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.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

We independently source all of the products that we feature on cleaneatingmag.com. If you buy from the links on our site, we may receive an affiliate commission, which in turn supports our work.

Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
10 min
45 min


Tahini sauce

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



  • 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
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 0 g