Ground meat magic: Pork and beef bolognese, lamb keema, chicken lettuce tacos… the list goes on. It cooks quickly and can make meat more palatable for picky eaters. Elevating it with seasonings, egg and bread crumbs and rolling into two-bite meatballs is a comfort food coup.
The trick with these lamb meatballs is to chop the onions into small pieces (they could be even smaller than in the photo above). You want them to disappear into the meat mixture, especially because they aren’t sautéed or cooked down before you form and cook them off.
I also like to use fresh bread crumbs that are not seasoned. It’s so simple to make your own breadcrumbs and they taste so much better than store bought. Just save the dry odds-and-ends of crusty bread or baguette and store them in your freezer. To make, toast the bread on a sheet pan at 400 degrees until golden brown and then slice the bread into smaller, roughly 2-inch slices, and pulse well in a food processor. You can freeze the leftover bread crumbs if you have more than you need for this recipe. If you are rolling your eyes and feel like there’s no way you’ll ever make your own breadcrumbs, no judgement. Use panko if you need something quick and easy.
Once you have your ingredients mixed up, it’s easy to portion the meatballs with an ice cream scoop, roll them in the palm of your hand to even out edges and fill a parchment-lined sheet pan. Don’t overwork the meat or it won’t be as tender and juicy. If you’re planning to freeze any for later, before you bake them off place a meatball-filled sheet pan in your freezer until they harden, and then transfer them to a freezer bag. Trust me, a bag of these in your freezer arsenal will definitely up your weeknight game.
These meatballs, adapted from a 2002 Food & Wine appetizer recipe by Melissa Clark, are delicious with herbed yogurt sauce. For lunch, leftover meatballs can be stuffed in a pita with shredded romaine, halved cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and leftover yogurt sauce.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground lamb, preferably grassfed
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs, preferably homemade (or almond meal to make it gluten-free, grain-free and Whole30)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or lightly coat with olive oil.
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients; gently mix until combined. Form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs and then gently round them out. Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet with about 1-inch of space between each one. Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning the pan halfway through, until the meatballs are firm and lightly browned.