Lemon Cardamom Meatballs with Garlic Tahini Sauce

I LOVE coming up with different versions of meatballs. I have tried so many different versions and this one still sits on the top of my meatball list. Meatballs are a great vessel for flavor and can be perfect on their own as an appetizer or as a main course. The warmth from the cinnamon and cardamom makes these meatballs extra special and unique. Once dipped in the creamy tahini sauce, your taste buds will be doing dances

March 29, 2023
Lemon Cardamom Meatballs Garlic Tahini Sauce

Lemon Cardamom Meatballs with Garlic Tahini Sauce

Alissa DiSanto
  • Prep Time
    20 min
  • Cook Time
    35 min
  • Total Time
    55 min
  • Servings
  • Difficulty


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 tbsp minced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼- ½ cup warm water


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the ground beef, onion, garlic, egg, fresh herbs, lemon zest, pine nuts, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt/pepper into a large mixing bowl. Combine the mixture with your hands. Be careful to not overmix the meat mixture. This can result in tough meatballs.
  3. Form 9-10 meatballs from the mixture. This can be done up to 24 hours in advance. If doing this prior to baking, simply store the meatballs in the fridge in an airtight container or on a baking sheet wrapped tightly with plastic wrap.
  4. Cover the bottom of your oven proof skillet or cast iron pan with olive oil and heat on medium heat until hot.
  5. Brown the meatballs on all sides for roughly 4-5 minutes.
  6. Transfer your oven proof skillet to the oven and continue cooking for another 7-8 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.
  7. While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce by mixing the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Slowly add half of the water to thin out the sauce. If needed use the other half of the warm water to get the right consistency. Taste for flavor and add additional salt if needed.
  8. Serve the meatballs nestled on top of the sauce. Garnish with pine nuts and fresh herbs.


  • Great to serve alongside a simple green salad or orzo pasta.
  • If you prefer to bake these meatballs from start to finish, I suggest increasing your oven temp to 400° F and baking them for approximately 15-20 minutes.
  • At first the tahini sauce can seem thick and chunky. Be patient and keep adding small amounts of water and mixing until fully incorporated. I had to add water around 4 times. Eventually, the sauce will become a very velvety, creamy consistency. Make sure to taste for seasoning. The water can mellow out the seasoning some.

Rate this recipe!

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Votes: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this recipe.