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Pork and Pistachio Meatballs

Cook Time:
20 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

These balls are packed with flavor and texture, but only take about 35 minutes to pull off start to finish. They're perfect for weeknight cooking but also can just as easily hold their own at a dinner party or holiday gathering. Plus, they're pretty, and as we all know, we eat with our eyes first.

Technique tip: The meatball mixture and yogurt can be made up to several days in advance, and then rolled into balls before cooking. All you'll have to do is pick herbs, sear and assemble night of. If you want to scale up the recipe to serve more, go for it! You can either sear the meatballs in batches, or cook in two side-by-side skillets simultaneously to pull it all off at the same time.

Swap option: Ground pork and beef contain higher fat content than ground turkey or chicken, so if you want to swap them out, just add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the meatball mixture to offset some of that leanness. Much of the ingredients here are swappable, so choose your own nuts, spices, herbs and dried fruits, and go nuts.


  • cups whole milk Greek yogurt, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup toasted pistachios
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely grated and divided
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil



In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt and egg until smooth. Whisk in panko and let sit while you do some prep to give the panko some time to soften. Finely chop pistachios (set aside a tablespoon or so for serving).


Pluck a big handful of parsley leaves and tender stems for serving; finely chop the rest of the bunch.


Add the chopped pistachios, chopped parsley, dried currants, fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon turmeric, red pepper flakes, 2½ teaspoons salt, the zest of 1 lemon, 5 finely grated garlic cloves and ground pork to the hydrated panko mixture. Use your hands to work everything together into a well-blended homogenous mass.


Divide the mixture into 8 even portions and roll into balls.


In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining cup of yogurt, with 1 grated garlic clove and the juice of half of the lemon. Season with salt and set aside.


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is very hot, add the meatballs and cook, turning every few minutes until browned on several sides, and just cooked through in the center (you can cut into one to see, or use an instant thermometer; it should register 145 F), 13 to 15 minutes. You'll want to reduce the heat to medium low after about 5 minutes to prevent them from browning too deeply (the skillet will be very hot at this point!).


Using tongs, transfer meatballs to a plate. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the remaining teaspoon of turmeric to the oil that remains in the skillet, stir to incorporate and bloom the turmeric and then pour the turmeric-stained oil into the garlicky yogurt. Stir well to combine.


Shmear some turmeric yogurt on a serving platter. Arrange the meatballs on top. Scatter the reserved parsley leaves over, squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon half over everything and drizzle with olive oil. Finish with a sprinkle of salt and the reserved chopped pistachios.