Meatballs with rice and salad

Lebanese-style meatballs with mujadara

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(5 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 55 mins plus chilling


Serves 4

Brown rice, lentils and onions make a delicious base for this healthy dinner. We've used lean lamb mince and plenty of herbs and spices to add flavour

Nutrition and extra info

  • Healthy
  • Gluten-free

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal497
  • fat17g
  • saturates4g
  • carbs54g
  • sugars9g
  • fibre9g
  • protein27g
  • salt0.9g
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  • 250g lamb mince (10% fat or lower)
  • 2 large onions (320g), 1 very finely chopped, 1 halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 lemon, half zested and juiced, half cut into four wedges to serve



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 2 tsp rapeseed oil
    Rapeseed oil

    Rapeseed oil

    If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…

  • 200g brown basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp bouillon powder
  • 390g can green lentils, drained
  • 2 tbsp tahini



    Also known as tahina, this finely ground paste of husked and roasted sesame seeds is an…

For the salad

  • 4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • ¼ cucumber (about 150g), sliced
  • 12 Kalamata olives, quartered
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint, plus a few small leaves to serve



    There are several types of mint, each with its own subtle difference in flavour and appearance.…


  1. Tip the lamb into a bowl with ¼ of the chopped onion, the garlic, ½ tsp cumin, the lemon zest and some black pepper. Mix well with your hands, then shape into 16 small meatballs. Chill for at least 30 mins.

  2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Reserve most of the remaining chopped onion for the salad, then fry the rest for 5 mins until golden. Stir in the remaining cumin, then tip in the rice, bouillon powder, 500ml water and some black pepper. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then cover and cook over a medium heat for 30 mins. Tip in the lentils, cover again and cook for 5-10 mins more until the rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed.

  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a non-stick pan over a medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and sliced onion, cover and cook for 5 mins. Stir, then cook for 5 mins more until the meatballs are cooked through and the onions are golden. Stir the tahini and lemon juice together with 3-4 tbsp water to make a sauce.

  4. Mix all of the salad ingredients with the reserved chopped onion. If you're following our Healthy Diet Plan, divide half of the mujadara between two plates and top with half of the meatballs and onions. Spoon over half of the tahini sauce and serve with half of the salad, two lemon wedges and a few mint leaves. Cover and chill the remaining portions to eat another day. Will keep for two to three days in the fridge.

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Comments, questions and tips

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27th Feb, 2020
As I'm only cooking for one I made the full quantity of meatballs, then froze half raw for next week, and cooked the other half, saving half of those for another day. I don't like keeping cooked rice so I only cooked 1 portion, 50g rice and added 50g dry lentils, putting both in the pan at the same time. I thought it made a rather brown unappetising looking meal, but it was quite tasty. I'd make a bigger portion of salad next time.
18th Jan, 2020
Can this be Frozen?
CassieBest's picture
20th Jan, 2020
Hi perfectquiche, You have to be very careful when freezing and reheating rice as it can harbour harmful bacteria. Also, the meatballs could dry out if frozen and reheated, so we wouldn't recommend freezing this recipe. I hope this helps. Cassie (Senior Food Editor, BBC Good Food)
25th Feb, 2020
It also works with pork. I think 250g meat is not enough for 200g rice + 490g lentils. (I used 450g meat and only 240g lentils)
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