In my family, all things Mediterranean are the ultimate when it comes to food. When I lived at home lamb koftas were a regular in my Mum’s kitchen and they’re a recipe I’ve taken with me to mine. Whilst they are one of my favourites, I realised a few weeks ago that I actually hadn’t made them for quite a long time. Watching Tom Kerridge’s latest BBC series, Lose Weight For Good, I was salivating over a Mediterranean vegetable and halloumi sharing dish he made and it inspired me to do a similar thing and incorporate my lovely lamb koftas.
This dish will bring a wonderful splash of colour to your kitchen table. From a nutritional point of view, when we eat a larger variety of colours, we consume a wider variety of micronutrients so we’re really maximising our vitamin and mineral intake. Psychologically, it’s more appealing to the person eating it. Think about it, which is more likely to impress your family and dinner guests, a boring bland and beige meal or a vibrant dish of colourful food? There’s a reason brands choose nice bright colours for their packaging.
What I love about this recipe is that it really works for any occasion, a weekend dinner for The Boyfriend and me, cooked on a Sunday and spread across lunch boxes for the week, or multiplied up as a large sharing platter when friends and family are round for dinner. The meatballs are incredibly easy to make and you can make them ahead and store them in the fridge to cook later in the week if you like or make up a large batch and keep them in the freezer. They’re small enough to cook from frozen but make sure you add 10 minutes onto the cooking time.
(Serves 2 – with leftover meatballs)
For the lamb koftas (makes 15):
250g lamb mince
1/2 onion (finely diced)
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsps chilli flakes
2 tsps turmeric
Generous pinch of salt and pepper
For the cous cous:
1 cup cous cous
1 tbsp lemon juice
Large handful coriander, finely chopped
For the rest of the platter:
1 red pepper, cut into large chunks
1 courgette cut into strips approx. 1cm thick
200g halloumi cheese, cut into 1 cm thick slices
1/2 head of cauliflower broken into florets
Low calorie cooking oil spray
Generous pinch of chilli powder
Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- Meanwhile combine all of the kofta ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. I find the easiest way is just to get stuck in with your hands.
- Roll into small balls, roughly 4 cm in diameter and place in the fridge for a few minutes while you prep the cauliflower.
- Scatter the cauliflower florets on a tray, spray generously with low calorie cooking spray, season with salt and pepper and the chilli powder. Make sure everything is evenly coated.
- Spread the lamb meatballs evenly across another baking tray lined with baking parchment to prevent sticking. Place both trays in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. The balls may need a little longer if you’ve made them bigger.
- Meanwhile heat a grill or griddle pan to a high heat and spray the chunks of pepper, slices of courgette and halloumi with low calorie cooking spray on both sides. Season with salt and pepper (no need to add salt to the halloumi as it’s already got plenty).
- Grill for approximately five minutes on each side or until you start to see nice golden grill marks.
- Meanwhile boil the kettle and measure out your cous cous in a bowl.
- Pour boiling water over the cous cous until just covered and set aside.
- When the cous cous has absorbed all of the water, season with salt and pepper, add the lemon juice and coriander and thoroughly mix through.
- Everything should come together at approximately the same time so turn off the heat and set aside to plate up.
- You could serve this on one large sharing platter or spread across two plates. Scatter the cous cous across your plates or dish first and place the vegetables and halloumi around the edge, leaving a space in the middle to pile up the meatballs (approx 5 per person, you will have leftovers for your lunchbox!).