Recipes, Lunch & Dinner Recipes

Lamb Keftedes with Homemade Tzatziki and Greek Salad

This recipe is one of my all-time favorites. Not only because it’s Mediterranean, healthy, and the flavors are absolutely delicious, but because it’s really easy to make and my kids love it, too. There’s something about meatballs that seem to really work for kids. It’s probably because they’re fun to eat, but I’m fine with that. I’m honestly just happy to know they’re getting protein after a long day of growing, playing, and learning.

Keftedes 8
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There are three parts to this recipe, the meatballs, the sauce, and the side vegetables. I love to serve these all together, but each can totally stand on its own. Make the tzatziki for a party dip, the Greek salad for lunches, and the meatballs with hummus or to bring to a friend in need.

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Don’t let the seemingly long ingredient list turn you off, this recipe is basically just mixing everything to combine, other than browning the meatballs, there is no major technique here, and that’s what makes this one so approachable. Lamb Keftedes definitely deserve a spot in your regular dinnertime programming.

Keftedes 16
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Lamb Keftedes with Tzatziki & Greek Salad

theinspiredhome.com

SERVINGS

4-6, makes roughly 19 3" meatballs

PREP TIME

30 minutes

ACTIVE TIME

1 hour

INGREDIENTS

For the Keftedes:

  • 1.5 lbs. ground lamb
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Flour to coat each meatball, roughly 1/3 cup
  • Oil to cook

For the Tzatziki:

  • 2 cups (500g or 1 17oz. container) 5% milkfat plain yogurt such as Fage, or whole milk plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ European (seedless) cucumber, sliced thinly in quarters and then roughly chopped again
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ lemon, juiced, plus more to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Greek olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon flaked salt such as Meldon Salt

For the Greek Salad:

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped into 1” cubes
  • ½ red onion, sliced thinly
  • ½ European cucumber, chopped into 1” quarters
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/3 lb. sheep milk feta in liquid, drained and crumbled
  • Greek olive oil to taste
  • 1 teaspoon flaked salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Optional:

  • Pita or Naan for dipping, toasted

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients except the oil. Use your hands to squeeze the mixture to combine thoroughly. Make sure to scrape the bottom.
  2. Using a 3-tablespoon cookie scoop and leveling each scoop, form the meatballs and roll between your hands until symmetrical. Pour the flour onto a plate, and roll each meatball lightly to coat. Tap off excess flour.
  3. Bring a medium skillet coated with oil to medium heat. In two batches, brown the meatballs on as many sides as you can. Transfer to a baking dish, drizzle with a little more oil and bake for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of a meatball reaches 160 degrees.
  4. While the meatballs cook, prepare your tzatziki in a medium bowl by mixing all of the listed ingredients together. Taste and adjust salt, lemon, or olive oil as needed. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the Greek salad last, by combining all of the ingredients and lightly coating with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Once the meatballs are ready, assemble the plate by layering first the tzatziki, followed by the meatballs, and lastly filled with the Greek salad. Serve with pita or naan, a sprinkle of salt, and more tzatziki on the side. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Ground lamb.

The ground lamb can be substituted for beef or pork, or a combination of the two. If you have ground turkey or chicken, feel free to use that, too. A vegetarian version could potentially be made with firm tofu or cannellini beans. I haven’t tested for it, but if you’re up for the challenge, I say give it a try.

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Fresh herbs.

I give you an exact measurement for the fresh herbs, however eyeballing a small bunch of mint, and a palm-size bunch of parsley works, too.

Red pepper flakes.

This is an addition I think amplifies the flavors of the lamb, it doesn’t add a ton of spice, but if your kids are sensitive to heat, it may be best to omit.

Large meatballs.

I call for a 3-tablespoon cookie scoop to portion out these meatballs. This size makes a relatively large meatball, so feel free to portion them smaller if you so desire.

Keftedes 4
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Cooking.

I ask you to brown the meatballs on the stove and finish them in the oven. I have a gas stove that just gets way too hot to cook these large meatballs through without getting too dark on the outside. I also prefer to finish the meatballs in the oven so I can spend time working on the tzatziki and Greek salad, and utilize that workflow. Traditional Keftedes are done entirely on the stovetop, and you’re welcome to do it that way, too.

Keftedes 9
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Breadcrumbs.

I call for regular ole’ breadcrumbs because I find it the most convenient, however, the day-old bread soaked in milk trick works wonders, too. If you have a preference, absolutely do it that way!

Tzatziki.

Now, you could totally buy it premade at the grocery store, and sometimes I do! But because you already need half of the ingredients, like the fresh herbs and garlic for the meatballs, and the cucumbers for the Greek salad, you might as well give my recipe a go. It’s truly so easy, and once you do it one time, you can eyeball it on your own every time after. It’s that simple, and freshly made always tastes so wonderful.

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Greek salad.

I do a simple mixture of fresh produce and briny olives and feta, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Feel free to toss it over greens, add Greek dressing, or make it your way! Just note, you’ll definitely want the side of vegetables with the meatballs to complete the meal.

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