NYT Classics

Spicy Tahini Meatballs With Pita, Cucumber and Avocado

4 servings


35 minutes

total time


3 pitas, torn into roughly 1-inch pieces

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing

Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)

3 limes

1/2 cup stirred tahini

1 to 2 tablespoons hot sauce, plus more to taste (see Tip)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 pound ground chicken or turkey

1 pound cucumbers (preferably Japanese, Persian or mini, seedless cucumbers), cut into roughly 1/2-inch pieces

2 large avocados, cut into roughly 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup mint leaves, torn if large


Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a parchment-lined sheet pan, toss the torn pitas with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Finely grate the zest of 1 lime (about 1 teaspoon). In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, stir together the tahini, hot sauce, lime zest and cumin. At this point, you want it a tad too spicy, so add more hot sauce, if needed. Transfer 1/4 cup of the spicy tahini to a large bowl, along with the ground chicken and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix with your hands to combine. Using oiled hands, form 12 meatballs (2 heaping tablespoons each) and place among the pita. (It’s OK if the pita is not in a single layer.) Roast on the bottom rack until the pita is well toasted and the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool slightly.

While the meatballs and pitas roast, wash and dry the large bowl. To it, add the cucumbers, avocados and a big pinch of salt. Add ¼ cup lime juice from the zested lime and another lime; stir to coat and set aside. Add water to the remaining spicy tahini until it’s pourable. Season to taste with salt. (See? Not too spicy anymore.)

Cut the remaining lime into wedges. Add the pitas, mint and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil to the cucumbers and avocado. Stir gently to combine and season to taste with salt and lime juice. Eat the salad with the meatballs, a drizzle of the tahini, lime wedges and even more hot sauce, if you like.


Serving Size




Total Fat

62 g

Saturated Fat

10 g

Unsaturated Fat

48 g

Trans Fat

0 g




1192 mg

Total Carbohydrate

48 g

Dietary Fiber

17 g

Total Sugars

4 g


33 g

4 servings


35 minutes

total time
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