Thursday, September 23, 2010

Greek Meatballs

I'm nearing the end of my two week Phase One period of the South Beach Diet. Technically yesterday should have been my last day, but I went off the diet over the weekend while the husband and I had a little staycation at our house while my mom kept the kids. So to compensate for that I'm staying on it until at least tomorrow, maybe Sunday. I'm down 11 pounds since I started, and I'm fitting in to clothes I haven't worn in YEARS, so I'm really pleased with the results I'm getting.

I did some Googling for low carb recipes to get some different ideas for dinner. The SBD website has a pretty limited number of recipes. The actual diet book has some in it, but a lot are beef which we don't eat much of. I found a low carb recipe section on, a website I like anyway. My kids love meatballs, so when I saw this I thought it would be a great dinner. I love the flavor profile of Greek food, although I used to really not like it. My parents always went to a Greek festival at a Greek Orthodox church in Seattle, and they'd come home raving about what they'd eaten, and it sounded so gross to me. Now I'm kind of sad we don't live there anymore because I'd really like to go!

Greek Meatballs

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 large shallot, minced
1 pound ground lamb
4 ounces salt pork, ground or finely minced
Zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons chopped mint
Freshly ground black pepper
Greek yogurt for dipping

1 Heat a small pan over medium heat and add oil, garlic, jalapeño and shallot, and cook for 1 minute, then let cool.

2 Meanwhile, crumble lamb into a large bowl. Evenly scatter salt pork, orange zest and mint over lamb, and season with pepper. Sprinkle the cooled garlic mixture over lamb. Gently mix until just combined, then form into 1¼-inch balls and transfer to a plate or sheet pan.

3 Heat a large cast iron pan over medium to medium high heat. Working in batches if necessary to prevent crowding, brown meatballs on all sides until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm with toothpicks or skewers with plain yogurt.

Note: Meatballs can also be cooked ahead, refrigerated and reheated in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.

Makes about 20 meatballs.


I used grass-fed beef instead of the ground lamb. I had a bad experience with ground lamb, so I'm kind of turned off from it after that. I also left out the salt pork because I didn't have any, nor did I have anything on hand to use in its place. Instead of Greek yogurt for the dipping sauce I bought some tzatziki at Trader Joe's (actually I'm snacking on it now with some celery).

These meatballs were fantastic!! I love the addition of mint to savory dishes. My only complaint was that these on their own weren't really enough for dinner. They're listed as an appetizer, which they'd be great for. I told the husband I thought they'd be fantastic in my Greek spaghetti. Or I thought they'd be good if you put a little chunk of feta inside them. Mmmmm. These are definitely something I'll make again, I just need to plan better so we're not all still hungry once dinner is done!

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