Put them in a pita or on side of a salad, these Greek lamb meatballs are flavorful, moist (sorry I know we all hate that word) and dangerously delicious. If you landed here thinking these are Kofta, they are not, that is a separate recipe. These are super delicious lamb meatballs inspired by Greek flavors. It has taken me a few years of making meatballs to determine my meatball preferences. I like moist, not dry, spongy, not crumbly, oven baked, not pan fried. While below is my Greek lamb meatball recipe, the base and approach is the same regardless of what meatballs I am making. So, if you don’t like lamb and somehow ended on this page swap it out!
What You’ll Need for Greek Lamb Meatballs
- Ground Lamb
- Ground Turkey – Weird right? (see below).
- Pine Nuts – You need to toast these. Throw the pine nuts in a clean, dry frying pan on low heat. Every minute or so give them a mix so all sides can toast. Whatever you do, DO NOT WALK AWAY. It might seem like nothing is happening for a few minutes, but once they toast they burn fast.
- Panko Bread Crumbs – Get plain, unseasoned panko breadcrumbs.
- Broth – Chicken, turkey, or vegetable. This is for the breadcrumbs (see below).
- Fresh Parsley
- Dried Oregano
- Red Chili Flakes
- Salt & Pepper
This is a get your hands dirty kind of recipe
I need to warn you in advance, these aren’t a dump and mix kind of meatball. In no way is this a long recipe but it’s not your 20 minutes and done. There are a few things that I make sure I do regardless of what kind of meatballs I am making. Below are some anticipated questions, and their reasonings.
Why do you add turkey to these lamb meatballs?
Confession, I add ground turkey to all my meatballs, beef, lamb, whatever they may be. Why? Turkey makes them moist, it gives them a softer spongy texture. Don’t worry these meatballs still taste primarily of lamb. When mixing make sure you are combining the lamb and turkey, you don’t want pockets of just lamb or just turkey.
Why do you rehydrate the breadcrumbs?
Have you ever had a dry meatball? I find that meatballs that are baked with no sauce tend to lean on the drier side. Adding some broth to the breadcrumbs before assembling gives the meatballs extra moisture. While the meatballs might feel on the wetter side when forming the balls, they will hold up in the oven.
Why do you cook the onions and garlic beforehand?
These are fast meatballs, like 20-23 minutes fast. To ensure that there aren’t any crunchy onions still around, I cook the onions and garlic. This also allows the onions and garlic to establish their flavor, because 23 minutes in the oven won’t cut it.
A Few Tips
- These meatballs are on the wetter side during assembly, as stated above. They may stick to your hands when you are forming the balls. To prevent this, keep a bowl of water nearby and wet your hands before rolling.
- While most of the time I find myself eating these meatballs solo (partially because they don’t make it from the pan to the plate), these taste great on the side of a Greek salad (recipe coming soon) or in a pita sandwich.
- These are great to make ahead for lunch for the week, they heat up like a gem.
Greek Lamb Meatballs
- glass or ceramic baking pan
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1/2 lb ground turkey
- 1/3 cup pine nuts toasted
- 1 white or yellow onion medium size
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 cup panko
- 1/3 cup broth chicken, turkey, or vegetable
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup parsley finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp salt kosher
- 1/2 tsp pepper freshly ground
- Preheat oven to 400°
- In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, and broth. Make sure you mix to combine thoroughly.
- Toast your pine nuts in a clean dry pan, until lightly golden. Once done, put aside.
- In the same frying pan add 1 tbsp of olive oil and on medium-low heat and slowly cook down your onions and garlic until translucent and soft (5-10 minutes). Let them cool.
- Now it is time to combine! Add lamb, turkey, rehydrated breadcrumbs, onions garlic mix, pine nuts, eggs, parsley, oregano, chili flakes, salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Mix with your hands, making sure that you thoroughly combine the lamb and turkey.
- Form into ping pong size balls (yielding 20-22 meatballs).
- In a glass or ceramic baking pan add 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and put your meatballs in. They can touch but do not overcrowd the pan.
- Bake for 20-23 minutes until slightly golden brown and cooked through.