Serves:  4

  Prep. Time:  20 minutes

  Cook Time: ​ 15 minutes

  Difficulty:  Medium

Lamb Meatballs with Tzatziki

What You Do

1.  Remove the beef and lamb from their packaging and place in a large mixing bowl to come to room temperature.

2.  Place the red onion, olives and garlic in a food processor and process until finely minced (or mince by hand).

3.  Add the minced mixture to the bowl with the meat, along with the pepper, lemon peel and egg.  Using your hands, scoop the mixture together and knead until everything is well combined.

4.  Divide the mixture into 16 equal parts and shape each into a ball.  Arrange in a glass baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator briefly.

5.  To make the tzatziki, place the Greek yogurt in a medium mixing bowl and stir to loosen.

6.  Trim the ends off of the cucumber and cut in half length-wise.  Scoop out the seeds and discard.  Chop the cucumber into 1-inch pieces and add to the bowl of a food processor.

7.  Add the remaining ingredients except the pepper to the food processor and pulse until finely minced.

8.  Scrap the vegetable mixture into the bowl with the yogurt and stir to combine.  Add pepper to taste and then transfer about one half of the sauce to a serving dish.  Store the remainder in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 10 days. (Trust me, it’s delicious.)

9.  A few minutes before you’re ready to eat, heat a very large, heavy non-stick skillet over medium heat.

10.  Arrange the meatballs in a single layer in the skillet (you’ll probably need to work in batches) and cook until well browned all over and just barely pink in the center, turning frequently – about 5 to 8 minutes. 

11.  Transfer the cooked meatballs to a platter and cover tightly with tinfoil to keep warm.  Repeat with any remaining meatballs.

12. Serve immediately with Tzatziki for dipping.

Thoughts from Friends

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For most of us, meatballs have generally been a bit of an afterthought.  Nuggets of browned beef smothered in tomato sauce and lost amid a sea of spaghetti noodles.  Let’s face it: usually we’re focused on the sauce (or if you’re like me, the garlic bread, especially if it has cheese). Recently, I’ve noticed specialty meatballs making an appearance on the menus of my favorite local restaurants.  After trying a tempting version made with wild boar meat, I’m convinced that even without the weighty presence of pasta, meatballs can be pretty dang tasty.

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What You Need


1 lb. Ground lamb

1 lb. Ground beef 

1/4 of a Red onion

1/4 c. pitted Kalamata olives

3-4 cloves Garlic

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. dried lemon peel (optional)

1 egg



1 1/2 c. Plain Greek yogurt

1 small Cucumber

1 clove Garlic

2 tbsp. Lemon juice

1 tbsp. Salt

1 tbsp. Fresh dill

1/4 of a Red onion

Freshly ground black pepper