Special thanks to Lee Kum Kee and their amazing Panda Brand Oyster Sauce we use in these healthy greek meatballs for sponsoring this post.
Deliciously flavored and perfectly seasoned greek meatballs served in a warm pita with fresh vegetables and an incredible lemon herb sauce.
Pair these flavorful beef/lamb meatballs with a simple Greek salad or easy cucumber salad.
I am so excited to be sharing this easy-to-prepare, fresh, nutritious, and tasty meal with you today. It’s a great recipe to have on hand when you’re not sure what to make for entertaining during the holidays — these Greek meatballs are perfect for holiday entertaining!
While this recipe is loaded with nutrients, it’s equally loaded with flavor. From the toasted pita bread to the perfectly seasoned and Mediterranean-inspired meatballs, to the crisp veggies and the herb-packed lemon sauce — this is a game changing meal. It’s one of those recipes that’s easy enough for a quick weeknight dinner, but impressive enough to serve (and wow) a large dinner party this holiday season.
So what’s in these magical meatballs? Read on!
What are these delicious meatballs made of?
- Ground lamb: Ground lamb is a bit more authentic and the healthiest red meat plus it offers a real dimensional flavor, but it’s sometimes hard to access. Feel free to substitute for ground beef if needed. You can use either in this recipe 🙂
- Panko breadcrumbs: I love using Panko in meatballs, it makes them soft and juicer, while acting as a great binder. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb and typically found near other breadcrumbs in the Asian food aisle of your store.
- Parsley: this herb adds so much freshness to these meatballs — be sure to get the flat leaf Italian parsley from the grocery store (with fresh produce).
- Red onion: while you can use any type of onion, red onion contributes a beautiful mild flavor in these Greek meatballs.
- Egg: the egg helps bind the meatballs and also contributes to the overall flavor
- Oregano, garlic, salt & pepper: all these ingredients help amp up the flavor
- Oyster Sauce: read all about this “secret” ingredient for these Greek meatballs below!
These greek meatballs can be enjoyed a myriad of ways, but I’m sharing our favorite today — loaded in a pita with fresh veggies, and a lemon herb sauce.
Below are a few other ideas:
- Serve meatballs with a side of tzatziki sauce and toasted pita bread
- Add meatballs in or alongside a big salad; like this Greek Quinoa Salad
- Serve meatballs over rice with a cucumber yogurt sauce and feta cheese
Greek meatballs tips
- Keep the lamb (or ground beef) as COLD as possible: grab it out from the fridge right when you need it and be careful to not over-work it (which will also warm it up). This will ensure the meatballs are tender, juicy, and that the meat is not impossible to roll into balls.
- Grate the red onion: while this step is (admittedly) annoying, it gives these meatballs the best possible taste and texture. No large chunks of (uncooked) onions, but all the great flavor dispersed throughout.
- Use a microplane: I recommend grating the garlic on a microplane; this allows for a really great even dispersion of garlic throughout the meatballs.
- Grease the pan: we broil these meatballs to cook them through (it’s SO quick and easy) but make sure the pan is well greased so the meat doesn’t stick.
- Roll small. even-sized meatballs: in order for these Greek meatballs to cook through in time and evenly, you want to ensure they’re roughly the same size. This batch should make 30-32 meatballs so they’re about 1 and 1/4th inch wide. Use a mini cookie scoop if you have one to make the process of rolling balls easier!
Storing Leftover Greek Meatballs
Store these greek meatballs (uncovered with sauce) in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
To freeze: Cook the meatballs according to directions in the recipe card and allow to completely cool. Place on a parchment paper lined sheet pan, uncovered, in the freezer. Place in the freezer for 1 hour (or until frozen solid) and then transfer the meatballs to a freezer safe bag or container and make sure to label and date the meatballs. (Meatballs can be frozen for up to 3 months).
To reheat: remove from bag or container and place (straight from freezer) meatballs on a foil lined sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees F or until meatballs are fully thawed and heated through.
More delicious dinner recipes:
- Greek Chicken with tzatziki sauce
- Taco Lettuce Wraps with taco seasoned ground beef
- Meatball Sliders with meatballs made in the crockpot
- Sausage Potato Soup creamy potato, veggie, and sausage soup
- Stuffed Peppers with Italian seasoned beef and rice
Deliciously flavored and perfectly seasoned Greek meatballs served in pita bread with fresh vegetables and an incredible lemon herb sauce.
- 1 pound ground beef (85/15% fat) (OR ground lamb)
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup freshly minced flat leaf Italian parsley
- 1/4 packed cup coarsely grated red onion and their juices (from about 1/2 onion)
- 1 large egg
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand Oyster Flavored Sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (~2 cloves)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6-8 pitas pockets, cut in half
- 1 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt
- 3 to 4 Persian cucumbers, sliced thinly lengthwise
- Butter lettuce leaves
- Optional: pickled red onions Note 1
- 1/2 cup parsley leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped (or substitute mint)
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped jalapeños, seeded or not (leave seeds for heat, remove for more mild)
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon water
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
PREP: Heat broiler with rack 4 inches from heating element. Lightly grease a sheet pan with nonstick olive oil spray.
MEATBALLS: In a large bowl, combine the ground beef or lamb, breadcrumbs, parsley, onion, egg, Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand Oyster Flavored Sauce, pepper, salt, oregano, and garlic. Mix until just combined making sure to not overwork the meat. Roll meatballs into 1 and 1/4th inch meatballs (about 30-32 total meatballs). Place on prepared sheet pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Place in the oven and broil, shaking pan and flipping meatballs over, every 2 minutes until cooked through (thermometer reads 160 degrees F for beef). This takes anywhere from 4-8 minutes. Start checking temperature at 4 minutes.
LEMON HERB SAUCE: Meanwhile, in a mini food processor or blender, add in the parsley, cilantro, jalapeños, garlic, lemon juice, salt, cumin, and 1 tablespoon water. Pulse until mixture is evenly chopped, scraping down sides as necessary. Stir in the oil. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice as desired.
SERVE: Lightly toast pita bread (Note 2). Smear 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt inside each pita and sprinkle with salt to taste. Layer in lettuce, meatballs, and cucumber slices. If desired, add in pickled red onions (Note 1). Drizzle lots of sauce over the pitas and enjoy immediately.
Note 1: we love pickled red onions on these, here's my super simple version. Slice half of a red onion and place in a bowl. Top with 1 teaspoon fine sea salt and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Toss every 3-5 minutes or so until softened (about 20-30 minutes). I usually do these first and stir throughout the process.
Note 2: to toast the pita bread, spray the pita (both sides) with olive oil cooking spray and char directly over the gas flames (at medium to medium low heat) for a few seconds. Use tongs to flip until pitas are lightly charred.