Apricot-Studded Meatballs With Lemony Couscous 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Dinner in Minutes Nov 6, 2013

Dried fruit and a touch of curry powder do wonders for the humble meatball. Unexpected, right?

Here, the meatballs are sized just right for quick cooking. Prep time is minimal. Couscous and fresh slices of tomato, cucumber and onion complete this healthful main course.

Servings: 4
  • 4 to 6 dried unsulphured unsweetened apricots, preferably the orange-colored kind
  • 1 pound lean (95/5 or 93/7) ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup dried plain couscous
  • 1 large lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 medium cucumber
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese, preferably low-fat (optional)


Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiling element; preheat the broiler. Have a slotted broiler pan at hand.

Finely chop the dried apricots to yield 1/3 cup and place them in a mixing bowl along with the ground beef and curry powder. Season lightly with salt.

Use your clean hands to thoroughly incorporate the ingredients. Divide the mixture into 16 equal portions, then shape each one into a meatball, arranging them at least 1 inch apart on the broiler pan as you work. Broil for 6 to 8 minutes total, turning them for even browning halfway through. They should be fully cooked, but be careful not to overcook them.

Meanwhile, prepare the couscous according to the package directions. Cut the lemon in half; squeeze 3 tablespoons of juice into a liquid measuring cup. Whisk in the oil to form an emulsified dressing, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the tomato, cucumber and red onion into thin slices.

Transfer the cooked couscous to a serving bowl, fluffing it with a fork as you work. Drizzle the dressing over it, and toss to incorporate.

Divide the couscous among individual plates, mounding it slightly at the center. Arrange 4 meatballs on top of each portion. Sprinkle with the feta cheese, if using. Divide the vegetable slices among each plate. Drizzle each portion with a little oil, if desired. Serve warm.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook," by Tina Ruggiero (Page Street Publishing, 2013).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.