that meatballs were a little soft. Next time I’ll cook them in a cast iron pan to get the outsides more crispy. Otherwise: outstanding.

  108. mary-ellen

    This recipe truly blew my mind. It was so good made exactly as written. I would not change a thing. THANK YOU so much for this one!

    1. deb

      In the headnotes I say: If you’d like to keep this dish, and meatballs, dairy-free, you can replace the 1/4 cup plain yogurt with 2 tablespoons of water, bringing the water in the meatballs to 1/4 cup. And of course skip the salted lemon yogurt at the end.

  109. Ziva

    I’m not really a comments kinda gal. :) However, these were indeed the best meatballs ever. light and airy, full of taste and ridiculously easy to make. This is not our fave Saturday lunch. Thanks so much!

  110. This was amazing! My husband normally hates anything with ground turkey, and my kids are 10, 8 and 5, so any meal I make can be hit or miss. HOWEVER: every single one of us raved about this and asked to have it again asap. Thanks so much, Deb–this will go into the regular rotation.

    1. Gail

      Woman, what CAN’T you do with chick peas?! This dish was delicious. Love the fennel in there.

      I was dubious about the turkey meatballs, but these were flavorful and light. They did “weep” a little in sort of a gross way, but once I moved them around the pan a little it wasn’t noticeable. I also worried that they weren’t done after 15 minutes so kept them in there for another 5 with no ill effects. Seriously the best turkey meatballs I have ever eaten.

        1. Gail

          And I’m in the same boat – my family is suspicious of ground turkey, and I am serving a bunch of kids (17, 14, 12, 10) so things are usually hit/miss, too. This one was a winner all around, though!

  111. DebraSonomanoma

    First of all the potato masher- why has it taken this long for someone to figure out how to make meat mush together without icky fingers!? I made this as written except for coriander seeds to replace fennel (I just tossed my extremely old bottle). I cut the cayenne in half and now regret it. Very good flavors with all the elements. Love the cook as you go. Husband got a warm tortilla. I skipped the bread bit.

    Served it with a green beans and tomato salad but thinking that reheating it with roasted cherry tomatoes would be lovely.

  112. KVCooks

    This was a big hit! I made the yogurt sauce with a bit of garlic, cumin and coriander- yummy. Also, we like a bit of crust on the meatballs so quickly browned after they were done. Otherwise, wouldn’t change a thing!!

  113. Joseph

    Made this last evening and the Turkey meatballs were excellent. The Chickpeas were awful—bordering on inedible. First of all, the oven is too hot at 400˚ to roast the chickpeas for the allotted time. 350˚ for 15-20 minutes MAXIMUM. Fennel, when burned has an acrid taste. Keep in mind the chickpeas are still going to cook another 10-15 minutes (it’ll take the full amount of time), until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked. The yogurt/lemon is a refreshing touch. The raw, red onion needed something more than lemon juice to tame them. I would give this recipe a C.

  114. Liz

    Love these meatballs! I made a double batch and froze them, then cooked them from frozen, which worked well. I like that the spices make them more flavourful than turkey often is. I served them with a kale and beet salad, which has been great for office lunches. Next time I think I’d do quick-pickled onions as Mel suggests, as my onions got too burned, and I like the idea of doing some extra veg (perhaps courgettes or peppers) alongside.

  115. Paula

    Finally made this tonight after hearing rave reviews from my son. Had a big problem with those “thinly sliced” onions and can’t believe no one else commented on them. Mine were burnt to a crisp. Maybe I have a different definition of thin. I kind of worried about it going in, but ignored my instincts. Maybe next time I’ll throw them in with the meatballs? Or just cook the chickpeas less, since they were pretty dry too.

  116. Michelle

    This recipe is perfection. I usually forgo the chickpeas, double the meatballs, and keep them in the fridge all week. My 2-year old can’t get enough!

  117. Pamela McKean

    This recipe is in regular rotation at my house. It’s fantastic. Sometimes I make just the chick peas for a quick snack for guests. I also have used ground lamb for the meatballs and it’s delicious.

  118. Diana

    Thank you for this recipe !! It was a huge hit with everyone in the house. I used a mix of ground turkey and beef because I had that in hand and it was excellent although I imagine just turkey would also be delicious. The chickpeas and onions were incredible. I did leave the onions a bit bigger and I didn’t use fennel seeds. I did use cumin seeds and added some smoked sweet paprika. I served it with the tahini sauce from the Jerusalem cookbook by Ottolenghi. My husband preferred it without sauce.

    We will definitely be putting this recipe on regular rotation. Thank you!!

  119. Irene

    I’d like to make a version of these meatballs with feta. Would I need to subtract some yogurt to balance out the liquid?

  120. Rebecca Lichtenfels

    This was PHENOMENAL. Instead of serving with toasted pitas we ate them kind of like a falafel filled pita and omg. To. Die. For. Added some cumin to the lemony yogurt and I can’t wait to have seconds :) literally had to write a comment mid dinner haha.

  121. Laura

    This is my favorite go-to dinner. So quick, delicious, filling, and I can swap ingredients easily if I’ve run out of something. And perfect lunch leftovers!

  122. I have made this twice now and am very disappointed. I had high hopes because I could make it gluten free (with almond meal). The first time there was definitely not enough seasonings, both the garbanzo beans and meatballs were overcooked. The second time it was slightly better but still dry. Do you have any suggestions? I used a mix of dark and light meat turkey.The second time I used full fat ricotta instead of the yogurt, hoping that would add some moisture. This is a great idea but my execution, so far, is a long way from perfect.

    1. deb

      You might just want less baking time on the meatballs and chickpeas. Chickpeas from a can vary a lot between brands in softness (sogginess, really) and size so not all will crisp at the same time. But if both are over, I’d cook them more quickly. Overall, I find small baked meatballs cook through very fast and always use the lower end of the time range.

  123. awads

    I made this last night for my husband and son (11). They both loved it! The only change i made (by accident) was adding lemon juice to the meatball (i was racing to get it made and not reading carefully). They were still delicious! i doubled the meatball recipe so am very excited to have them frozen for next time (and there will definitely be a next time!). I might add cauliflower to the chickpeas next time, just for more veg. Thanks for this keeper!

  124. olivia

    I have made SO many recipes of yours from both the site and your cookbooks, and there are so many I make again and again–but I truly make this one the most. I love meatballs and these are so wonderful and compliment so well with a host of sides. My favorite is to roast some cauliflower and/or sweet potatoes as well, and to do a simple lemon and olive oil massaged kale salad. I’ve made this for big groups, too, and everyone loves it! Can’t leave enough love for this recipe. I’m about to make it (AGAIN) tonight and wanted to leave a comment to thank you, Deb, and urge anyone who hasn’t to MAKE THIS IMMEDIATELY!

  125. carol

    your comments on the fennel seeds are hysterical. was no problem for me, I love all things anise and this recipe was no exception. it has become part of our regular rotation – made just as written and usually served with some type of whole grain. literally perfection. totally balanced and hits every note. thank you!!!

  126. Kelly

    This was PERFECTION. The only changes I made were that I did 1/4 ground coriander and 3/4 of curry powder in the chickpeas, simply because I ran out of coriander, and used lean ground beef for the meatballs, as the shop was out of turkey. My picky husband’s response was, “Where have you been hiding this recipe?!” Definitely going into my regular rotation.

  127. this is so easy and delicious! we added sweet potatoes which was a perfect addition, as well as home homemade naan. such a good meal and even better leftovers :)

  128. Zida

    This was entirely worth eating. I didn’t have any turkey but did have organic grass fed ground beef, which is what I used instead, with exactly the same spices (well, a little more on the spice intensity over here) and it worked really well. Didn’t have to brown the meatballs beforehand; they browned beautifully just in the 400 degree oven. My homemade harissa took it off the umami charts. Lots if mint and parsley on top, and some lovely tomatoes.

  129. Sarah

    I made this for dinner last night and it was a hit with my small family with big taste differences :) In this time of work-with-what-you’ve-got I served it over a bed of couscous since we’d already used up our bread this week (although with more time I would have made the newly posted yogurt flatbreads to go with them – yay for no yeast).

  130. Nisha

    I found this recipe earlier this quarantine and have made it three times so far. Perfect for pantry staples and delicious. Love all your recipes but this was a magical hidden find. Even my almost one year old devours these meatballs. Thank you!

  131. Jess

    This is a family favorite and we’ve learned to make 3 cans of chickpeas with it instead of 2. I often roast sweet potatoes to go with it. Yum!

  132. Emily Hoover

    This looks delicious! I’m planning on making this tonight for dinner and just wondered how you pickle the red onions? That may sound silly, but I’ve just never done it! Thank you!

    1. deb

      It’s explained in this paragraph:

      Meanwhile, toss remaining onion slices with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; set aside.

      That’s it! It’s just gently pickled. They keep for a few days in the fridge if you want to make more.

  133. Julie Rubin

    I first had these delicious, fluffy meatballs at a friend’s house. On request, he passed along the recipe. I have made this recipe twice and each time to rave husband reviews. The first time, I substituted a mild curry powder for the turmeric (it’s what I had). Pita, flatbread, jasmine rice or orzo… a romaine salad with a bit of feta and pepperoncini and kalamata olives..lots of coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley, cilantro…maybe some mint or chervil. 100% delicious and very adaptable to all kinds of sides. I love this recipe. Thank you!

  134. Abby

    Super delicious, don’t skip out on the fennel or the yogurt dressing, those made this dish for me and my family! I doubled the meatballs for my family of 4, but we have a teenage boy and big appetites. I did half pork and half chicken, and I mixed some feta into the meatballs and drizzled extra lemon on everythin at then end. Served with white rice and green beans. YuM!

  135. Noa

    Wow! I LOVED this dish. I used ground chicken, and didn’t have coriander, but everything was still delicious. Already looking forward to the leftovers…

  136. Rebecca

    YUM. We have made this on multiple occasions with lamb substitution. Also, prefer a crunchy chickpea so we find ourselves cooking them for about an hour before adding meatballs. Thanks for the inspiration!

  137. Shayn Stephens

    This was DELICIOUS! The recipe was so easy to follow and tasted perfect. I made the meatballs with sour cream and served with well salted farro instead of pita because it was what I had on hand. My roommate raved about it. Will be making again. Thanks Deb!

  138. Jacquie Katz

    This was such a great meal. There is enough left for tonight for the two of us and I am looking forward to it. So different and Meat Balls! I served it with homemade humus and pita and felt I had pulled off a grand meal. And the slightly pickled red onion was a hit with someone who is not into onions or hot spices-it adds umami to this feast.

  139. Abby

    I’ve made this 3 times now, and it’s quickly become one of my favorite weeknight recipes! Don’t skip out on the yogurt. My only issue is that the listed cook times are off for me- when I pre-cook the onions/chickpeas for 20 minutes they scorch in the last 15, and the meatballs usually need more time. I’ve found that precooking just the chickpeas for 10 mins, then adding onions and meatballs for 20 works best!

  140. I love these, so flavorful and delicious, and of course I use the fennel seeds! They’re awesome. I also sub in cauliflower for one of the cans of chickpeas. I do add a bit extra spice and olive oil with it. Roast the cauliflower the same as the chickpeas. Super tasty with the harissa and lemony yogurt too.

  141. Love this dish! I’ve made it multiple times since 2018 and I love the flexibility of this recipe. If I don’t have panko breadcrumbs, I crush up some crackers. If I don’t have an egg, I use water and chia seeds. Everyone has enjoyed it whenever I make it!!!

  142. Tammy

    Loved these meatballs! I served them with the chickpeas, mini pitas (so fun with the small meatballs), a quick tzatziki type salad of cucumber, yogurt, lemon, onion, salt, and pepper. I think next time I’ll dial back the chickpea spices though, as they were a little bitter for me.

  143. Liz Foster

    These turkey balls lacked pizzaz. I would double all the spices and even then, it might not be enough. Seriously boring.

  144. Lynda+H.

    Delicious! I used more yogurt in place of the water in the meatballs (I’ve found that milk/cheese/yogurt make juicier meatballs). I didn’t think the red onion roasted with the chickpeas added anything but moisture (the enemy of crispy chickpeas) so will omit next time in favor of more quick-pickled (in lemon juice) red onions. Everything developed more flavor the next day, so next time I’ll make the raw meat mixture, lemony yogurt, and “pickled” red onions in the morning and refrigerate. Leftovers are great: I spread the lemony yogurt on a warm pita or naan, topped it with chickpeas (reheated for about 7 minutes at 400F) and meatballs, drizzled with harissa, and scattered cilantro and red onion “pickles” over all. Yum.

  145. Ashley

    I just made this- delicious! Couple of small comments- my meatballs took longer than 15 min to cook thru (tried to keep them small) so the chickpeas and especially the onions got overdone. Next time I’ll probably add the onions when I put the meatballs in and kick the chickpea cooking time down to 20 min. Also I used the water method, and the meatballs oozed goo during cooking. Don’t know if those are related. For serving, I used tzatziki instead of plain yogurt, and then put them in pita pockets added shredded cabbage and some hot sauce. Freakin’ amazing!

  146. Elly

    Just made these and they’re SO tasty. Instead of adding the garlic and spices raw into the meat mixture, I sauteed them in olive oil with a little onion and let cool before adding them to the meat mix, then followed the rest of the recipe as written. Delicious!!

  147. karen

    Made these for dinner last night, everyone loved it. crispy chickpeas aren’t our favorite, so we under roasted them. I served with quinoa that I accidentally over seasoned so for leftovers I mixed the quinoa, chickpeas, cilantro and chopped pickled onions for my lunch today- I already snuck a bite and it’s delicious.

  148. Karen

    Made the meatball mixture again tonight but cooked it up as burgers. Topped the patties with the pickled onions, cucumber slices, and chilis for the grownups. Everyone LOVED it. The mix made 5-6 generous patties (I only cooked up 4, and have some leftover) so good! I think it’s a new favorite.

  149. Jill

    I love this recipe! I quit eating meat and my personal favorite sub is roasting cauliflower in lieu of the meatballs. This recipe so flavorful for minimal weeknight effort.

  150. I made these again last night and paired them with cabbage instead of the chickpeas and the sweet potato fries with harissa-spiced yogurt from Deb’s new book, Keepers. Everything was a hit. These meatballs are one of our favorites, and I like how versatile they are!

  151. Elizabeth

    Delicious! I served with some salad and rice on the side and I mixed up some tzatziki out of the leftover yogurt and lemon juice (with added garlic, cucumber, parsley, and cilantro).

  152. Essie

    This is one my family’s favorite recipes and I’ve been making it routinely for about a year now. I double it and make a batch to freeze for my toddler. I recommend the recipe to anyone who mentions being in a cooking slump. I’ve adapted the fresh herbs with whatever I happen to have on hand and used quinoa and rice instead of breadcrumbs and it’s always great. It is always best when I remember to make the delicious yogurt lemon dip. Thanks for creating and sharing this solid and reliable recipe!

  153. V

    It’s still too hot in Texas to turn on an oven without due cause, so I browned the turkey on the stovetop with the spices and ate it in rice bowls with a tomato-cucumber salad and dollop of hummus on top. I love the meatballs, but this was a great, quicker, and cooler substitute!