Crunchy and Crusted: Crinkle Meatballs


For this month’s Five Star Cooking theme, I made a very different kind of meatballs. Instead of soft and juicy, these are crunchy and crusted, with a tint of sweetness from pieces of dates. The yogurt sauce drizzled on top balances out the texture. Surprisingly, this is now my favorite kind of meatballs.


Crinkle Meatballs with Turkey and Date
from Food and Wine

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 6 dates, pitted and finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest


  1. In a bowl, combine the ground turkey with the bread crumbs, dates, eggs, sesame seeds, sesame oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover the lentils, garlic, thyme and cinnamon stick with 2 inches of water; bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and transfer to a bowl; pick out and discard the seasonings. Stir the olive oil and vinegar into the lentils and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Form the turkey mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Spread the meatballs on a lightly oiled large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned on the bottom and cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, blend the yogurt with the lemon juice, mint and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Serve the meatballs with the lentils and yogurt.

Thank you to Natasha from 5 Star Foodie and Laz from Lazaro Cooks! for hosting this month’s 5 Star Cooking!

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14 comments for “Crunchy and Crusted: Crinkle Meatballs

  1. Natasha Price
    January 27, 2012 at 2:08 am

    A very different texture for meatballs, very unique, I love the idea!

  2. FOODalogue
    January 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I like the blending of cultures…I note Mid-Eastern, Asian and French. Very nice dish.

  3. lisa is cooking
    January 27, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    This sounds so interesting with the dates. And, the yogurt sauce sounds delicious. I need to try this version of meatballs!

  4. Lazaro Cooks
    January 28, 2012 at 4:39 am

    Beautiful recipe. I love the balance of flavor. The texture is right up my alley. Love crunchy and crusted.

    Be Well

  5. Trix
    January 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    What a fun texture to find in a meatball!

  6. Magic of Spice
    January 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I love the name! These are fantastic…the recipe is truly original and delightful!

  7. Marisa
    January 29, 2012 at 5:38 am

    These are so interesting! Great textures and flavors. Sounds delicious!

  8. Linda Harding
    January 29, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Wow, you can see they're deliciously crunchy – and the yoghurt sauce sounds like it complements them beautifully!

  9. lostpastremembered
    January 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    One of my favorite meatballs is a deep-fried number… these reminded me of them, but healthier since they're baked. Great to see those dates in the mix and the spicing is really fine. Another great recipe for the challenge!

  10. Tanantha
    January 29, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    I think you are the second one so far to add dates in the meatballs. i need to try that too! Crispy and crunchy can be my all time favorite too!

  11. Faith
    January 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    These look amazing! I love their crinkled look, and the sweetness of dates is a fantastic addition!

  12. Cheap Ethnic Eatz
    February 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Love this idea and the texture sounds so great. The yogurt too, excellent touch to balance it out.

  13. Kimberly (Unrivaledkitch)
    February 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    these look fantastic. what a great different type of meatball so many fun flacors. Sounds like a great dish. thanks for sharing!

  14. Reem | Simply Reem
    February 13, 2012 at 4:34 am

    Jessica, these meatballs look so good and totally unique…
    I love the idea of adding dates here…
    Texture looks really good as well.

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