One of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes to make is this spinach and meatballs combination. It’s ridiculously easy to throw together; it’s healthy; and it is delicious. Recently, I made it for two different dinners we were hosting, where it immediately became a hit. If you want to get your hands wet with Arabic cooking but still want a quick meal to make, then I would highly recommend this dish as a start. Be sure to use the full amount of spinach – it does wilt and you’ll be amazed at how small the end result is.
MIDDLE EASTERN LEMON SPINACH W. MEATBALLS AND RICE
Yield: approximately 4 servings
1 pound ground beef*
1 garlic clove, minced
1 chopped red onion
3/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
*if using lean beef, cook meatballs in 2 T olive oil.
16 oz fresh spinach
2 T lemon juice + lemon wedges
Middle Eastern Rice
2 T butter
1/2 c angel hair pasta
1 1/2 c white rice, arborio (you can sub in jasmine or basmati but adjust water amount accordingly)
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 c water
Begin making rice… in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine angel hair pasta and butter. Sauté for about 1 minute and stir in rice. Place back on stove and toast rice, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Pour water over rice (steam will rise so be careful) and stir in salt. Bring to a boil then turn heat to low and cover. Simmer until water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
In the meantime, mix beef through salt in a large bowl. Form into 24-25 meatballs. Cook meatballs in skillet on medium heat (in olive oil if using lean beef), carefully turning to cook on all sides. Once meatballs are brown on the outside, place spinach over top. Carefully stir mixture, allowing spinach to mix with meatballs and wilt gradually. Once spinach is completely wilted, sprinkle with about 2 T lemon juice.
Serve spinach, meatballs and rice with lemon wedges as garnishes.