Serious Eats: Recipes

Meat Lite: Veggie-Chicken Koftas

Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by the book coauthored by the two, Almost Meatless, due out in spring.

Koftas, essentially just meatballs, are common all over the Middle East. Some are meatless, some are all-meat, and many are a combo of meat and veggies.

This totally inauthentic version is based on a combination of stuff I like, including boneless, skinless chicken thighs, an ingredient I just stocked up on thanks to a sale at Whole Foods. When I got the $9 "family pack" of thighs home to this two-person household, I divided the chicken into six individually wrapped half-pound portions and stashed five of them in the freezer for future dishes (like soups, stews, tacos, casseroles, salads.)

This method of shopping and storing, combined with an arsenal of Meat Lite recipes, can keep high quality meat on the menu, even when the budget is tight. I served the koftas with my usual hummus and ate them wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves.

About the author: Joy Manning is the restaurant critic at Philadelphia Magazine. She blogs at

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