Mediterranean Meatballs with Tzatziki

Story by Holly
Mediterranean Meatballs with Tzatziki
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These tender Mediterranean Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce are the perfect way to enjoy the ultimate comfort food with a healthy makeover, without compromising any of the flavor of your favorite Greek dish. Our hope is that you make this recipe soon and fall in love with it the same way Natalie and I have. 

I know I’ve already added this dish to my weekly meal plan (isn’t meal planning just a game changer?!), because they make for an easy and satisfying dinner my whole family enjoys and provides the most wonderful leftovers afterwards. Even better? These babies can be prepped ahead or frozen in advance until you’re ready to eat, so you’ll always have a hearty and healthy dinner on hand in a pinch.

HOW DO YOU MAKE HOMEMADE MEATBALLS?

In general, using fatty meats results in a more tender meatball. We used ground beef for this recipe, but the meatballs would also be delicious if made with ground turkey.  This recipe comes together easily by combining all the ingredients into a bowl, then using a bowl of water to wet your hands as you roll the mixture into meatballs. This step is key to creating a smooth and uniform meatball. Next, using a rimmed pan (because you don’t want any meatballs falling off the pan, do you?) place the meatballs in the oven and you’re ready to bake!

Mediterranean Meatballs with Tzatziki

WHAT MAKES THESE MEATBALLS MEDITERRANEAN?

Confession: This dish is not authentically Greek, HOWEVER we added all of our favorite classically Mediterranean ingredients to the meat to mimic some our most beloved Greek flavors. 

Such as:
Onion
Garlic
Oregano
Cumin
Cinnamon
Parsley

We also added some eggs and panko bread crumbs to bring it all together and make for the perfect meatball texture. We paired these Mediterranean meatballs with a rich Greek yogurt-based sauce called tzatziki. Even homemade, this delicious accompaniment comes together in a flash and will be ready in plenty of time while your baked Mediterranean meatballs finish in the oven!  

Mediterranean Meatballs with Tzatziki

TIPS FOR MAKING THE PERFECT MEATBALL.

For a meatball with great texture use eggs and breadcrumbs. We opted for panko in this recipe. Use a small frying pan to cook off a little of your seasoned meatball mixture for taste testing. There’s nothing worse than a bland meatball. Fix your mistakes before it’s too late. Use a cookie scoop or a (heaping) tablespoon to ensure all the meatballs stay the same size. They will cook more evenly this way

HOW SHOULD YOU SERVE THESE MEDITERRANEAN MEATBALLS?

Like I’ve already said, these meatballs make a great comforting family dinner, “fancy dinner” for company, or just a flavor-packed appetizer for your next party. You could also serve them…

If you make these Baked Mediterranean Meatballs with Tzatziki we’d love to hear about it! Be sure to snap a photo, add it to your Instagram feed or stories and tag @themodernproper and #themodernproper if you do. Also, feel free to leave a comment on the post and tell your friends where you discovered the recipe!

Mediterranean Meatballs with Tzatziki

Serves 8

Ingredients

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, grated
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano, dried
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup flat leaf parsley, minced
2 eggs
1 cup panko

Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup Greek yogurt
1 small cucumber, grated
1 tbsp dried dill
2 tsp za'atar (optional)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Method

* This recipe makes 35 (golf ball) sized meatballs.

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place onion in a food processor or grate by hand. Lay the onion on a paper towel and gently ring out excess liquid.
  2. In a stand mixer or using your hands, mix the ground beef, onion, garlic, pepper, salt, cumin, oregano, cinnamon and parsley until fully incorporated. Using a cookie scoop or heaping tablespoon, measure out roughly 35 meatballs. * Dipping your hand into a bowl of water before rolling them will make the meatball surface smooth. Transfer the meatballs to 2 lightly oiled parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets.
  3. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pans half way through.
  4. Meanwhile, make the tzatziki sauce. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and place in the fridge for a 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.