Greek-style meatballs in cinnamon-scented tomato sauce

Total Time
1 hr 6 min
20 min
46 min
Cinnamon combines beautifully with the flavors of garlic, onions and tomatoes in this dish. Bulgur is wheat kernels that have been steamed, dried, and crushed. It is a staple in the Middle East and most often enjoyed in this country in tabbouleh salad. Bulgur is found in supermarkets and health-food stores in fine, medium, and coarse grinds. It is employed here as a tasty filler for the meatballs, where medium- or coarse-grained bulgur works best.


Uncooked ground pork

1 pound(s), lean, (10% or less fat)

Uncooked bulgur

½ cup(s)

Fresh parsley

½ cup(s), flat-leaf, chopped

Uncooked red onion(s)

1 large, chopped


3 medium clove(s), minced

Regular liquid egg substitute

¼ cup(s)

Ground cumin

1 tsp

Table salt

1 tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp, freshly ground

Uncooked string beans

1 pound(s), fresh, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Olive oil

4 tsp, extra-virgin

Plum tomato(es)

14½ cup(s), can, Italian, broken up

Canned tomato sauce

8 oz


1 cup(s)

Cinnamon stick(s)

1 average, (4-inch)

Cooked orzo

2 cup(s), hot


  1. Combine the pork, bulgur, parsley, half of the onion, one-third of the garlic, the egg substitute, cumin, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1⁄8 teaspoon of the pepper in a bowl. Knead the mixture well, then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Shape the meat mixture into 30 walnut-size meatballs.
  2. Half-fill a large deep skillet with water; bring to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Drain the green beans, then plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking; drain and set aside. Wipe the skillet dry.
  3. Heat the oil in skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is golden, 7–10 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the tomato sauce, water, cinnamon stick, the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper, and the meatballs to the skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the green beans and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick. Serve the meatballs and sauce over the orzo. Yelds 5 meatballs with 1 cup sauce and 1/3 cup orzo per serving.