This time of year, tender herbs grow like weeds in gardens and come cheap in markets, and meatballs are my favorite way to finish off my herbs.
Leafy herbs not only add a bright freshness to smoky grilled meatballs, but also lighten the texture. Scallions do the same, as do oats. This gluten-free alternative to breadcrumbs brings a subtle sweetness to the meat mix.
Inspired by the kebabs and keftes of the Middle East, these meatballs include aromatic spices and a dip. Although savory yogurt sauces are the classic pairing — and would taste great here — puréed avocado delivers a similar creamy coolness. Blending in lots of herbs and lemon juice gives it enough nuance and flavor to work as a dip for anything else, such as chips or crudites.
This meatball recipe can be varied according to your taste and whatever you have on hand. Keep the proportions the same, but use any tender, leafy herbs. You can toss in some heartier herbs, too; a teaspoon of minced thyme or rosemary would be nice.
As for the spices, cumin and coriander are solid starting points, but allspice, Urfa biber (a Turkish chile pepper) or mace would work, too. And if you love spicy foods, stir some chile flakes right into the meatball mix and serve the meatballs with hot sauce.