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Baked Greek Lamb Balls Served with Tzatziki Sauce - Authentic Recipe

Baked Greek Lamb Balls Served with Tzatziki Sauce - Authentic Recipe

Introduction to Baked Greek Lamb Balls with Tzatziki Sauce

Introduction to Greek Cuisine

Greek cuisine is a rich tapestry of flavors and traditions that has evolved over thousands of years. Rooted in the Mediterranean diet, it emphasizes fresh ingredients, olive oil, grains, fish, and a variety of meats, including lamb. Greek cooking is known for its simplicity and the high quality of its ingredients, which are often locally sourced and embody the essence of the Mediterranean landscape. Herbs such as oregano, thyme, and rosemary, along with the extensive use of garlic and lemon, add distinctive flavors that are synonymous with Greek dishes. This cuisine is not just about nourishment; it's a celebration of community and family, with meals often shared in a communal setting, reflecting the Greek ethos of hospitality and warmth. The culinary practices of Greece also mirror the country's rich history, blending indigenous traditions with influences from the Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. Today, Greek cuisine continues to be a beloved part of the global culinary landscape, inviting people everywhere to experience its delicious flavors and wholesome dishes.

Overview of the Dish

Baked Greek Lamb Balls served with Tzatziki Sauce is a classic dish that encapsulates the essence of Greek cuisine. This dish combines succulent lamb meatballs with the cool, creamy tang of tzatziki sauce, creating a balance of flavors that is both rich and refreshing. The lamb balls are seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices, including oregano, mint, and garlic, which infuse the meat with a depth of flavor that is characteristically Greek. Baking the lamb balls not only makes this dish healthier by reducing the amount of added fat but also ensures that the meatballs are evenly cooked, retaining their juiciness and tenderness. Served alongside a homemade tzatziki sauce made from yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and dill, this dish is a delightful representation of Greek culinary traditions, perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion.

Why This Recipe Works 

This recipe for Baked Greek Lamb Balls served with Tzatziki Sauce works wonderfully for several reasons. Firstly, the use of lamb, a staple in Greek cooking, provides a rich and robust flavor that is enhanced by the aromatic herbs and spices. The baking method is not only healthier but also allows for an even, gentle cooking process that keeps the meatballs moist and tender. Secondly, the tzatziki sauce offers a refreshing contrast to the savory lamb, with its cool, creamy texture and the crispness of cucumber and dill. This combination of flavors and textures makes each bite satisfying and complex. Additionally, this recipe is versatile and can be adjusted to suit dietary preferences or to incorporate other traditional Greek ingredients. It's a straightforward dish that delivers on the promise of Greek cuisine to be both delicious and nourishing, making it a perfect choice for cooks of all levels looking to bring a taste of Greece into their homes.

Recipe: Baked Greek Lamb Balls with Tzatziki Sauce


Lamb Meatballs:

  • 700g (24.7oz) Minced Lamb
  • 1 Small Onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 4 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Mint, chopped
  • 1 Tsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1/4 Cup Breadcrumbs
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Tzatziki Sauce:

  • 1 Cup Grated Cucumber (without the seeds)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Mint
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Dill
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Medium Garlic Clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt


For the Meatballs:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients together. Mix well until the mixture is evenly combined.
  2. Form the mixture into balls, about the size of a golf ball.
  3. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to allow the flavors to marinate.
  4. Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).
  5. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring they are not touching.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through and have a golden-brown exterior.
  7. Best served hot, accompanied by Tzatziki Sauce.

For the Tzatziki Sauce:

  1. After grating the cucumber, use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Pat dry with kitchen paper towels to remove any remaining moisture.
  2. Transfer the dried cucumber to a serving bowl.
  3. Add the Greek yogurt, olive oil, chopped mint, dill, lemon juice, minced garlic, and sea salt to the bowl with the cucumber.
  4. Mix well until all the ingredients are fully combined.
  5. Let the sauce sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional herbs, lemon juice, or salt, according to your preference.

Serving Suggestion: Serve the baked lamb meatballs hot, drizzled with or dipped into the Tzatziki Sauce. This dish pairs wonderfully with a side of warm pita bread, a fresh Greek salad, or roasted vegetables for a complete meal. Enjoy the harmonious blend of flavors and textures that this classic Greek dish offers.


Can I use beef instead of lamb? 

Yes, beef can be a suitable substitute for lamb in this recipe, offering a different but equally delicious flavor profile. When using beef, opt for a mix of lean and slightly fattier ground beef to maintain moisture and richness in the meatballs. The spices and herbs in the recipe will complement beef just as well as they do lamb. However, keep in mind that the substitution may slightly alter the traditional Greek taste of the dish, as lamb has a distinct flavor that is characteristic of many Mediterranean recipes.

How do I ensure my lamb balls are juicy?

To ensure your lamb balls remain juicy, follow a few key tips. First, avoid overmixing the meat mixture, as this can lead to tough meatballs. Gently combine the ingredients until just mixed. Secondly, incorporating a bit of fat, like the natural fat in ground lamb, helps keep the meatballs moist during cooking. Adding a beaten egg and breadcrumbs to the mixture also helps retain moisture. Finally, do not overcook the meatballs; remove them from the oven as soon as they are cooked through. Letting them rest for a few minutes before serving also helps lock in the juices.

Can the tzatziki sauce be made ahead of time? 

Absolutely, the tzatziki sauce can be made ahead of time, and doing so can actually enhance its flavor. Preparing the sauce a day in advance allows the garlic, lemon juice, and herbs to meld together, creating a deeper, more cohesive taste. Store the tzatziki sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Give it a good stir before serving, as some separation may occur. Making the sauce ahead of time not only saves you preparation time on the day of serving but also provides a richer flavor to accompany your baked Greek lamb balls.

Are there any gluten-free options for this recipe? 

Yes, this recipe can easily be adapted to be gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. To make gluten-free lamb balls, simply substitute the breadcrumbs with a gluten-free alternative. Gluten-free breadcrumbs, almond flour, or even finely ground oats can work well as binders in the meatballs. For the tzatziki sauce, ensure that the Greek yogurt used is gluten-free, as some brands may add additives that contain gluten. By making these simple swaps, you can enjoy a delicious, gluten-free version of baked Greek lamb balls with tzatziki sauce without compromising on taste or texture.

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