Meatballs With Walnut Sauce

Meatballs With Walnut Sauce

Walnuts inform much of the Sephardic cooking of Thessaloniki. This meatball with walnut sauce recipe called Keftes de Nogada is surprisingly simple yet a very delicious and satisfying way to serve one of the world’s great comfort foods. It is a classic of Thessaloniki’s Sephardic community.
20 min
25 min


  • 1 ½ pounds 750 g lean ground beef
  • 3 bread slices
  • 1 small onion finely grated
  • 1 egg
  • Extra virgin Greek olive oil as needed
  • 2 cups of flour, or as needed for dredging the meatballs
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 3 cups breadcrumbs or grated rusks
  • 1 and ¾ cup 200 g shelled walnuts, coarsely ground
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Cut away the crusts and soak the bread in water for a few seconds. Squeeze dry and crumble. In a large mixing bowl combine the ground meat, dampened, squeezed breadcrumbs, grated onion, egg and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper and knead well.
  2. Shape the meat mixture into balls, about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Spread flour onto a large flat plate, season it lightly with salt and pepper, and lightly dredge the meatballs in the seasoned flour.
  3. Heat 3 inches of olive oil or other oil such as canola or corn oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat and slide the meatballs into the hot oil. Fry them gently, turning once or twice with a spatula or kitchen tongs to brown on all sides.
  4. In a separate pan combine water, parsley, breadcrumbs, walnuts and 1 cup of olive oil and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs to the walnut-parsley broth and gently stir. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Let them simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens further and is the consistency of loose oatmeal. Serve warm.

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