Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Recipe for Middle Eastern Spicy Ground Beef with Baharat Seasoning, Mint, and Cilantro

Middle Eastern Spicy Ground Beef with Baharat, Mint, and Cilantro
Middle Eastern Spicy Ground Beef with Baharat, Mint, and Cilantro; I loved this with some fat-free Greek yogurt on top.

When I posted the recipe for Effie's Easy and Amazing Cottage Cheese Salad with Za'atar, I shared how a reader from Israel named Effie had sent me a lovely box of middle eastern spices.  One of the things in the box was Baharat Seasoning, and this Spicy Middle Eastern Ground Beef was the first recipe I tried using it.  I found a lot of recipes and online sources to get the Baharat Seasoning (which I'll share after the recipe) so don't be discouraged from trying this if you don't have it in your spice rack.  I really liked this dish, which I ate over whole wheat couscous and with a generous dollop of fat-free Greek yogurt on top.  Thanks again Effie for introducing me to something new!

I started with this recipe for Spicy Ground Meat with Baharat, which I changed just a little.  The recipe starts with a spice paste that uses a lot of spices, some in very small amounts, and I'm guessing that if you didn't have every single one of those you could get by with the spices you have on hand, but don't skip the Baharat Seasoning which is stirred in at the end.  It seems like Baharat is a mixture like curry powder where ingredients can vary.  Most versions I found had lots of black pepper and either hot paprika or other hot peppers though, and you'll want to check the spices on the mixture you use or make and add more or less of it in this recipe to taste, depending on how much heat you like. 

Mix together the coriander, cumin, cardamom, caraway, and turmeric with enough water to make a paste.

Here's the Baharat Seasoning I got from Effie, so you can see what it looks like.

Cook the couscous according to package directions.  I loved this with Whole Wheat Couscous, but you could also eat it over brown rice or quinoa if you prefer.

Heat the oil and saute the onion, garlic, and ginger until the onions are softened.

Then add the spice paste and saute for about 2-3 minutes more.  (Don't skip this step!)  Remove the seasoned onions to a bowl, but don't wipe out the pan.

Add the ground beef and cooked until it's nicely browned, breaking apart with the back of the turner as it cooks.

Then add the petite dice tomatoes and seasoned onions and simmer until the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are well-softened.

Stir in the Baharat seasoning and cook 2-3 minutes, then add the chopped mint and cilantro and turn off heat.  Serve the spice meat over couscous, rice, or quinoa.

Middle Eastern Spicy Ground Beef with Baharat Seasoning, Mint, and Cilantro
(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe adapted from Spicy Ground Meat with Baharat from The Spice House.)

Spice Paste Ingredients:
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground caraway
1 tsp. ground turmeric

1 T vegetable oil (I used Grapeseed Oil)
1 cup finely minced onion
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced ginger root
1 1/4 lb. extra lean ground beef (I used beef with 7% fat)
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes
2 tsp. Baharat Seasoning (or to taste; some versions of this mixture are quite spicy so check your package)
2-3 T chopped fresh cilantro
2-3 T chopped fresh mint
couscous, rice, or quinoa for serving (I served it over Whole Wheat Couscous.)
fat-free Greek yogurt for serving, if desired

Start cooking the couscous, rice, or quinoa according to package directions.  Mix together the ground coriander, ground cumin, ground cardamom, ground caraway, and ground turmeric with enough water to make a paste and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, add the onion, garlic, and ginger, lower heat to medium and saute until the onions are starting to soften, about 8 minutes.  Add the spice paste mixture and saute 2-3 minutes more, until the spices are fragrant.  Remove the seasoned onions to a bowl, but don't wipe out the pan.

Add the ground beef and increase heat to medium-high.  Cook beef, breaking apart with the back of the turner, until the meat is cooked through and nicely browned.  Lower heat to medium and add the canned tomatoes with juice and the seasoned onions.  Let simmer about 20 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are well-softened.  

Stir in the Baharat seasoning and cook 2-3 minutes more.  Add the chopped cilantro and chopped meat and turn off heat.  Serve the spicy meat over couscous, brown rice, or quinoa, topped with a dollop of fat-free Greek yogurt if desired.

I haven't tried freezing the meat mixture, but my guess is that this freezes well, especially if you freeze it without the cilantro and mint and add those when you serve it.

Recipes and Sources for Baharat Seasoning:
Baharat Seasoning Recipe from The Kitchn
Baharat Seasoning Recipe from Wikipedia
Baharat Seasoning Recipe from Eat With Me
Buy Baharat from The Spice House

South Beach Suggestions:
This recipe would be suitable for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet if eaten over couscous, rice, or quinoa.  You could eat the meat inside lettuce leaves or over vegetables for phase one.  It's important to use ground beef with less than 10% fat if you're making this for South Beach.

More Ideas for Using Baharat Seasoning:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Turkish Chickpea Stew with Squash, Potatoes, and Baharat from One Perfect Bite
Beef Meatball, Olive, and Lemon "Tajine" with Tehineh Sauce from An Open Cupboard
Kasha Pilaf with Dates, Pistachios, and Baharat from Herbivoracious
Tunisian Stuffed Potatoes from Israeli Kitchen
Braised Baharat Chicken from Eat With Me
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. There's really little i love more than middle eastern spice blends. I'm going to have to try this one out on some lentils or chickpeas!

  2. Effie definitely gave you some wonderful spice blends to play with. This is one I would happily sprinkle into any soup or stew.

  3. I love baharat, and I'm lucky to have a Middle Eastern market in Boston where I can buy it. How lovely to have a reader who sends you spices!

  4. I love this style of mince. I have not heard of this spice before but I will keep a look out for it. It sounds interesting.

  5. Hi Kayln! Although I never commented, I love your site and have been a follower for Years!
    I wanted to say that the Baharat spice mixture is different depending on what region your from. My family is Palestinian and came from Jordan. The 7 Spice Mixture we use is Allspice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove, Black Pepper, Cumin and Coriander. I know in Syria they add Paprika. Anyways, Thanks for a Great and Creative Site to Stop by at(Love your work and ideas). Have a Great Day!

  6. Joanne, I would love this seasoning on chickpeas.

    Dara, I am having fun with the spices!

    Lydia, I need to explore the middle eastern markets here a bit more.

    Thanks Barbara! It was very tasty.

    Jessen, thanks for sharing that. I did notice a few different variations of it when I was searching for recipes.

  7. Looks great! I make something close to this but add kidney beans or chickpeas and add some moisture (tomato sauce or chicken broth or whatever) to make it more stew-like. I have never thought of adding mint though. I also make my own baharat with a recipe I got from and tweeked to my own liking:
    2 tablespoons ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons paprika
    2 tablespoons ground cumin
    1 tablespoon ground coriander
    2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    My husband is Arab and he approves! :)

  8. hi Kalyn,
    i love your blog. just subscribed to get your posts in my email. i got you through Damaris' blog.
    hugs from england, Kalina

  9. Hi Kalina, and welcome! Hope you enjoy the recipes.

  10. I am totally into anything spicy lately. This sounds like a great way to mix it up!

  11. This looks delicious. I love middle eastern flavors. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Thanks Deborah!

    Jo, glad you like it.

  13. I made my second batch of this last night. I love it. My local health food store carried baharat, but I couldn't find it at the larger grocery chain.

  14. This was DELICIOUS! My wife and I really enjoyed it. I made my own Baharat spice blend and served with yogurt. We can't stop raving about it! Thank you so much! (we served it with whole wheat naan)

  15. I was looking for a quick and easy substitute for our usual "tofu egg sandwich" recipe, and I wanted to use a Baharat seasoning mix I bought several months ago. I saw this recipe and thought the tofu would be a good substitute for ground beef. In a hurry, I used ground ginger, onion, and garlic instead of fresh, and left out the tomatoes and other additions. I sauteed all the spices together for a couple minutes, then added the crumbled tofu and mixed it in well, then let it cook several minutes. When finished, I added the Baharat, some salt, and a little cayenne for a kick. Mixed in (yes... this is a sandwich spread!!!) Vegenaise to help hold it together for sandwiches, and voila!! The perfect Middle Eastern egg salad sandwich spread. It was delicious!! Thanks for the recipe idea!!

  16. Linda, love how you adapted it!

  17. Kalyn, I just made this recipe for the first time and we LOVE it! The spice blend is beautiful and our little dog was literally dancing around my feet while I was cooking. Yes, she likes it too.


  18. Judith, so glad you all enjoyed it!


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