Spiced Beef Kefta Kabobs, with a fresh green salad and Tzatziki Dressing is a tasty and unique combination. Just add pita for a complete meal.
This dish had been on my radar for ages. It’s super tasty and fits right in with my goal to keep things fun, healthy and simple for the summer!
Yes, I had been wanting to turn my beloved Baked Kufta with Potatoes and Tahini into something lighter and easier–but with all the great flavor. And in the end it was easy. And absolutely delicious!
What is Kefta?
Since kefta isn’t a household word, I decided to look it up on Wikipedia. Here I was informed that kefta is “a family of meatball or meatloaf dishes found in the Indian subcontinent, South Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Balkan, and Central Asian cuisines. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of ground meat usually beef, chicken, lamb or mutton, or a mixture – mixed with spices or onions.”
So these are basically seasoned ground beef kabobs! And they’re just as tasty as my Kefta Bel Tahini, which is more like a slab of seasoned beef with potatoes, and tahini sauce.
And similar to having different forms, there are different terms for the dish–from ketfa, to kofta, to kufta to kafta and more. I guess that’s not surprising given how many countries are enjoying it!
Why You’ll Love This!
Tasty. Kefta is eaten and loved in so many countries because it’s loaded with flavor.
Easy. This version of kefta kabobs is very easy. Even the seasoned meat simply mixes up in a food processor.
Healthy. Just add the pita and you have everything you need for a complete meal.!
Step by Step Directions
This recipes uses a food processor to chop and mix the spiced mixture which means it’s very easy to make. And there is a simple but tasty dressing based on Tzatziki sauce as well.
You start by seeding a half cucumber for the dressing.
Blend with ground beef by hand, form on to shish kabob skewers and grill or bake
Serve with salad and Tzatziki sauce.
Do you need to grill the kabobs?
While grilling kefta kabobs is probably the most common cooking method, it’s not required. In fact, our grill isn’t even working now!
In the end I made oven baked kabobs, but I also considered molding the meat mixture into finger sized pieces and frying kefta sausages! I’ve seen kofta meatballs as well.
We also have a cast iron grill pan that I use all the time for stovetop “grilling.” So fire up the barbeque if it’s convenient, otherwise find another way. No grill police in my house!
Just make sure the internal temperature gets up to 165 F for food safety, since these are made with ground meat.
Can I make a dairy free dressing?
If you want or need to go dairy free, one option would simply be to substitute a non-dairy yogurt in the Tzatziki dressing.
Or for variety you might try a simple tahini sauce. Just dilute some tahini paste with enough warm water to make a nice consistency, then add a little lemon juice, garlic and salt.
Either way you’ll have a tasty Mediterranean salad dressing that delivers complimentary flavors.
What do I serve with a Kefta Salad?
Rice or potatoes can be served alongside these kabobs, but my personal favorite is pita bread. It doesn’t heat up the house and is super easy.
Then as a bonus, if you have leftovers, you can stuff them into an opened pita and call it a kefta sandwich. It’s a good day when your leftovers feel like a new dish!
If you’re looking for an alternative to a lettuce salad, consider my Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad.
You can also make kefta kebobs with other forms of ground meat. If ground lamb were easier to find and less expensive, I’d probably use that–and it’s my first choice eating out.
And if you’re anticipating a good harvest of potatoes this fall, don’t forget the Kefta with Potatoes and Tahini that got this whole exercise started!
Now just in case you’re thinking about some more Olympic inspired international food, take a look at these other ideas below.
- Yakitori representing Japan by House of Nash Eats
- Mixed Berry Scones representing the United Kingdom by Simply Inspired Meals
- Instant Pot Chicken Adobo representing the Philippines by Lemon Blossoms
- Crepes representing France by Devour Dinner
- Chicken Gyoza representing Japan by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Chimichurri Sauce representing Argentina by Take Two Tapas
- Pork Satay representing Thailand by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Island Banana Bread representing the Bahamas by Our Good Life
- Hibachi Chicken representing Japan by Palatable Pastime
- Mititei representing Romania by That Recipe
- Dorayaki representing Japan by Magical Ingredients
- Thai Chicken Pizza representing Thailand by The Spiffy Cookie
- Peach Cobbler representing the USA by The Redhead Baker
- Kefta Kabobs representing the Middle East by Art of Natural Living
Kefta Salad with Tzatziki Dressing
- 1/2 cucumber use the rest in the salad
- 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt pepper or to taste
Kefta seasoning mix:
- 1 medium onion quartered
- 1 medium tomato quartered
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ cup of fresh parsley leaves
- Spice mix: ½ teaspoon paprika ½ t allspice, ½ t coriander, 1/2 t pepper, 1/4 t cinnamon, ¼ t cumin, pinch cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 slice bread torn into pieces
- 1 pound ground beef or lamb
- about 6 ounces of lettuce of your choice
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
- 4 mini peppers sliced into rings
- remaining half of the cucumber from the dressing sliced
- If grilling the kabobs, soak eight skewers in water. This isn't needed if you are oven baking them.
- Make the dressing. Seed half a cucumber, chop, salt and let sit in a strainer briefly to drain.. Discard juices and mix the cucumber with the rest of the dressing ingredients. Store in the refrigerator while you make the rest of the dish.
- Using a food processor, pulse the seasoning mix ingredients until finely chopped. They will look surprisingly like meat. Remove from food processor and in a separate bowl, mix with the meat.
- Form seasoned meat mixture around eight skewers. Bake in a 375 F oven until temperature is 165F, about 15 minutes. Alternatively you can grill the kabobs,
- While kabobs are cooking assemble salads. Slice the cucumber and mini peppers into rounds. Divide lettuce between four bowls, and top with tomatoes, sliced cucumber and sliced mini peppers.
- Serve salads with kefta kabobs and dressing.
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