Chicken balls with spaghetti al-pesto

June 27, 2010  •  Category:


I am in the attic of this grocery store in the village of Deir el-Qamar and using their wireless internet; I mention out loud that I am thinking of spending a week in Greece later this summer; a boy of about 10 (at the most) turns around and tells me (in English)  ”  go to Cyprus, they have better beaches than Greece”; then Andrew my English cousin says ” Go to Napflion, and stay at the Palace Hotel there”.

Tonight is the Germany/England game and everybody in town is cheering for Germany; through a local friend, I got my cousin’s boys (22 and 24) choice seating at the café in the townsquare; they are going to be so overwhelmed by the loud and boisterous support for Germany, but being quintessential English and very cool, they will bear it very well.

The most popular cookbook these days in Lebanon is by an Armenian lady by the name of Anaheed; this recipe is extracted from her book and prepared by darling Eva. We have a robust basil bush growing outside by the kitchen and Eva got inspired.


  • 2 pounds of chicken breasts
  • salt, white pepper, allspice to taste
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, preferably mashed with a bit of salt in a mortar
  • 1 large onion chopped fine
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
  • 10 ounces of mozzarella, shredded


  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor (without the cheese) and process till pasty.
  2. Mix in the mozzarella; heat some oil in a saucepan; form the meatballs and fry until cooked, about 5 minutes.
  3. Serve with spaghetti al-pesto.


52 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    A yummy dish! That is one perfect combo!



  2. anncoo says:

    This looks more like a Chinese fried noodle to me. Sounds easy and yummy!

  3. momgateway says:

    what a creative way to use basil leaves…I have some in my garden right now….

  4. 12th Man says:

    Have fun at the match!

  5. Jamie says:

    Fabulous meal! And glad to hear that everybody is in the football spirit. Serve me up a plate of these chicken balls and pasta al pesto!

  6. Jen_from_NJ says:

    Your take on spaghetti and meatballs looks fantastic – healthy too! Enjoy your travels wherever they may bring you!

  7. Lyndsey says:

    According to the title I thought “chicken balls” would be smaller than than! Sorry I couldn’t resist 😀
    Kidding aside, these look great and would be easy to whip up. Perfect for munching on while watching football! My basil is looking a little sorry, now my rosemary is another story.

    Should be interesting for your cousins, have fun!

  8. Ivy says:

    The chicken balls sound delicious with mozarella. I make them very often without the cheese and bake them in the oven and they sound wonderful with the pesto.
    What a coincidence. We go to Nafplion very often as it is my favourite place in Peloponese. We spent part of our vacations there last year both in Nafplion and Tolo and we are also planning to visit again this week.

  9. Tim Vidra says:

    These and your travels sound and look amazing.

    Safe Travels

  10. Susan says:

    I saw another recipe with chicken meatballs recently and I am so inspired to try them after seeing this recipe! They sound perfect with the pasta and pesto.

    Good luck to your eardrums and favorite team tonight 😉

  11. deana says:

    I just love non-re meat meatballs. With herby goodness they are lighter and so nummy… Love the basil and mozzarella combination and anything I can toss in the processor and be ready to go and I am a happy camper!

  12. Sushma Mallya says:

    lovely recipe,would love to try it soon…

  13. fimère says:

    très appétissantes ces boulettes qui accompagnent à merveilles l’assiette de pâtes
    bonne soirée

  14. Angie's Recipes says:

    I like your cheesy chicken balls..I am bookmarking it to try.

    Now I am ready for the match between Mexico and Argentina!


  15. Patty Price says:

    I am really enjoying following your travels and all your recipes, great photos too!

  16. Kerstin says:

    Mmm, this looks so tasty and comforting! Hope you enjoy the game!

  17. Vanessa says:

    It’s funny all these travel tips; I wonder where you’ll end up. Your pictures and recipes are always so fresh and inspiring. I love pasta and the colours in this one. We’re expecting a heatwave from tomorrow so not having the oven on too much seems like a priority and I’d rather make this.

  18. Magdalena says:

    I would love to have this pasta with balls, now! I was preparing some salads (for the press) for the whole day but I miss sth warm and meaty…:)
    Have a nice evening.

    P.S. I do not watch Mundial. I do not like football….

  19. Faith says:

    I’ve got a huge basil plant growing on my patio…can’t wait to make this! I love the idea of chicken balls; I make turkey balls pretty often but never chicken, so I’d love to make it!

  20. Lentil Breakdown says:

    Funny how every village now has wireless. Love the story of the little boy!

  21. SYLVIA says:

    Joumana, I am sure your cousins boys are thrilled that Germany won, the game was high paced and exiting. There’s nothing better than watching the game with friends, cheering, and chowing down on some tasty food This dish is simple and satisfying, and it will cook easily and entertain the my guests while I am watching soccer, chicken meatballs are a perfect complement for the pasta, I liked how you added the cheese, and that’s oozing out of the meatballs. Anaheeds name is popping up in the food world everywhere, and has series of cookbooks. Thank you Eva and Joumana, for your entertaing recipes.

  22. Lea Ann says:

    This recipe is a “must try” for me. Looks absolutely delicious. Thanks for sending along the recipe.

  23. Heavenly Housewife says:

    Wonderful dish, I’m always looking for new and interesting ways of using ground chicken 🙂

  24. citronetvanille says:

    Oh je vois que tu as trouvé des recettes de pâtes pour ton papa :o) aucun doute qu’il va adorer ces spaghetti!

  25. Sook says:

    Those chicken balls look scrumptious!

  26. The Gypsy Chef says:

    You must be on Holiday. How nice. It sounds wonderful.
    The meatballs look delicious, I could use a plate of this RIGHT NOW!
    Have a wonderful time!

  27. Barbara Bakes says:

    Looks like a great meal! I’ve always dreamed of going to Greece. I’ll be interested in hearing more about your travels.

  28. Pj says:

    a delicious and healthy chicken dish!

  29. noobcook says:

    lovely combination 🙂

  30. tigerfish says:

    Sounds easy to make. Good inspiration for me 🙂

  31. Katerina says:

    Let me just give you some numbers to have an idea about Greece’s beaches. The country has the 10th longest coastline in the world(14.880 km) and has 1,400 islands. As you can understand the alternatives are modetately numerous. There are beaches for all tastes. If you wish I can suggest to you a few I consider to be among the best we have. Nafplion is a very beautiful city (it was the first capital of Greece after the country’s liberation from ottoman empire) but its beach is not considered to be on of the best. Anyway back to food, I have never tried chicken balls but I love chicken and they look very tempting.

  32. Priya says:

    Tempting and great looking meal..

  33. Katie says:

    We love meatballs – and I rescued my basil (I hope) from the cold damage of last week…. I can make these! Great recipe! Germany won….. but you know that!

  34. Barbara says:

    Amazingly simple recipe to make, Joumana! And it looks delish. Loving your travels!

  35. elra says:

    Delectable dish Joamana! apparently, vacation doesn’t stop you from cooking, huh? I like that.

  36. 12th Man says:

    Tough match for England. Is it just me, or has this been the most poorly officiated World Cup in ages?

    • Joumana says:

      I will have to ask the Will and Nick, the English cousins; they watched the next match with Argentina and now are watching yet another; I have better things to do (like blogging)

  37. Claudia says:

    Loving the addition of the chicken for more protein. This is a fun way to enliven my regular pesto. The travel tips are a hoot.I wish I coiuld guide you to the best beaches in Greece!

  38. sophia says:

    I watched the game between Germany and England. Dang, Germany killed them! They really are so good, and powerful. Probably because they eat such great food!

  39. Sophie says:

    Recently, I made similar meatballs. I posted them not yet!! I so love this tasty meat balls & pasta!

  40. Suman Singh says:

    chicken balls and spaghetti looks delicious..yummie..

  41. grace says:

    i enjoy meatballs and i enjoy chicken so there’s no reason to think that i wouldn’t love this meal. those patches of mozzarella would be particularly terrific. 🙂

  42. Erica says:

    That sounds and looks really good.. will try it 🙂

  43. Mimi says:

    Something new and tasty to serve with pesto.

  44. Oui, Chef says:

    YUM. By the time I get home from my travels, my basil bush should be able to support making this tasty looking meal. Pesto pasta has always been a favorite with the kids, and who doesn’t like meatballs? – S

  45. A Canadian Foodie says:

    Quite a contrast in images from the ancient village to the modern city at sunset! Love this recipe. Sounds easy and tasty and different. Who ever has enough meatball recipes? Not me!

  46. 3hungrytummies says:

    Nice simple one dish meal especially when you are using freshly picked basil from the garden for the pesto!

  47. FOODESSA says:

    Joumana…forget the travel advice you’ve been given…here’s my tip:
    A few years ago I went to the island of Naxos which I enjoyed very much. However…I found paradise on a little island of 200 habitants called ‘Koufonissi’…a 20 minute boat ride from lively Naxos. You’ll never forget the diamond waters and the warmth of its people. I would return any time ;o)

    Thanks for keeping up to date with your great tasty recipes.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  48. Grapefruit says:

    Now where have I heard of Anahid? The fatafeat channel maybe?
    It’s so wonderful how you keep up with your blogging while you’re traveling & help us discover all these simple yet wonderful recipes.
    Enjoy the Germany-Argentina match tomorrow!

  49. brand shoes says:

    The fatafeat channel maybe?

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