Meat ‘Diamonds’


Meat 'Diamonds'

Meat ‘Diamonds’

Earlier in the year I was talking to the other parents at the school bus stop about dinner (my favourite topic!).

One of the Dads was feeling guilty because he had bought some pre-prepared meat balls. He said he loves meatballs but all the touching and rolling was just too fiddly.

So when I came across a recipe for lamb kibbeh in David Tannis latest book, I realized I’d found the meatball solution!

Instead of rolling the mixture into individual balls, why not just press it into the base of a dish and cut it into diamonds (or squares).

All the deliciousness of meatballs without the mess!

Love it when a plan comes together.

These meat ‘diamonds’ sound much nicer than meat ‘squares’ don’t you think?

My mum would definitely approve given she was of the school of thought that small lumps of highly compressed carbon were a girl’s best friend’.

I should also give David Tannis credit for the idea of using the onions and pine nuts as a sauce.

Simple and a nice change from the knee-jerk meatball accompaniment of tomato based sauce.

Enough for: 3
Takes: 30 minutes
Net Carbs: 17g / serve

500g (1lb) minced (ground) beef or lamb
150g (5oz) almond meal
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 small onions, peeled and sliced into half moon slices
2 tablespoons pine nuts, roasted
green salad or ‘best ever’ tabbouleh, to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). In a medium bowl combine meat, almond meal and cumin with a few pinches salt until just mixed through. Line a rectangular or square oven proof dish or tin with baking paper (mine is 23x18cm / 9x7in) or grease well. Press the meat into the base of your dish. Using a sharp knife score on the diagonal to make little diamond shapes.

2. Bake for 20 minutes or until meat is well browned on top and no longer pink in the middle.

3. While the meat is cooking, heat a medium frying pan or saucepan on a medium heat. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil and cook sliced onion, covered for about 10 minutes or until onion is soft and golden brown. Stir every few minutes and if the onion is starting to burn, reduce the heat and add a little more oil and a splash of water.

4. When the meat is cooked, spread cooked onions over the top and sprinkle over pine nuts.

5. Chop ‘diamonds’ as you see fit and serve with salad / tabbouleh on the side.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Variations & Substitutions

pantry-friendly – serve with steamed or pan fried frozen greens.

short on time – increase oven temp to 250C (480F) and reduce cooking time to 12-15 minutes. Skip the onion.

keto / ultra low carb – skip the onion.

vegetarian – serve the onion and pine nuts with scrambled eggs, fried eggs, cooked chickpeas and hummus or cooked lentils.

nut-free – replace almond meal with extra meat or soft bread crumbs. Cooked grains like rice, barley or quinoa are an option if you don’t mind the carbs. Or just skip it.

more substantial (carb lovers) – wrap in warm pita or serve with roast or boiled spuds or cooked rice.

more substantial (low carb) – divide between two people or serve with a more substantial low carb vegetable dish like some Broccoli with Addictive Walnut Crumbs or some Almond Hummus.

Low FODMAP – skip the onion or replace with lactose-free yoghurt or a tomato based sauce.

different vegetables – feel free to use any cooked veg instead of the onion. Grilled or roast peppers, eggplant (aubergine), zucchini (courgettes) or mushrooms would be my first choices.

different protein – any ground meat such as pork, chicken or turkey will also work.

different spice – add a few teaspoons Stonesoup spice (equal parts coriander, cumin and smoked paprika) or try coriander or paprika on their own. Spice blends like baharat or ras el hanout will be delicious too.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

minced (ground) beef or lamb – freeze it.

almond meal / ground cumin / pine nuts – keep them in the pantry.

onion – will keep in the pantry for months. Best if in a dark corner in a brown paper bag.

salad leaves – are highly perishable. My first path would be to use them for another meal (salad for breakfast!) but if that isn’t possible you can pop them in the freezer. They will wilt down but can then be used anywhere you’d use wilted greens.

tabbouleh – will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. Best to eat with another meal.

Prepare Ahead

Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the pine nuts and salad separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, warm in the oven 200C / 400F for 10-15 minutes.

Meat 'Diamonds'-2

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane Grosvenor February 14, 2020

Loved this one! Meatballs are a favourite but oh so fussy to make, as is another favourite of mine – kibbeh in the middle eastern style. I combined your brilliant diamonds with a twist of my own – I split my meat mixture (with a little salt worked through first) in half; used half to line a Swiss roll tin, then scattered middle eastern Zatter spice mix across the meat together with pine nuts and finely chopped shallots. Then I used the other half of the meat to create a top layer, cut into diamonds and baked as you did. It got the family seal of approval both hot and cold. Great idea thank you!


jules February 14, 2020

Oh yay Jane!

Excellent work on making this your own 🙂


Leave a Comment