Köfte (Meatball) Soup (Photo: Ela Cenudioglu)

This soup, featuring meatballs known as “köfte” in Turkey, is a filling and delicious meal, perfect for Shabbat and Passover. Who would have known that walnut and cinnamon would go so well with meatballs?

The “secret” of our Shabbat and seder table lies in combining sweet and savory ingredients — it’s like a love story between two contrasting characters.

Walnuts, in particular, often play the star role in our recipes. While they’re a key ingredient in this dish as well, it’s essential to evenly distribute the walnuts when mixing them into the meatballs.

As a family, we try to lead a healthy lifestyle, which includes our no-fry policy at home. Although meatballs in this recipe are traditionally fried in oil, my mother uses an alternative method. She bakes the meatballs in the oven, lined with parchment paper, to make them less greasy and lighter.

I recommend serving this soup with a side of basmati rice pilaf (here’s one recipe for it) for a delicious meal. Enjoy!

Turkish meatball (köfte) soup

PrintYield8 servings


For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound minced beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 2.5 cups ground walnuts
  • 4 tbsp matzah flour
  • 1 tsp allspice or myrtle pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt

For the soup:

  • 2 medium-sized celery roots
  • 3 lemons
  • 4 green garlic stalks (or substitute with 4 scallions or 2 garlic cloves, adjusted to taste)
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint, to taste
  • 8.5 cups of water
  • 1 tsp salt


To make the meatballs:

  • Place the ground beef into a large bowl. Add 2 eggs and mix well.
  • To this mixture, add the ground walnuts, matzah flour, allspice, cinnamon and salt. Combine these ingredients thoroughly until well-integrated.
  • Once the ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout the mixture, shape it into small balls about the size of a walnut.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 180 degrees Celsius) and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Arrange the meatballs on the prepared tray and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the meatballs are no longer pink inside.

For the soup:

  • Chop the celery into cubes, ensuring to include the leaves. Chop the fresh mint into small pieces. Place the celery, its leaves, and the chopped mint into a large pot.
  • Next, finely chop three cloves of garlic. Add these to the pot along with 8.5 cups of water. Bring this mixture to a boil.
  • In the meantime, squeeze the juice from the three lemons.
  • Once the celery begins to soften, stir in the lemon juice and the prepared meatballs, along with a teaspoon of salt. Allow the soup to boil for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.
  • After this, your soup is ready to be taken off the stove and served. Enjoy your meal!

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