Recipes

Baked Meatballs (Greek Style)

The next time you’re craving spaghetti and meatballs, give these Baked Meatballs (Greek Style) a whirl. Your tastebuds will thank you. The fresh mint and dill along with tangy lemon zest provide a delicious flavor profile. You may end up passing on any sauce altogether.

Personally, I alter between a couple of baked meatball recipes but would have to say, this is hands-down my favorite. The recipe is flexible enough that the choice of meat is up to you. Try it with beef, bison, turkey, chicken, or ground pork.

THIS DISH IS A POWERHOUSE OF FLAVORS

Baked meatball ingredients

You may find that sauce is unnecessary or only needed sparingly in this flavorful dish. The combination of fresh mint, dill, and lemon zest are the stars of the show. Although, some people pair these juicy meatballs with Tzatziki sauce.

What kind of meat can I use for baked meatballs?

The beauty of this dish is that most meats will work. I typically use lean, organic ground bison (90/10). I’ve also used grass-fed, humanely-raised ground beef both 90/10 and 80/20.

For these Greek-style baked meatballs, traditionally lamb is used. Depending on your preference with regards to meat, the sky’s the limit. For this recipe, I’ll use 90/10 ground bison.

Two options to make tender, juicy meatballs

BREAD OR BREADCRUMBS. Most would agree that creating flavorful tender, juicy meatballs is the end goal. The traditional way to accomplish this is to create a panade. A panade is a milk-and-bread paste either using bread crumbs or slices of bread. The other day, I ran out of bread crumbs but was quickly able to make my own in 10 minutes.

HOMEMADE BREADCRUMBS IN 10 MINUTES

  • Take the crust off 1 slice of bread
  • Cut into cubes
  • Add to a food processor
  • Place crumbs on baking sheet in single layer
  • Set oven to 300° and bake for 10 minutes until toasted

ZUCHINNI. For a gluten-free alternative, swap bread for finely grated zucchini (about 1 cup packed). Zucchini contains a high water content and provides the moisture needed to create tender, juicy meatballs. Plus you up the veggie content.

Oven-baked versus Pan-fried meatballs

Most would agree that pan-fried anything typically results in crisp, flavorful delicacies. Yet, pan-frying also ups the fat content as you essentially submerge the meatballs in an inch of hot oil.

Thus, baked meatballs are considered the healthier alternative. They retain their meatball shape and are incredibly juicy and delicious. Plus, clean-up is a breeze.

The only downside to baked meatballs is the lack of crispness when compared to pan-fried. But I’ll show you how to combine the best of both worlds and still retain the health factor.

baked meatballs

COMBINED METHOD- HEALTHY AND CRISP

You’ll first bake the meatballs in a 375° oven for 25-30 minutes. Heat up a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil to medium-high heat. Make sure it is good and hot.

Next using tongs or a slotted spoon, place the baked meatballs in the pan. Cook for 1 minute then flip over and cook on the other side for another minute. You should end up with a crisp top and bottom. Remove and plate.

Which sauce goes well with Greek style baked meatballs?

baked meatballs on orzo

Personally, I enjoy eating these meatballs as is without any sauce. At our house, we typically serve it with whole grain orzo that has been lightly tossed in olive oil.

However, it is common to serve these meatballs with Tzatziki sauce. You can also use red spaghetti sauce if you have some on hand. A 24-ounce jar of sauce should be enough.

THE BEST PASTA TO SERVE WITH BAKED MEATBALLS (GREEK STYLE) IS ORZO

You can also cook up some long grain rice or regular spaghetti noodles.

How to properly store raw or baked meatballs

store meatballs

Meatballs are a perfect dish to make-ahead and save for later. You can do this one of two ways- prepare raw, store, and bake later or bake and store.

Prepare raw meatballs and store

If you want to do the initial prep work and bake the meatballs later, you can. Add all the ingredients and form into meatballs. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If freezing, it’s best to arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet spaced apart. Place in the freezer for about 1-hour or until solid then take out and put in a freezer-safe container. Raw meatballs can be kept frozen for 1-2 months. Always be sure to label the type and date.

Note: Please be sure to use fresh meat when deciding to freeze raw meatballs. Never use frozen meat that has been thawed only to refreeze. Always use recommended food safety precautions.

Bake meatballs and store

Baked meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 3-4 days. Cooked meatballs will also freeze well.

To freeze bake meatballs, make sure they come to room temperature. Then on a baking sheet place them in a single layer (ensure they’re not touching or else they’ll stick together once frozen).

Freeze until solid (about 1-hour). Transfer the meatballs to a freezer bag or glass container. Be sure to label the type of meatball and date. Cooked meatballs can remain frozen for 3-4 months.

You can thaw frozen meatballs (raw or baked) overnight in the refrigerator.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to hear all about it! Leave a comment and star rating below. Be sure to share a picture of your creation on Instagram with the hashtag #megansophiewellness.

Baked Meatballs (Greek Style)

Baked Meatballs (Greek Style)

The next time you’re craving spaghetti and meatballs, give these Baked Meatballs (Greek Style) a whirl. Your tastebuds will thank you. The fresh mint and dill and tangy lemon zest provides a delicious flavor profile. You may end up passing on any sauce altogether.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course dinner
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 24 meatballs

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground buffalo (can also use beef, lamb, turkey, or chicken)
  • 1/2 cup onion (finely chopped or grated)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (or 1 packed cup zuchinni)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fresh mint (chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon dried mint)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (organic)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (more if needed)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (I use Real Salt)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Combine meat, onions, garlic, bread crumbs (or zucchini), herbs, and nutmeg. Lightly blend by hand or with a spoon. Be careful not to overwork the meat.
  • Add egg, lemon zest, olive oil, tomato sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix gently. Adjust moisture of mixture with bread crumbs or tomato sauce, accordingly.
  • Using a small ice cream scoop or spoon, form meatballs. You should get between 20-24 meatballs. Place on a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until fully cooked. You can turn meatballs halfway through baking.

Crispier Meatballs

  • After the meatballs have baked, you can crisp the tops and bottoms. Cook them on a hot skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil for about 1 minute on either side.
Keyword Baked meatballs, Greek style meatballs

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