Lamb & Beef Meatballs with Broad Beans & Lemon – The Colours of Spring on a Plate

Broad Beans to me mean spring. Perhaps because in Spain we would normally be harvesting our own from early spring. That beautiful vibrant green of the inner pod is the colour of new life springing from the earth. It’s enough to make you start writing poems about daffodils and wandering lonely as a cloud.

Well, it’s enough to inspire me to cook with them and the discovery (yes, at heart I’m a country girl who normally reaps what she sows) of frozen broad beans has been very exciting for me. Add to this the delightful recipes of Mr Yotam Ottolenghi and his Jerusalem cookbook (again) and I had no choice but to make his Meatballs with Broad Beans and Lemon.

Meatballs with Broad Beans Main Photo

Enough waxing lyrical and on with the cooking.


  • 4 ½ tablespoons of olive oil
  • 350g broad beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 whole thyme sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 8 spring onions cut into 2cm segments, at an angle if you want to be fancy
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 500ml of chicken stock
  • Salt & black pepper

For the meatballs

  • 300g of minced beef
  • 150g minced lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 120g fresh breadcrumbs (I used a little less and it was fine)
  • 2 tablespoons each of chopped flat leaf parsley, mint, dill and coriander plus about ½ tablespoon of each to finish the dish
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of baharat spice mix (I had to make mine but it was easy)
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped capers (I couldn’t find any but it was still tasty without)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Makes about 20-24 meatballs about the size of ping pong balls

Place all the meatballs ingredients into a large bowl and add salt and pepper to taste and mix well with your hands. Form into small meatballs and sear them in batches with some of the olive oil until browned. Remove from pan and wipe the pan clean.

Blanch the broad beans in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes then run under cold water. Remove the skins from about half the beans and discard the skins. Keep the beans separate from each other.

Lamb & Beef Meatballs (2)

Heat the remaining oil in the pan you used previously and add the thyme, garlic and spring onions and sauté over a medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the unshelled broad beans, 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice, 80ml of stock, a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Now add the meatballs and remaining stock, cover and continue to simmer for about 25 minutes. This can be made ahead but as they cool, the meatballs will continue to absorb the stock. If necessary, add a little water when reheating. Before serving taste for seasoning, add the remaining herbs, lemon juice and the shelled beans.  Delicious with rice.

It’s a fabulous dish to make for guests as it can be prepared ahead and pulled together at the last minute. I do confess to having been outraged at having to buy all the herbs I would normally just step outside my back door to pick. But..buying or picking, it’s a stunning dish and well worth the little bit of effort you have to put in.

For another beautiful Ottolenghi meatball dish, check out my recipe for Lamb with Quince, Pomegranate and Coriander.


55 thoughts on “Lamb & Beef Meatballs with Broad Beans & Lemon – The Colours of Spring on a Plate

  1. Strange, I was only thinking of you when I picked my first feed of broad beans last week. I lost the recipe you (I think it was you) posted awhile back. IT was like a broad bean salad…did I read it on your blog or was I going crazy.
    If it was, plese can I have the link 🙂

    BTW this looks lovely 🙂

  2. Can I pop over to yours for some of this? I mean, if you’ve made a batch it’d be a shame to waste…
    I love broad beans, though not so much the frozen ones. Wouldn’t have thought to mix beef and lamb, or to cook them in stock instead of oil. Sounds good!

    1. I usually mix beef and pork when I make meatballs so this was a nice change. I was amazed at how good the frozen ones (from Sainsbury’s) when cooked in dishes like this. And of course you’d be welcome to pop over and have a bite to eat!

  3. Steve is going to ADORE these! They look amazing :). I bet the big man inhaled them (much like Steve will when I make them 😉 ). Scrumptious looking soul food and good for spring or autumn followed by apple crumble and custard and cream methinks 🙂

    1. Glad you liked the look of it (although I know you won’t be eating it). Love that Steve is not deprived in any way! I think Apple crumble and custard is up there in my top 5 favourite desserts 🙂

      1. Only fools (and some vegans) don’t eat apple crumble and custard and when you see that custard powder is vegan why don’t they?!!! “Only fools and vegans”… Puts a whole new spin on Delboy doesn’t it? Maybe they would ride tandam bikes like the Goodies? 😉

      2. Now I’m singing that song from Only Fools & Horses and as we’re about to put up a chandelier I’m remembering the episode where they cleaned a chandelier (much grander than ours!) in a stetely home and unscrew the wrong one 🙂

      3. “Rodney…you are a plonker!” ;). When we visited the U.K. for 6 weeks we got addicted to Only Fools and Horses and as luck would have it, we were taping every single episode back home and watched it in a marathon 3 day sitting. I LOVE David Jason, he is one of your most versatile actors and who wouldn’t love Danger Mouse eh? ;). SO glad I don’t have to clean a chandelier! Hopefully the tennant has to clean it and not you on a regular basis 😉

      4. My dad looked like Del Boy when he was younger (my dad that is!) so I have a special fondness for this character. My dad is still, luckily, with us so we can watch is together and have a good chuckle! The chandelier was an E-Bay bargain for our own place so it will be my responsibility (but it’s not THAT huge, and probably a quick flick with a feather duster should be fine most of the time).

      5. …and if it gets a bit much, your ex scaffolding babe can shimmy up there and do it for you :). Bonus girl! Love the bargain bit and hope we get to see it in a future post?

  4. A double thank you for this! Love the recipe: you have prompted me to use a vegetable for some reason but rarely eaten this house! I find ‘baharat’ so useful, always keep some at home! Secondly, I still don’t have ‘Jerusalem’ [lean purse and all that 😦 !] but must make that trip > Amazon and do something about that!! Talk about appetizing!!

    1. Baharat was new to me but so easy to make up…wonderful flavour too! Down Under you are much more savvy about all these amazing spice mixes! Do give the broad beans a go….podding them is a bit time consuming but the inner pods have a much more delicate flavour and would probably appeal more to non BB eaters!

  5. The platter of meatballs waiting to be cooked are chockfull of flavorful ingredients. Just look at them! With those herbs and spices, they must be delicious, especially when served with the season’s first broad beans. And if broad beans are being harvested in your part of the World, ours won’t be far behind. C’mon Spring! 🙂

  6. Your photo( and not just the photo) fascinated me…
    I always find something new , or unknown to me , in your recipes and they are also a great source of inspiration ….
    My cooking thanks a lot!
    A big hug from

  7. If it’s possible to make a raw meatball look completely appetizing, you’ve done it! What a wonderful dish to usher in spring! I have to look up the baharat spice mix; I’m not familiar with it (assuming it’s something I can mix up myself as you did). Thanks for the recipe today!

    1. Baharat was a new one to me but the recipe for it is very easy and very good indeed! You’re right, even the raw meatballs looked (almost) good enough to eat 🙂

  8. That sounds fantastic. I’m working out how to suggest that the meat balls contain no meat to Jenny. It’s not going to be easy, but the flavours and ingredients of this dish makes the effort seem worth while.

    1. Ooh tricky, meatballs with no meat! Or you could make them with fish or potatoes (like croquetas) or chickpeas…..not sure how they’d taste, but probably all those other wonderful flavours would work well!

  9. A dish truly evoking Spring! I always associate lamb and mint with spring, and need to try my hand at lamb and beef meatballs…I know we’d love them. Add the broad beans and the touch of lemon…yes, it really is Spring on a plate!

  10. Looks Yummy and Delicious…I will try this at home. anyway, if i don’t have chicken it okay if i substitute with beef stock?

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