Middle Eastern Chicken Kofta

Kofta are spiced meatballs traditionally made with beef or lamb. While pumpkin is not customary, we’ve added it here to provide maximum juiciness to lean ground chicken. Try serving our Middle Eastern chicken kofta with whole-wheat pitas, or, for a lower carb option, grilled eggplant slices.
Low carb Middle Eastern Chicken Kofta recipe

Middle Eastern Chicken Kofta

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 5Servings



  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled


  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup BPA-free canned or pouched pumpkin purée (NOTE: Not pumpkin pie filling.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • tbsp unsalted pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper


  • 3 plum or vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, peeled and diced (about 1 cup diced)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Za’atar seasoning (NOTE: This is a seasoning blend that you can find in the ethnic section of grocery stores or in specialty Middle Eastern stores. The exact blend of spices can vary, but it typically includes sesame seeds, thyme and sumac.)


  1. Prepare tahini sauce: In a small food processor or blender, combine all tahini sauce ingredients and 5 tbsp water; process until smooth. (TIP: You can also do this step in a bowl with a whisk; however, you’ll need to mince the garlic first.) Set aside.
  2. Arrange an oven rack 5 to 6 inches from top heat source and preheat broiler to high. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray.
  3. Prepare kofta: In a large bowl, combine chicken, onion, 2 cloves garlic, pumpkin, ¼ cup parsley, nuts, cinnamon, allspice, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Using your hands, mix until combined. Divide mixture into 20 1-oz meatballs, and form each into an oval shape. (TIP: Wet your hands to keep mixture from sticking.) Place meatballs on sheet. Broil for 7 to 8 minutes, turning once, until cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare salad: In a medium bowl, combine all salad ingredients. Divide kofta and salad among serving plates
  5. and drizzle kofta with tahini sauce.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 4 KOFTA, 1 1/2 TBSP TAHINI SAUCE, 1/2 CUP SALAD
  • Calories: 236
  • Carbohydrate Content: 11 g
  • Cholesterol Content: 50 mg
  • Fat Content: 12 g
  • Fiber Content: 3 g
  • Protein Content: 22 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 2 g
  • Sodium Content: 260 mg
  • Sugar Content: 3 g