Kofta Ground Beef Bowl with Garlic Tzatziki

All the delicious flavors of a Kofta kabob without all the hard work! This Kofta Ground Beef Bowl with Garlic Tzatziki is full of flavor and ready in thirty minutes.

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My husband and I have a standing weekly tradition of ordering out from our favorite local Mediterranean restaurant, but it always gets me thinking about recreating these meals at home. 

While he gets the shawarma every single time, I love to try out different things but probably order the Kofta kabob more than anything else. I just love the intensely spiced meat covered with creamy tzatziki and served with a fresh Israeli salad

However, whenever I think about making this dish at home, I usually shy away because I don't feel like making the kabobs. That was until I realized that I could skip the kabob part altogether and make a ground beef version instead. It's got all the same spices just without the extra step of making and grilling the kabob. It's so easy and if you love Mediterranean food, these will quickly become a favorite.

These Kofta bowls are also great for meal prep since everything can be prepped in packed away for lunch. 

What is Kofta?

Kofta, which is sometimes spelled kefta, is a Middle Eastern ground meat kebab that is cooked on a skewer over a hot grill. Usually, kofta is made with ground lamb seasoned with cumin, coriander, parsley, mint, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and allspice. It's then formed into flattened meatballs or strips and placed on skewers. Once they are cooked, they are traditionally served with flatbread, pita bread, yogurt, garlic, or tahini dressing.

Ingredients and Easy Swaps

  • Ground beef: You can use any type of ground meat in this recipe. Try it with ground turkey, as it is just as lean.
  • Spices: This is what really sets the recipe apart from other meat and rice dishes. I used a combination of parsley, cumin, coriander, dried mint, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and allspice. They are earthy and slightly spicy herbs that will light up your mouth with flavor.
  • Garlic Cloves: For this recipe, go with fresh garlic cloves. Dried garlic powder will not have the same taste when you cook it.
  • Homemade tzatziki: Although kofta is traditionally served with garlic sauce or tahini, I love it with yogurt sauce. This tzatziki is made with Greek yogurt, cucumber, lemon, and garlic, It's the perfect pairing. Feel free to swap for store-bought if you don't want to make your own.

Side Dishes for Kofta

The most common side dishes for Kofta kabobs and bowls are white or saffron rice, roasted tomatoes, hummus, and salad. With that said, this bowl works with so many different side dishes. Here are some ideas:

  • Since this is a bowl, this is delicious over cauliflower rice, brown rice, or lentils.
  • If you prefer something light, serve this over a bed of greens with chopped cucumber, red onion, and tomato. 
  • This makes a delicious wrap or pita sandwich. Simply add the ground beef, tzatziki, chopped vegetables, and greens. 
The Recipe
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Kofta Ground Beef Bowl with Garlic Tzatziki

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  • 2 U Persian cucumbers
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 U garlic clove
  • 1 U Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 U lemon, juice
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1.33 lbs. 95% lean ground beef
  • 2 U garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • Salt and pepper

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To make the tzatziki: Use a box grater to grate the cucumber. Sprinkle with salt and let rest for 20 minutes. The salt will remove some of the moisture. Using a paper towel or cheesecloth, squeeze out as much moisture as you can from the cucumber. Meanwhile, using the back of your knife and a pinch of salt, crush the garlic into a paste. Once the cucumbers are ready, mix in the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic, oregano, pepper, and salt if needed. Stir and refrigerate.


For the beef: Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and all of the spiced and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes until meat is just cooked through. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 more minutes.


To assemble the bowls: Choose your favorite grain or cauliflower rice. Top with ground beef and garlic tzatziki. Then add your favorite cooked or fresh vegetables. I like to serve mine with a Israeli salad.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz. beef and 1/4 cup tzatziki
Amount Per Serving
Calories 297
Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 94mg
Sodium 569mg
Total Carbohydrate 8g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 3g
Protein 39g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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