Looking for a great holiday appetizer recipe? You love meatballs but are tired of the Italian or the grape jelly version? Well… you are going to love this one, a Mediterranean twist on those addictive little bites of deliciousness.
This recipe is not one of my mother’s classics; I created it when I was assigned to bring appetizer meatballs to a party. Because I’m a Chef I feel people expect something different from me, so the pressure is always on!
These meatballs are made of ground lamb and beef. They are then laced with feta cheese, Kalamata olives, Pepperoncini, mint, and dill. To enhance the flavors of the meatballs, I have added a lemon, mint and dill dipping sauce.
Prep time: 20 min
Cooking time: 30 min
Servings: 40 2oz. each
- ½ cup packed fresh mint
- ½ cup packed fresh dill
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 10 cloves of garlic
- 9 peperoncini
- ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ pounds of ground lamb
- 1½ pounds of 93% lean ground beef
- 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups crumbled feta cheese
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon dry oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
Place first 5 ingredients (mint, dill, onion, and garlic) into food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add peperoncini and kalamata olives pulses two more times. Add olive oil to sauté pan and heat on medium flame. Place contents into the pan and sauté for approximately 10-15 minutes stirring often.
While the onion mixture is cooking, place ground lamb and beef into large mixing bowl. Add crushed tomatoes, feta cheese, and eggs. Mix well with your hands until evenly incorporated. Add breadcrumbs, oregano, salt, and pepper to meat mixture. Using your hands, mix well ensuring all ingredients are well incorporated.
Remove onion mixture from stove and allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes. Combine onion and meat mixtures and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour. Remove and roll into 2 ounces sized meatballs.
I bake the meatballs on a greased baking sheet in a 450 oven for approximately 10-15 minutes. If you prefer to fry them, add 3 tablespoons each olive oil and vegetable oil to frying pan. Heat pan on medium heat and add meatballs when the pan is hot. Cook until brown on each side. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemony mint and dill Greek yogurt sauce (recipe follows).
Lemony Mint & Dill Greek Yogurt Sauce
- 1 32 ounce container plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh or dry dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together, cover and place in refrigerator until chilled.