So I haven’t been cooking a whole lot lately. It’s kind of a getting-back-into-the-swing-of-things problem post remodel, and just this lackluster feeling I have about doing much at all… Kind of overwhelmed and kind of having a hard time getting back online again. But I miss cooking. And I miss writing. So bear with me while I muddle through this because I PROMISE there will be more amazing stuff around these parts. Eventually.
But THIS recipe. THIS. I haven’t cooked anything off the cuff in a while. I’ve been sticking to the old standards, the chicken enchilada casserole, roasting a whole chicken and then using it throughout the week, pulled pork… things I know and can do amazingly well (if I do say so myself). But it’s been a while since I decided I was going to make something myself and just run with it.
We ADORE Mediterranean food around here. If you’ll remember I did that incredible Greek marinade and Quinoa Tabbouleh and it’s been a go-to in our family when we get the meat from the CSA and I feel like making homemade Tabbouleh. This is MUCH easier… I literally threw the meatball recipe together and cheated with the tabbouleh recipe. Some hummus and pita, which are always in our house, some homemade Tzatziki sauce, a little feta and HOORAY! 20 minutes later I had a Mediterranean feast that even the Peanut ate. The best part is that I was even able to freeze up some meatballs for later, so we can do it again once we go get more hummus and pita. Since the hoard ate every.single.bit of both the meatballs and the hummus and pita that I have.
I’ll take that as a complement. Barbarians.
Lamb Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce and Cheater’s Tabbouleh
1 pound of ground lamb – I get it straight from the butcher, but if you can’t find it you can always substitute with ground beef if you have to.
1/2 large onion – grated. I’ve been grating my onions lately because it is a LOT easier and it kind of melts in without any chunks.
1-2 cloves garlic – grated. I LOVE garlic but my garlic cloves have been kind of small lately, so if they are HUGE? Only do one.
1 TB Fresh Mint – finely chopped.
1 TB Ground Cumin
1/2 Cup Grated Zucchini – Seems weird but adds incredible moisture and airiness to the meatballs. It also hides vegetables in there and your kids won’t notice.
1 Egg – beaten.
1/2-3/4 Cup Bread Crumbs – I use panko because they are pretty light and airy but you can use regular bread crumbs as well.
Salt and Pepper
Put everything in a bowl except the bread crumbs. Using clean hands, work the meat and ingredients together quickly. Add in 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and see how the moisture feels. If it feels too wet, add more bread crumbs until the consistency is moist but not soggy. Roll into small meatballs (about 2-3 inches wide) and place on a cookie sheet. Once the sheet is full, place in a 375 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes. You want them to be cooked through but not pink in the middle.
While your meatballs are cooking, assemble the Tzatziki Yogurt Sauce and your Cheater’s Taboulleh.
Tzatziki Yogurt Sauce
1 Container Greek Yogurt
1 Cucumber – grated
1 Clove of Garlic – grated
Salt and Pepper
Combine! You may find that you want to add more or less cucumber to the sauce, based upon how big it is, how much you want, etc. Just taste it until you like it.
I’m weird but I pretty much hate everyone else’s taboulleh but my own. But let’s be serious, it can be a total pain to make with all the chopping and all the herbs and getting the food processor dirty and just UGH. So I go out to my local Whole Foods who sells teeny tiny containers of taboulleh for around $3.00 and bring it home. Usually when it has been sitting for a while the flavors are WAY too strong and need to be tempered anyway, so if you have a Trader Joe’s close by, head there and buy their ten minute bulgur. Throw the pre-made taboulleh into a bowl with about a cup of the cooked bulgur, a finely diced cucumber and a finely diced tomato. Check for seasonings and voila! Cheater’s Taboulleh. Of course, if you can’t find it in your grocery store, use this recipe and substitute the bulgur for the quinoa.
Once all of the steps are finished (and it will literally take 20 minutes), remove from the meatballs from the oven and assemble pitas with Tzatziki Sauce, feta, and hummus and serve with your Taboulleh!
It’s the BEST way to liven up a week night meal and takes no time at all to do it.