This is the perfect summer meatball! They are made with the classic meatloaf/meatball blend of beef, pork and veal which is such a great combo for the best flavor and texture. Lots of fresh parsley, oregano, dill, and a little mint give them their Greek flavor profile. They are tender and juicy thanks to some Greek yogurt and feta cheese. Then the flavor is really elevated by grilling them. First a good sear to lock in the juices, then finished on indirect heat. There is a lot of love that goes into these, and it shows through in 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 them. I have made them the day before and I think they were even tastier sitting overnight in the fridge before cooking. I serve these with some home made 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!
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.
Grilled Mediterranean MeatballsCourse: EntréesCuisine: Mediterranean
A tender, juicy grilled meatball bursting with Mediterranean flavors
2 tbs olive oil
1 small onion, diced small
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup whole milk or half and half
1 bunch Italian parsley
4-6 sprigs of oregano leaves (no stems) OR 1 tbs dried oregano
2-3 sprigs of fresh dill, thick stems removed OR 1tbs dried dill
about 12 mint leaves
2/3 cup toasted pine nuts
3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup good sheep’s milk feta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
one 7 ounce container full fat Greek yogurt (like Fage 5%)
2 pounds lean ground beef or sirloin
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
- In a medium pan, saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and tender. Set aside to cool to room temp.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs and milk or half and half so that all the bread crumbs are lightly moistened. Add the cooled onion and garlic along with any remaining olive oil from the pan and mix well with the bread crumbs to combine.
- Add all the fresh herbs and the toasted pine nuts to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is finely chopped then add to the bowl with the bread crumbs along with the salt, pepper, parmesan and feta cheeses and mix well to combine. Whisk the eggs and yogurt together in a small bowl until smooth and creamy, then add the other ingredients and mix well to combine. Add all of the meat to the bowl then mix everything together gently with your hands until thoroughly combined.
- Line a sheet pan with foil and coat with olive oil. Form the meat mixture into large 2 inch meatballs and place on the oiled foil. You should end up with around 20 meatballs. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to grill (up to 24 hours).
- If you made these ahead of time, remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat the grill on high and prep your grill by cleaning your grates well and then rubbing them with a paper towel coated in oil. 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. If you have a thermometer, the proper internal temp is 160 degrees.
- Serve with tzatziki sauce!