Ground beef, aromatics and bold spices come together beautifully in this Mediterranean ground beef kabob recipe. Served with a creamy whipped feta, pickled red onions and fresh herbs, there is flavor to the max in every bite!
Best of all, this ground beef kebab recipe is an easy one to follow, whether you're grilling for a summer BBQ or you're just looking for a delicious and flavorful meal to quickly get on the dinner table.
This version is similar to kafta (or kofta kebabs), a popular Middle Eastern meat dish typically made with ground lamb, loads of Middle Eastern spices and served on wooden skewers with creamy tzatziki sauce, tahini or a yogurt sauce. Many of the seasonings that make this dish so flavorful are pantry staples you most likely already have on hand.
why you'll love these ground beef kabobs
Instead of ground lamb, I'm using ground beef to make it a bit more cost-friendly and easier to source. Ground beef kebabs (or kabobs) are a simple meat mixture that is shaped into round, oblong patties, skewered, and cooked on a hot grill.
And while I'm always a big fan of tahini or yogurt sauce (try these harissa chicken thigh sheet pan dinner or my chicken shawarma plate), whipped feta is my dip of choice for these ground beef kabobs.
Here's why you'll love them:
- they make an easy, 30-minute meal that is healthy and flavorful
- they're low-carb, gluten-free and perfect for keto diets
- anything served on a stick is naturally more fun which means these beef kafta kabobs are kid-approved and family friendly 🙂
Middle Eastern spices are the key to delicious flavor in this Mediterranean ground beef kabob recipe. Cumin, cinnamon and allspice create a dreamy, seasoning trifecta that is impossible not to love.
A tip about the meat: I don't like to use lean ground beef because less fat usually means less flavor and the meat might end up a bit more dry. I recommend 85/15 grass-fed ground beef or similar.
Here's what you'll need to make these delicious beef kafta kabobs:
- Red onion- Half of it will be sliced to make pickled red onions while the other half will be chopped fine for the meat mixture. The pickled red onions aren't absolutely necessary, but they do add a yjmmy element that tastes great with the kabobs and whipped feta. To make them, you'll five minutes and a combination of sliced red onion, apple cider vinegar, water, liquid monk fruit, sea salt and peppercorns (optional).
- Ground beef- For juicy beef kebabs, use ground beef that is 85% lean and 15% fat. Anything more lean may result in kabobs that are a bit more dry.
- Garlic and fresh parsley- Fresh garlic cloves and chopped flat-leaf parsley infuse the meat with extra flavor.
- Spices- Where the magic's at. Along with salt and black pepper, you will need ground cumin, oregano, allspice, cinnamon and smoked paprika.
- Crushed pork rinds- Typically, beef koftas use bread crumbs to act as a binder and lighten up the meat mixture. To make these gluten-free and keto-friendly, I'm swapping in crushed pork rinds! They are a wonderful substitute for breadcrumbs (similar to my keto meatloaf recipe) and add a bit of extra flavor, too.
- Whipped feta- This easy dipping sauce is a mix of feta cheese, sour cream, olive oil and lemon juice. I like using a slab (or chunk) of feta, but feta crumbles will also work.
Mediterranean ground beef kabob recipe
Making these ground beef kabobs is quick and easy! You can even prepare them in advance and keep the shaped kabobs in the refrigerator until it's time to cook them.
The same goes for the pickled onions and the whipped feta- prepare them ahead of time to split up the process for an even speedier dinner prep.
Here are the steps for this Mediterranean ground beef kabob recipe (see the full recipe card for the ingredient amounts and all of the details):
Cut half the red onion into thin slices (set the other half aside to use later). Place the onion slices in a jar and add the vinegar, water, monk fruit, sea salt and peppercorns.
Chop or grate the other half of the red onion really fine, then combine the grated onion, ground beef, garlic, parsley, mint (if using), crushed pork rinds and spices in a large bowl.
Use your hands to mix the ground meat mixture well. Alternatively, you can mix everything in a food processor with a few pulses.
Press ¼-1/3 cup portions of the meat mixture around a metal grilling skewer in an oblong shape. The meat should feel secure and hold in place. Transfer them to a baking sheet to carry out to the grill.
Turn the grill to medium-high heat. Spray a bit of non-stick oil on the grates to prevent the meat beef kabobs from sticking. When hot, place the skewers on the grill. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, turning the skewer completely until the meat is done.
Combine the whipped feta ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse/blend until creamy, adding a bit more olive oil or lemon juice if needed to reach the right consistency. Transfer to a small bowl.
Serve the ground beef kabobs with the whipped feta and pickled onions. Chopped mint makes a great garnish for the whipped feta, too!
recipe tips for ground beef kabobs
- Cooking on the grill: I cook these on a gas grill over medium-high heat and they cook pretty quickly. Use barbecue tongs to turn the skewers every couple of minutes or so. A meat thermometer will help you get the kabobs to your desired internal temperature. For the best results, aim for a few degrees lower since residual heat will continue cooking the meat even after it's off the grill.
- For bamboo skewers: if you're using bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them in water for about 30 minutes before cooking the kabobs. This prevents them from burning on the grill.
- Cooking on the stovetop: this Mediterranean ground beef kabob recipe is also great for cooking the meat on the stovetop! If you'd prefer to pan-fry the kabobs instead, make sure to use bamboo skewers and a large cast iron skillet. Use sharp kitchen shears to cut the skewers down so they can easily fit into the skillet. Heat avocado oil or ghee in the skillet, then gently set each kabob into the pan, turning every couple of minutes to cook all sides.
- For a dairy-free version: Serve with tahini sauce instead of whipped feta. You can follow the recipe that's in my chicken shawarma plate post.
- Storing leftovers: Cooked kebabs will keep in the fridge for up to five days, stored in an airtight container or in a dish covered with plastic wrap. The whipped feta will keep a bit longer. Leftover pickled onions are good for at least a week and can be used on top of salads, wraps, and spreads.
This easy beef kofta recipe isn't authentic by any means, but it is inspired by traditional koftas. It makes a delicious and easy ground beef meal flavored with bold, Mediterranean spices.
If you try it and love it as much as I do, please consider leaving a five-star review in the recipe card below! You can also drop a comment or tag @stemandspoon on Instagram.
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- ½ large red onion, sliced thin (set aside other onion half for kabobs)
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns (optional)
- 5-10 drops liquid monk fruit, stevia or ½ teaspoon agave
ground beef kabobs
- 1-½ pounds grass-fed ground beef (preferably 85% lean)
- ½ red onion, chopped small or grated
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ⅓ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅓ cup crushed pork rinds (see notes)
- 4 ounces feta slab or chunk
- 3 tablespoons full-fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of one large lemon
- chopped mint for garnish (optional)
- Make the pickled red onions: Cut half the red onion into thin slices (set the other half aside to use later). Place the onion slices in a jar and add the apple cider vinegar, water, sea salt, peppercorns (if using) and your sweetener of choice. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the kabobs.
- Preheat the grill: Heat your grill to medium-high and brush or spray the grates with oil to prevent the meat from sticking. (To pan-fry the kabobs, see notes).
- Make the ground beef mixture: Chop or grate the other half of the red onion really fine. In a large bowl, combine the chopped onion with the ground beef, garlic, parsley, spices and crushed pork rinds. Use your hands to work the meat mixture and combine all of the ingredients really well.
- Form the beef kabobs: Scoop out ¼ or ⅓-cup portions of the meat mixture and use your hands to form the meat into an oblong shape. Press the skewer through the center of it and continue shaping the meat around the skewer until it feels secure and holds in place. Repeat with the rest of the meat and transfer your kabobs to a baking sheet to carry out to the grill.
- Grill the kabobs: Place each kabob on the grill. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes, turning the skewer completely until the meat is done. They should cook in about 8-10 minutes depending on how thick the kabobs are. You can use a meat thermometer to reach your desired temperature (for the best results, remove the skewers once they're a few degrees lower than your target temp since the residual heat will continue to cook them as they rest). When done, transfer the kabobs to a large plate or baking sheet. Let them rest for 5-7 minutes while you prepare the feta.
- Make the whipped feta: In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine the whipped feta ingredients. Pulse/blend until creamy, adding a bit more olive oil or lemon juice if needed to reach the right consistency. Transfer to a small serving bowl and garnish with pickled red onions and chopped mint.
- Serve: Enjoy the beef kabobs with the pickled onions on the side and the whipped feta as a dip.
- To make crushed pork rinds, place pork rinds in a ziploc bag and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to crush the rinds until they turn into crumbs. You can also do this in a food processor or high-speed blender.
- If using bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them in water for about 30 minutes before cooking the kabobs. This prevents them from burning on the grill.
- Cooking on the stovetop: You can cook these in a large cast iron skillet on the stovetop, too. Use sharp kitchen shears to trim the bamboo skewers so they can easily fit into the skillet. Heat some avocado oil or ghee in the skillet, then gently set each kabob into the pan, turning every couple of minutes to cook all sides.
- Nutritional info is for the beef kabobs only and doesn't include the pickled red onions or whipped feta.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 124Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2.5gCholesterol: 33.4mgSodium: 520mgCarbohydrates: 2.8gNet Carbohydrates: 2gFiber: .8gProtein: 15g