Meatballs, couscous meal offers subtle, fresh flavors

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Linda Gassenheimer
 |  Tribune News Service

Capture delicate flavors of the Middle East with this 15-minute meal. The mixture of cinnamon, cumin and raisins flavors the meatballs. A cucumber and yogurt sauce adds a cool and refreshing finish.

Israeli couscous is larger than regular couscous. It is a type of pasta and adds a crunchy texture to the Herbed Couscous side dish. Fresh mint and tomatoes add more flavor and color.

MIDDLE EASTERN MEATBALLS

Yield 2 servings

Ingredients:

1/4 cup raisins

3/4 pound lean ground sirloin

1 cup frozen chopped onion

1 egg white

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons non-fat, plain yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped cucumber

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Steps:

Preheat broiler. Mix raisins, ground sirloin, diced onion, egg white, cinnamon and cumin together. Roll mixture into meatballs about 2 inches in diameter and place on a foil-lined tray. Makes 10 meatballs. Broil 5-inches from heat for 5 minutes, turn over and broil for another 3 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 155 degrees.

Divide into two portions and serve over couscous. Mix the yogurt and cucumber together and spoon evenly over the meatballs. Sprinkle the parsley on top, (if using).

HINTS  Israeli couscous is also called pearl or Jerusalem couscous. An easy way to turn the meatballs over while cooking, is with a tong or two spoons.

NUTRITION, PER SERVING  420 calories (37% from fat), 17.3 g fat (6.9 g saturated, 7.6 g monounsaturated), 113 mg cholesterol, 37.7 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 4.1 g fiber, 166 mg sodium.

HERBED COUSCOUS

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1/2 cup Israeli couscous

1 cup tomato cubes, (about 1/2-inch)

1/2 cup fresh mint torn into bite-size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steps:

Bring water to a boil. Add the couscous, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Drain. Add tomatoes, mint, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

NUTRITION, PER SERVING  244 calories (27% from fat), 7.3 g fat (1.1 g saturated, 3.3 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 6.7 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 4.1 g fiber, 12 mg sodium.

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