This is the perfect summer meatball! They are made with a blend of ground beef and pork and lots of fresh Mediterranean herbs for great flavor. Greek yogurt, feta & parmesan cheese and some ground pine nuts take them to the next level. We like to cook these on the grilll… first a good sear on the to lock in the juices, then finished on indirect heat. They are also great baked though! There is a lot of love that goes into these, and it shows through with every bite!
All of the work can be done in advance for these which makes them perfect for company. I make these ahead of time and put them on a cookie sheet lined with foil and cover them in plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge until it is time to grill or bake them. I have made them the day before and I think they were even tastier sitting overnight in the fridge before cooking. I like serving these up with some homemade tzatziki (I use Ina Garten’s Tzatziki Recipe…It’s my fave!), my Orzo, Kale, and Spinach Salad, some toasted pita bread, and my Mediterranean salsa! They are also great with basmatti rice and a green salad. Don’t forget some hummus on the side!
Don’t skip the tzatziki! It is such a great match for these meatballs. Trader Joes has a pretty good one if you don’t want to make it yourself. If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, you can cut them in half and make a delicious slider with the tzatziki sauce.
When mixing all of the meatball ingredients together, I find that taking the extra steps to mix ingredients together before adding the meat ensures that the flavors are distributed better and you don’t have to overwork the meat as much. That is why I don’t just dump everything into a bowl and mix. I also like using food safe disposable gloves for mixing things like meatballs or meatloaf. Using your hands is the best way to combine everything without over mixing. These are the gloves I buy on Amazon. I use them all the time when working with raw meat.
Grilled Mediterranean Meatballs
- 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced small
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley, about 1 bunch (no stems)
- 1/2 cup of a mix of fresh oregano leaves, fresh dill, and fresh mint leaves (no stems)
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 eggs
- 1 small container (7 ounces) of full fat greek yogurt like Fage 5%
- 1/3 cup good quality feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- plenty of fresh ground pepper
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onion until it is soft and translucent (about 5-10 minutes). Add the garlic and heat for 1 to 2 minutes more on low heat so it doesn't burn. Set aside to cool.
- Add all the fresh herbs and the toasted pine nuts to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is finely chopped.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the panko bread crumbs, the chopped herbs and pine nuts, and the cooled onion and garlic (along with any olive oil from the pan). Mix well to combine.
- In a seperate bowl, whisk together the eggs, greek yogurt, crumbled feta, parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper.
- Add the beef and pork to the large bowl with the breadcrumbs and pour the egg mixture over the top. Mix gently with you hands until all of the ingredients are thouroghly combined.
- Line a sheet pan with foil and coat with olive oil. Form the meat miture into large 2 inch meatballs and place on the sheet pan. The meatballs can be done ahead and stored in the fridge until ready to grill or bake.
- If you made these ahead of time, remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes before grilling. Make sure you start with a clean pre-heated grill Put the meatballs over direct heat to sear on all sides – DON’T turn your meatballs until they pull away from the grill easily. Once you have gotten a nice crust on all sides, turn the grill down to medium heat and move the meatballs off the direct heat to finish cooking. The goal here is to get that crust on the outside to “seal” the meatball and keep it juicy on the inside. You want to cook them all the way through, but not let them get too charred. Depending on your grill this can take anywhere from 20 – 30 min. Test with a meat thermometer to make sure they have reached 160 degrees
To Bake instead of grill:
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook meatballs on sheetpan on middle rack for about 30 minutes, flipping half way through. Internal temp should be 160 degrees.
These sound really good and any excuse for tzatziki is okay with me. Good idea to grind the pignoli.