My Favorite Greek Lamb Meatballs Recipe and Authentic Tzatziki Sauce from My Cooking Class in Greece

So I don’t know about you guys but with all this extra time at home in quarantine, I’ve been cooking a ton. Cooking (and baking) has always been a huge de-stressor for me, and one of my favorite things to do for self-care. At the end of a long day spent running two businesses (Jetset Christina and Watercolors Swim!), there’s nothing that relaxes me more than getting in the kitchen and focusing on a recipe.

Food also always reminds me of traveling! A reminder I need now more than ever since we’re all grounded until further notice – seriously, can someone please just tell us when will it be safe to travel again??? I’ve got places to go and flights to book! 

But, until then, I’ll be traveling around my kitchen with some fun themed dinner nights around the world. And since Greece was one of my fiancé Kenny and my absolute favorite trips we ever took together, cooking up these Greek meatballs, and pairing them with our favorite crisp white Asyrtiko greek wine, and a delicious chopped greek salad with basil vinaigrette, brings us right back to Santorini

This is a lamb meatball recipe I learned while traveling with my mom in Greece after I graduated college. We took a Greek cooking class and it was so much fun! This was my favorite recipe from the class.

Here’s what you’ll need on your shopping list ingredients-wise (exact amounts and instructions below)

Meatballs:

Ground lamb (yum)

Feta cheese – this gives the meatballs their salty, creamy Greek flavor

Shallots or red onion, minced

Semolina or bread crumbsI don’t often have bread crumbs on hand so I toast a 1/4 slice of sourdough toast until it’s dry and crumbly and then create bread crumbs with my hands – which works great! 

Italian parsley

Cumin

Ground cinnamon – these spices are key to getting the great flavor in the meatballs you want

Kosher salt or sea salt

Egg

You can alternatively do the same recipe lamb burger patties and put them into a burger (maybe with pita as the bun) if you prefer that over meatballs! 

Tzatziki:

Cucumber

Kosher salt or sea salt

Plain Greek yogurt

Garlic, minced

Fresh dill – fresh is key!

Fresh mint – again, fresh is key!

Lemon 

Greek Salad:

To make the greek vinaigrette you’ll need:

Fresh basil

Extra virgin olive oil: or any other mild-flavored oil you prefer

Garlic: no need to pre-chop, the food processor will do that step for you

Red wine vinegar: or champagne vinegar, apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar will work as well

Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

A lemon

DIRECTIONS:

For the Lamb Meatballs:

In a large bowl add ground lamb, crumbled feta cheese, minced shallots, semolina, minced parsley, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, salt and beaten egg.

Use your hands to work together the mixture until it’s completely combined (you must use your hands!!!)

Cover and let the combination sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour as the flavors blend together.

After an hour, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a rimmed baking sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper.

Roll lamb mixture into 1-1/2 inch sized balls and lay them onto the baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes until the meatballs are slightly crispy on the outside and no longer pink in the inside.

Serve with the tzatziki sauce and greek salad

Photo via Every Last Bite

For the Tzatziki:

Add shredded cucumber to a strainer, sprinkle with salt and toss to coat evenly.

Let the cucumber sit for about 30 minutes to help get some of the water out of the cucumber. Squish the cucumber against the strainer to get as much water out as possible. If you have a cheesecloth (I never do), then use that to make this step way easier. 

In a medium sized mixing bowl add salted cucumber, Greek yogurt, grated garlic, lemon juice, minced dill and minced mint. Stir together to combine. Keep cold until ready to use.

For the Greek Salad:

Wash and chop all ingredients and chill in the refrigerator while you make your vinaigrette.

For the Greek vinaigrette:

Simply combine all of your ingredients in a small food processor, and puree until completely smooth.  Be sure to give it a taste, and season with extra salt and pepper (or a little extra lemon) if needed.

Photo by Two Peas and their Pod

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