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Percian Meatballs (Koofteh) in Turmeric Tomato Broth
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5 from 1 vote

Persian Meatballs in Turmeric Broth (Koofteh)

Koofteh are hearty and flavorful Persian meatballs mixed with loads of aromatic herbs, split peas and rice that are then simmered in a turmeric tomato broth.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Marinate20 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Persian
Keyword: koofteh, Persian meatballs, sabzi, sabzi koufteh
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 604kcal
Author: Samantha Ferraro
Cost: $10


Dutch Oven


Meatballs (Koofteh)

  • 1 cup Sabzi Koufteh dried herb blend soaked in water (*Fresh herb option will be in notes)
  • ½ cup yellow split peas
  • ¾ cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water or stock
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 whole onion grated
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the Sauce

  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 large onion sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 cups of chicken stock low-sodium preferred
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley leaves chopped for garnish


  • If using the dried herb blend, add herbs to a bowl and cover with enough water to cover the herbs and soak for about 20 minutes.
  • Next, par-cook the split peas and rice in 2 cups of water for about ten minutes until the lentils are just tender. Once done, remove and drain.
  • In another large bowl, add the beef, grated onion, dehydrated herbs (or chopped fresh herbs if using), egg, rice, split peas and spices. Mix thoroughly until well blended, then cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Form mixture into large meatballs, it will make about 8 very large meatballs.
  • In a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, drizzle olive oil and add sliced onion and saute until translucent and softened but not browned, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add garlic and saute for another minute, then add the turmeric and tomato paste and stir everything together for another minute.
  • Pour in chicken stock and gently add the meatballs. Cover the pot and cook for about 45 minutes, turning them about halfway through until meatballs are cooked all the way through.
  • Once done, serve meatballs in shallow bowls and ladle broth with onions around. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.


This recipe uses dried herbs, however will work very well with fresh herbs.
if using fresh herbs, chop 1 bunch of the listed herbs below and add that to the meatball mixture.
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Chives or Green Onions
  • Tarragon
  • Basil
Koofteh taste even better the next day so feel free to make this ahead of time.


Calories: 604kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 864mg | Potassium: 1182mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 7mg