This cevapi recipe for skinless sausages is a unique Balkan dish. Made with a variety of meats and a handful of herbs and spices, serve it on pita with a side of fries for a fun weeknight dinner idea.
If you’ve never tried Balkan cuisine, man, are you missing out! It’s delicious, convivial, and easy to prepare (and eat!). Some of my favorites include this cheesy Georgian bread, otherwise known as khachapuri, and these chebureki (meat hand pies). Most recipes feature meat and spices and are hearty. It makes sense — the Balkan region tends to get very cold in the wintertime!
You can try out this cevapi recipe any time of year. Cevapi are skinless sausages, which simply means that they are sausages without a casing. You prepare them yourself by hand and they are so easy to make. The secret to their goodness? The ample serving of garlic. You’ll need three cloves for this recipe!
I like to eat mine in my homemade whole wheat pita (khubz) or an Armenian flatbread called lavash. Serve with some Serbian ajvar relish, or skordalia (potato and garlic dip), and a roasted red pepper dip called Muhamara and you’ve got yourself a complete meal!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Ground Beef - This is one-half of the meat base for this dish. Opt for a lean cut to prevent your sausages from drying out.
- Ground Lamb Or Pork - Traditionally, this recipe is made with beef, lamb, and pork, and others feature just lamb and pork. Choose whatever combination works best for your preferences.
- Garlic - The key to this dish! Don’t skimp out on the garlic as it lends much to the flavor of the skinless sausages.
- Sweet Paprika - This warm and sweet spice will add a lot of flavor to this recipe when paired with the garlic.
- Salt - Essential to most savory recipes!
- Baking Soda - This unexpected ingredient will ensure that your meat stays tender as it cooks.
- Black Pepper - For just a bit more added heat.
HOW TO MAKE CEVAPI BALKAN SKINLESS SAUSAGES
1. Mix The Ingredients. Add all of your cevapi recipe ingredients to a large bowl and mix. Cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours. If you can leave it overnight, all the better!
2. Form The Sausages. You can form your sausages with your hands. Use about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture per sausage and shape them into 3-inch long tubes.
3. Grill Your Sausages. Before you get started, make sure that your grill is clean. Heat it to 400°F, or you can use a grill pan on your stovetop heated to medium-high instead. Spray the surface with cooking spray and cook the sausages for 3-4 minutes on each side.
4. Serve And Enjoy. Remove the sausages from the grill or stovetop and place in a warm bread of choice, like the pita or lavash linked above. Add in the suggested sauces (ajvar is my favorite) as well as sliced onions and tomatoes. Serve with fries or salad to make a full meal out of it!
Is Cevapi Serbian Or Bosnian?
This dish originated in Bosnia but can be found throughout the Balkan peninsula. This dish has been around for hundreds of years. You know what they say — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! There are a few different variations of this dish out there: some are made with pork, beef, and lamb, others with pork and lamb, and others still omit the pork entirely. Find it in countries like Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Macedonia!
Is Cevapi Turkish?
Cevapi was first seen in the Balkans in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire was a Turkish empire that ruled most of Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa from the 14th to the 20th centuries. While this recipe is not technically Turkish, you can definitely see the Turkish influence. This recipe is very similar to the Turkish kofta, which is a handmade ground beef kabob.
Why Use Baking Soda With Ground Beef?
Baking soda is typically used in baking to help make cakes, cookies, and bread rise. You may be wondering what it’s doing in this skinless sausage recipe! Here, it helps to ensure that whatever meats you decide to use remain tender. It also adds a unique springy and bouncy texture to your sausages. No need to worry about tough and overly cooked results when you add baking soda to your meat mixture! You can feel free to omit it if you like, but I love what it adds to this recipe.
Cavapi (Balkan Skinless Sausages)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground lamb or pork
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and let rest minimum 4 hours or overnight.
- Use 2 tablespoons per sausage and shape into 3-inch long sausages.
- Clean grill and heat to 400°F (or use grill pan on stovetop). Spray cooking spray on grill and cook sausages 3-4 minutes per side.
- Serve with warm bread of choice (pita or lavash) and ajvar sauce. Sliced onions and tomatoes are also suggested.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.