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Greek Meatballs in Pomegranate Sauce (Keftedes me Rodi)

Greek Meatballs in Pomegranate Sauce (Keftedes me Rodi)

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These Greek Meatballs in Pomegranate sauce, are perfect on any occasion.  They can be served as a main dish or an appetizer and if formed into small balls, they will be one of the best party foods, which will disappear in no time!

The Greek word for meatballs is Keftedes and I have posted other recipes for meatballs in the past.

I have written in the past about the Greek and Cypriot meatballs and what distinguishes each kind.  I have also written about the spicy meatballs, which are called Soutzoukakia Smyrneika, which come from Asia Minor, which are cooked in a rich, spicy tomato sauce.

These meatballs are served in a delicious pomegranate sauce but when pomegranates are not in season, you can make them in a tomato sauce and they are equally delicious!

Mixing minced meat image

Every family has its own keftedes recipe but I think the main ingredients which distinguish the Greek meatballs are the ground meat, which is usually veal or beef, the bread which is mixed with the ground meat to make them soft inside and the Greek herbs: oregano or dill, garlic and parsley which give them their flavour.

Shaping meatballs keftedes image

Ancient Greeks and Romans used to eat them and food historian Francine Segan has included them in her book In Philosopher’s Kitchen: Recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome for the Modern Cook.

Pomegranate seeds image

In this book there is a recipe Meatballs in pomegranate sauce.

Pomegranate juice image

I have tried to find the original recipe, as given in the book but the only recipe I found was one in Group Recipes which had a mention to this book, so I have borrowed the sauce from there but again I did not stick to the recipe.

Meatballs cooking in pomegranate sauce image

This is my entrée for Hey! Get cooking, Offer Seth Godin great Meatball recipes? hosted by Serge, at Serge the Concierge.

Collage meatballs in pomegranate sauce image

Greek Meatballs keftedes with pomegranate image

Keftedes me Rodi (Meatballs in Pomegranate Sauce)

Yield: 60
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

These Greek Keftedes me Rodi (Meatballs with Pomegranate Sauce) are perfect on any occasion and if formed into small balls, they will be the hit of your next party!


  • 1 kilo mixed ground pork and beef
  • 1 cup of soaked bread (crust removed before soaking) and squeezed to remove water
  • 1 onion, blended with 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ cup of minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint or ¼ cup minced fresh mint
  • 1/4 tablespoon dried dill or 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder or 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Flour for dredging (about 1 cup)
  • Olive oil for frying

For the sauce

  • 1 cup of dry red wine
  • Seeds of 2 pomegranates, reserve 2 tablespoons of seeds and the rest make into juice (about 100 ml)
  • 1/2 tablespoonful ground nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 - 8 plums, pitted and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour


  1. Grate the onion on a box grater or puree it in a food processor. If it does not puree easily add a tbsp of olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the ground meat with the bread, eggs, onion, garlic, oregano, mint, parsley, dill, and salt and pepper.
  3. Refrigerate for half an hour.
  4. Form into oval or round meatballs.
  5. In a large skillet, fry the meatballs in the olive oil over medium heat, turning them so that they cook on all sides.
  6. Remove the meatballs from the skillet and cover to keep them warm while you make the pomegranate sauce.
  7. Add the wine to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up the brown bits from frying pan; boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  8. Cut the pomegranates in half and reserve 2 tablespoonful of seeds.
  9. Very gently squeeze each half of the pomegranate until you get 1/4 cup of juice (watch out for splashes as pomegranate juice stains!).
  10. Add the juice to the skillet with the nutmeg, bay leaf, and plum slices. Continue to cook on high heat until the plum slices are soft.
  11. Dissolve the flour in the milk and add it to the sauce.  
  12. Stir for 3 - 4 minutes or until the sauce becomes thick.
  13. Return the meatballs to the pan and toss with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  14. Garnish with the reserved pomegranate seeds and serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

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JennDZ - The Leftover Queen

Monday 14th of January 2008

This recipe for keftedes sounds great. I love the use of pomegranate in unexpected places.


Monday 14th of January 2008

Yes Laurie we liked them very much but i'd say they do not taste like the Cypriot meatballs. I'd say like the regular meatballs but with a nice sauce but neither sweet and sour as Peter says.

Laurie Constantino

Monday 14th of January 2008

Did you like this, Ivy? How does it compare with your regular keftedes? It looks quite interesting.

Peter M

Sunday 13th of January 2008

I'm quite pleased with seeing this dish. I like the "xyno-gliko" nature of this sauce.

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