BAKED MEATBALLS with Tahini Sauce

July 8th, 2021


Meatballs are an often requested dinner in our house. Today I share a baked version that is quite revolutionary as there is no browning required on the stovetop. Simply mix, roll and bake. 

The meatballs are served with a creamy tahini sauce. Tahini is one of my favourite pantry ingredients and can add a creaminess that often comes from dairy products – something I limit in my cooking due to my sons dairy intolerance. As he has got older he can handle small quantities of dairy and is OK with butter, but I am always looking for ways to minimise it in our meals.

Not everyone is a fan of tahini (and I have included a variation below) as it has a slightly bitter taste. This can be minimised by sourcing fresh tahini. In my experience, tahini in a jar stored at room temperature can become rancid, giving it a more pronounced bitter taste. Also, ‘unhulled’ tahini is stronger in flavour, so I always go for ‘hulled’ tahini. Tahini can sometimes be found in the chilled section at the supermarket (and I always store it in the fridge at home) or source from a bulk food store that has a quick turnover. 


The Food Show 2021 – Auckland

I am thrilled to be invited to present at The Food Show in Auckland on Thursday 29th July (2.45 – 3.30 pm). I will be preparing my signature sourdough crumpets and some tasty toppings. Plus sharing some tips and tricks to maintaining a healthy sourdough starter (the key to great bread). If you are in Auckland come and say hi.

Baked Meatballs with Tahini Sauce

These meatballs are mildly spiced with Persian-inspired flavours and served with a creamy tahini sauce. If you don’t have tahini on hand, serve without or top with crumbled feta. Baking the meatballs in the oven works a treat, with the key being a high heat and adding the tomato passata once the meatballs have sealed in the oven heat. 
Servings 4
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes


  • 500 g premium beef or lamb mince
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • handful finely chopped coriander or parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • cup rolled oats - choose the smaller porridge oats
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 400 g tomato passata or 400g can chopped tomatoes

Tahini Sauce

  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • juice of half a lemon
  • about ⅓ cup water
  • small clove of garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • pinch of salt


  • Preheat the oven to 210C (fan 190C).
  • In a mixing bowl combine the mince, carrot, herbs, egg, oats, spices and salt. Use your hands or a spoon to thoroughly combine. Check seasoning by making a small pattie and cooking it in a hot pan until brown on both sides. Taste, then adjust the mixture with extra salt if needed.
  • Roll the meatball mixture into small walnut-sized balls. Arrange in an oven dish in a single layer with a little space between each - I used a 30cm cast iron frying pan.
  • Drizzle the meatballs with olive oil and place the dish into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes until the meatballs are sealed - there will be some cooking liquid in the base of the pan at this stage. Pour over the passata or chopped tomatoes and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
  • While the meatballs are cooking make the tahini sauce. Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well, adding an extra splash of water if required to loosen. Check the taste, and adjust with extra lemon juice or salt if needed.
  • Serve the hot meatballs with the tahini sauce on the side, accompanied by sautéed broccoli and cooked quinoa or rice to soak up the sauce.

Join the Conversation

  1. Would love to try this, could you suggest an alternative to the oats please?

    1. Breadcrumbs, standard or gluten-free could also be used. Make sure the mix is quite firm so it holds its shape while cooking.

  2. Cou look d this be done with chicken mince?

    1. Hi Chris, I can’t see why not although I haven’t tried with chicken mince so couldn’t be 100% sure. Once the mixture is combined, it needs to be able to be rolled into balls that hold their shape well, if not add a little more oats.

  3. Julie McQuilken says:

    Sounds delicious…….I’ve just purchased a flat cast iron pan with lid and handes so this will be perfect for its first outing. Thanks.

    1. Lovely, enjoy your cooking with your new pan. I love cast iron!

      1. Marie Roberts says:

        I have made the Meatballs recipe with Tahine sauce & we loved it. There was some left over so I froze it & reheated it last weekend. It was just as yummy.

        Thank you.

        1. Hi Marie, fantastic. I imagine they would freeze well, although I haven’t tried myself as there is never any left!
          Happy cooking 🙂

  4. Absolutely LOVE this recipe, it’s practically a weekly go to for us. The tahini sauce is a dreamy accompaniment with both the meatballs and broccoli. I do up the lemon and add a little honey to our taste. So easy and so satisfying. Thanks!

    1. Wonderful to hear, and love that you have added your own tweaks to the recipe to suit your taste. The tahini sauce is a winner!
      Happy cooking 🙂

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