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Cooking with Özlem – baked Turkish mini meatballs (köfte) in pepper and tomato sauce

These delicious Turkish mini meatballs (köfte) are a real crowd pleaser. The pepper and tomato sauce make them moister; they are also gluten-free and healthy, as they are baked.

You can serve them as a meze, starter or as a main course with rice, pasta and steamed vegetables.

Serves: 6


  • 225gr/ 8oz ground beef
  • 225gr/8oz ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 400 gr/14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 fl oz./1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Small bowl of water with a drizzle of olive oil aside to shape the köfte


  1. Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F
  2. In a large bowl, combine the grated onions, eggs and parsley and knead well. That will help soften the onions and blend the ingredients homogeneously
  3. Stir in the ground meat, season with salt (about 1 – 2 tsp.) and ground black pepper to your taste Knead for a good 3-5 minutes with your hands, until the mixture becomes elastic and mixed well
  4. Cover this ground meat mixture with a cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  5. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and stir in the garlic and bell peppers. Sauté for 5 minutes, while stirring often
  6. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and 8 fl oz./ 1 cup of water. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir, cover and simmer on medium to low heat for 10 minutes. Then turn the heat off
  7. Take out the ground meat mixture from the fridge to shape meatballs. Have a small bowl of water with a drizzle of olive oil near you
  8. Wet your hands and take a small walnut size of the meat mixture and roll into a ball. Place the meatballs in a baking tray ready cook side by side and continue until all the meat mixture is shaped into mini köftes (meatballs)
  9. Bake the mini köftes in the pre heated oven (180 C / 350 F) for 25 minutes, they will start to get a nice golden brown coating
  10. Transfer the baked mini köftes in a large baking dish and pour in the pepper and tomato sauce around them, giving a gentle mix
  11. Bake the mini köftes in tomato and pepper sauce for a further 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken, the flavors blend in and meatballs will have a wonderful coating
  12. Serve hot with plain rice and Cacık dip of cucumber, yoghurt and mint if you like

This lovely meatballs in peppery sauce recipe and many others are included In Özlem’s Turkish cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland.

 Signed hardback copies are available at this link and are delivered worldwide.

Afiyet Olsun

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