We’re delivering up some healthy Greek meatballs or our version of healthy Keftedes if you will. I figured you might want to dazzle your friends with this healthful appetizer or make these into an easy dinner or lunch with this turkey rendition to a Mediterranean classic. I’ll walk you through how to make Greek meatballs in no time, you’ll be a pro and your friends and family will be asking for more (so you may want to make a double batch!). It’ll also answer the age old question of what to eat with your Tzatziki sauce? In case you’ve been looking for an alternative to pita chips.
What makes these Greek Meatballs Healthy?
- Lean turkey instead of the traditional lamb, beef, or a combination, or sometimes chicken.
- Baked not fried. Gasp! Traditional Keftedes are fried. I chose to bake these Greek meatballs to have a healthier end product. While we could have fried them in olive oil, I just did not find it necessary. I thought the meatballs were rich enough that you would enjoy them just the same. Baking them at a higher temperature really seemed to produce a similar result. Hopefully I was right, I look forward to you letting me know. It’s also easier to clean up and you can bake a lot more at one time so it’s quicker.
That’s it. Those were my two big stand outs when I was thinking of ways to make the Greek meatballs a little more healthy. As for ways in which to make the recipe. Well that is an entirely different story. Traditional Greek Meatballs or Keftedes is something of a misnomer in my research. It seems that everyone has their own take, their own “traditional” version, that’s why you’ll see so many different variations around.
Sometimes you will find them with potatoes, other times rice, and still others bread and milk. Each time claiming to be the correct way. I went with breadcrumbs – I found the even disbursement of the breadcrumbs appealing to the palate. However, I did soak them in dairy-free milk prior to adding them to the meat mixture. Another little calorie savings that you’ve probably noticed is popular around here. If you aren’t concerned with that, you can go ahead and use regular dairy milk.
One major toss up I saw were the herbs and spices combinations, so I went with my own from the beginning. Popular Greek seasonings for Keftedes and Greek Meatballs include (but are not limited to): mint, oregano, thyme, rosemary, cumin, cinnamon, dill, marjoram, garlic, and sage. I was serving these alongside some tzatziki sauce (you can make our version in a few simple steps) that is flavored with dill so I wanted to compliment that flavor profile.
I experimented with a few batches and decided that a calmer, more savory Greek Meatball was what I wanted to produce, so that’s what I’ll be delivering to you (in recipe form). A mouthwatering dill and oregano mini meatball that has hints of cumin in it. Pretty simple and widely appealing, at least that’s what I think.
Now one thing you simply must get it the 1.5 tablespoon scoop it will make creating these Greek Meatballs a breeze. You simply scoop, and release. Well, you may have to form the other side slightly, but for the most part it’s scoop and release. That’s it, magic.
However, don’t fret if you do not have a scoop, you can still make these meatballs, form and roll them in your hands as you would normally make a meatball. They will come together easily though they may be slightly less uniform so you’ll want to watch the cooking time a bit more. You can always cut into one to make sure it is done – the sacrifice for perfection I’m sure we all make it.
I choose turkey meat because it is leaner and we have been recommended to use lean proteins from our readings here for mental health and wellness. Turkey also contains various other benefits such as being high in niacin, B12, B6, and minerals. You’ll want to stick to the white meat for higher protein and less fat. For more reading about the health benefits of turkey please read Turkey: Nutrition, Calories, Benefits, and More.
How to serve these Healthy Greek Meatballs?
- As an appetizer: Simply serve them with tzatziki sauce, either homemade or your favorite brand if you are running short on time. These meatballs are ready to go right out of the oven. I find you can just put them out with toothpicks and let your guests go at them. They won’t last long.
- As a dinner: I’ve served them with a side of whole grains (ex: rice or quinoa), I’ve personally tried out brown rice, along with your favorite steamed vegetables. I went with broccoli. And of course, don’t forget that tzatziki sauce, again either homemade or your favorite brand. It really completes the dish!
- As a lunch: Similarly to dinner, serve them alongside your favorite grain and veggies. Pack them all together and reheat gently in a microwave. Be careful of your coworkers, they may try to steal it. And of course, bring along a side of tzatziki to complete your dish in a separate container.
That’s it, go forth and enjoy these meatballs as much as I have. And as always, please let us know how you made out in the comments!
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Healthy Greek Meatballs
These simple, yet filling, healthy turkey Greek meatballs are as scrumptious as they are aromatic. You’ll be a hit at your next party, the dinner table, or the lunch box. Paired with our tzatziki sauce you’ve got a complete dish – go ahead and get started!
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 25 1x
- Category: Appetizer, Meat & Poultry
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons dairy-free milk
- 1/2 red onion, small, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and end removed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 egg
- 16 ounces ground turkey meat
- 1 teaspoon dill, dried
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper (or several grinds)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a large foil lined baking pan.
- Combine the breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl.
- Take the onion and garlic and place them in your food processor, get them to a fine consistency (If you do not want to pull out your foot processor just mince the garlic/put it through a garlic press, and dice the onion). Then place in a medium saute pan with oil and saute for approximately 5 minutes until just browning. Cool. It should smell divine.
- Whisk the egg in a in a large bowl. Add the turkey meat.
- To that large bowl add: bread crumbs, dill, oregano, salt, cumin, pepper, and onion mixture. Combine well, I use my hands.
- Using a 1.5 tablespoon scoop (see head notes for a recommendation) or your hands, though they won’t be as consistent, make the meatballs and place on your baking pan. You should get approximately 25 meatballs.
- Place in the oven until 165 degrees F, approximately 10 minutes.
- Serve immediately with plain, with tzatziki sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce.
- You can store and reheat these meatballs gently in the oven or microwave for up to three days.
Keywords: turkey, red onion, dill, cumin, oregano, keftedes