Lamb Meatballs With Tzatziki Sauce

Lamb meatballs with tzatziki
Philippe Desnerck/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
195 Calories
13g Fat
9g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 195
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 54mg 18%
Sodium 399mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 12g
Calcium 69mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These lamb meatballs are kicked up with cumin and mint, two popular Greek flavorings. They are served with the traditional Greek sauce known as tzatziki, which is easily made at home with cucumbers, yogurt, lemon, mint, and dill.

Note: You must use Greek yogurt when you make tzatziki; plain yogurt is too tart. Most markets carry Greek yogurt, but if you can't find it, you can use plain yogurt; just make sure to allow enough time to prepare it. Strain plain yogurt through a cheesecloth over a bowl for at least two hours on your counter at room temperature. Liquid (the whey) will drip into the bowl, leaving you with a smooth yogurt that is creamy and not tart! Refrigerate the strained yogurt until you are ready to use it.

Serve these meatballs as a crowd-pleasing appetizer at your next party for an interesting change of pace. Make the tzatziki sauce a day in advance for best flavor. It will keep up to two days in the refrigerator.

Recipe reprinted with permission from "Cristina Ferrare's Big Bowl of Love" by Cristina Ferrare (Sterling Pub).


  • Lamb Meatballs
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced or crushed in a garlic press
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 cup fresh mint (loosely packed and finely chopped)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 fresh lemon for squeezing and garnish, cut into quarters
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Tzatziki Sauce
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt

Steps to Make It

  1. In the bowl with the lamb, add red onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, cumin, mayonnaise, fresh mint, and salt. Using your hands, mix thoroughly to distribute the ingredients evenly. With a teaspoon, form the mixture into 24 meatballs. Don't level the meat off or pack the meatballs too tightly.

  2. Preheat the broiler.

  3. Lightly spread canola oil on a baking sheet using a paper towel. Place the meatballs two inches apart on the baking sheet, and position the baking sheet four inches from the heat source.

  4. Broil for about five minutes, turning once halfway through.

  5. Arrange the meatballs on a serving platter, and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top. Sprinkle the cayenne pepper over the meatballs at the last minute. Serve at once with tzatziki.

  1. Place cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, mint, and dill in a bowl and mix well. Add the Greek yogurt and mix well.

  2. Cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container, and chill in the refrigerator for at least two to three hours before serving.

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.

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