Ground meat, generally speaking, can be less than exciting. If you’re house is like ours, you probably find yourself rotating between tacos, sloppy joes, and some kind of Italian meat sauce. And we usually substitute venison for ground beef or turkey since it’s what we have in the freezer.
Working with venison can be an extra challenge. Because of it’s distinct flavor, venison doesn’t always work in all recipes. We don’t particularly love ground venison in many red sauces because the acid in the tomatoes doesn’t always pair well with the flavor of the meat.
Because it’s so lean and a little gamey, I like to sometimes treat venison like lamb. I find it lends itself really well to middle eastern flavors like cumin and coriander. I based these kofta meatballs on a traditional lamb recipe and paired them with a Mediterranean salad topped with a tahini yogurt dressing.
The smokey cumin and floral coriander compliment the flavor of the venison without overpowering it and a little bit of cinnamon adds a nice dynamic note. The nutty tahini sauce pairs perfectly with these flavors and the greens from the salad add a nice contrasting, fresh crunch to all the deep flavors.
These meatballs are easy to assemble, cook quick, and are incredibly versatile. Can you imagine how cute these would be as little sliders? And think about how delicious and portable they’d become wrapped in pita. This kofta meatball recipe is such a good base for so many meals. If you find yourself in a ground meat rut, try switching it up with these kofta meatballs.
Venison Kofta Meatballs with Mediterranean Salad
For the Venison Kofta
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 lb Ground Venison, Lamb, or Beef
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1/3 Cup Red Onion, chopped
- 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
- 2 Tsp Coriander
- 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
For the dressing
- 1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
- Juice from 1 Lemon
- 1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Tsp Dijon
- 1 Tbsp Tahini
For the Salad
- 1/2 Cup Buckwheat or other quick cooking grain cooked according to the package directions
- Red or Yellow Bell Pepper
- Red Onion, chopped
- Shredded Carrots
Add the olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add all the ingredients for the kofta in a large bowl and combine with your hands until the onion and spices are incorporated through the meat. Roll into small meatballs and add to the pan, in batches if necessary, and cook 3-4 minutes on each side.
Get started on the dressing by whisking all the ingredients in a large bowl. Assemble the salad and top with the meatballs. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy!