Judith Hausman
April 3, 2013

Photo by Judith Hausman

These easy meat patties resemble falafel.

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The beginning of last week was Passover (while the end was Easter), so I turned to the Jewish cookbooks on my shelf. My family usually prefers the tried-and-true traditional dishes, but I still like to poke around for some new-to-me recipes. One of my favorite resources is a slim volume of recipes from the Sephardic (or Spanish-Portuguese-North African) Jewish community.

Since I was looking for a light, seasonal dish, I stopped at this recipe for easy meat patties, which incorporates chopped spinach or other early greens to stretch and lighten the meat. The finished patties resemble falafel, which is made from mashed chickpeas, but a big meatloaf shape is fine, too, and quicker than the patties. You can use ground lamb, seemingly more logical than beef for Mediterranean cuisine, and flour or regular dried breadcrumbs for the coating, instead of the matzoh meal I used. I also experimented by baking them as I do falafel, but I must admit they are more typically fried, or at least pan-fried. 

An apple or mint chutney is a good condiment for the meat patties and so is hot sauce. Frankly, I have a weakness for ketchup with any sort of beef. Turkish or Greek-style cucumber, red pepper or eggplant salads would be geographically correct sides. Unfortunately, none of these vegetables is local here in New York’s Hudson Valley! Maybe give my carrot-radish salad a try instead. 

Spinach-Meat Patties

Yield: 12 patties


  • 6 to 8 ounces fresh spinach leaves, washed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or lamb
  • 1 egg, beaten
  •  juice of a lemon half
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour, breadcrumbs or matzoh meal


Combine chopped spinach, meat, seasoning, cumin and egg. Shape into patties, about 2 1/2 inches wide. The patties tend to fall apart, so coat them generously with breadcrumbs, flour or matzoh meal. Place patties on an oiled baking sheet (you can also use a little olive oil spray on them), and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, turning once. Or, heat a quarter-inch of cooking oil in a medium sauté pan. Sauté the patties gently until browned on both sides. Drain on paper towel or brown paper. 

You might also enjoy these Locavore Recipes:


Chickpea Tomato Rosemary Soup

Read more of Locavore Recipes »

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