Quick and Easy Lamb and Spinach Meatballs with Tzatziki
This recipe was sponsored by Philips Canada. Although I partnered with Philips Canada for this post, as always, all opinions are my own.
Everyone in my family LOVES meatballs. When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I literally ate 12 meatballs in one sitting one day. My daughters are always asking for meatballs to eat with their pasta – or on their own – and of course, my husband is a huge fan.
Meatballs are generally really easy to make; mix the meat with whatever ingredients you want, and fry. The issue is that frying meatballs makes a total mess of your stove and takes a while, too. All that oil, all that turning of the meatballs to cook each side evenly…GAH.
I know I can oven-bake meatballs, but I prefer the browned yumminess of a fried meatball. I’m not gonna lie; some things are just better fried. Sorry.
I was super lucky to have the opportunity to create some recipes for Philips with their Next Generation Airfryer, and my first one was these crispy avocado tacos. The Airfryer is pure magic, and already I’ve had friends and clients asking me if it’s worth buying one. My answer is a resounding ‘yes’, primarily because I’ve found it to be absolutely magical.
As I said above, some things are better fried, but the Airfryer manages to find that sweet spot between oven baked and fried, every. single. time. I’m talking crispy, browned outside, perfectly cooked inside – no matter what you’re making. It’s also simple to use: no preheating, minimal oil, dishwasher-safe (NO MORE scrubbing oily pans!!), small enough to fit on your counter, and consistent temperature. I’m always that person who throws food into the oil too early, before the oil is hot enough, ruining the first batch of whatever I’m making. Not with the Airfryer! My first batch of fries comes out as perfect as the last batch.
Plus, unlike some other air fryers, the Philips Airfryer doesn’t have a paddle-like contraption in the bottom that stirs (and messes) food up. Delicate items like the avocado in the crispy tacos remain shatteringly crisp and perfect with cooking. Unbelievable.
The Philips Next Generation Airfryer can cook anything, from chops to fries to brownies, so I decided to put its meat-cooking skills to the test. I mean, any airfryer can make fries, but meatballs? I wanted them to come out perfectly browned, but still juicy and flavourful.
I devised a Greek meatball recipe that has all the best things in it: lamb, spinach, feta cheese…OMG. And in the Airfryer, they take 11 minutes to make. NO oil required!
You’ll notice that it’s a two-step process to make these meatballs. That’s because I’m a firm believer in browning the onions and garlic before incorporating them into the meat. Believe me – the few extra minutes are TOTALLY worth it. The caramelized aromatics add another layer of depth to the recipe that renders it completely addictive. The entire cooking time for these meatballs is less than 30 minutes. I know you can get behind that!
Serve the meatballs with tzatziki (recipe below) and the classic horiatiki salad: chunks of cucumber and tomato with kalamata olives and feta, with a simple dressing olive oil, salt, and lemon juice. If you have fresh oregano, add some of that to the salad, too.
These quick lamb meatballs have feta, spinach, and pinenuts in them! Make up a batch for a satisfying dinner, served with tzatziki and a classic horiatiki salad
- 1.5 lb ground lamb
- 2 cups packed chopped spinach
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 cup minced onion
- 1/3 cup chopped pine nuts
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon very finely minced fresh oregano
- 1/2 cup finely crumbled feta
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup diced cucumber
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
In a heavy frying pan, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook on medium-low heat until thoroughly browned, around 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until the spinach is wilted and some of the liquid cooks off. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach mixture with the lamb, feta, pine nuts, oregano, and salt. Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
Working in batches, cook the meatballs at 325F for 11 minutes in the Airfryer.
If you’re making these meatballs without an Airfryer, add 3 tablespoons of oil to the same heavy pan you used for the aromatics and add the meatballs. Cook on medium-high heat, turning once, until browned and cooked through - around 5-7 minutes each side.
While the meatballs are cooking, combine all the ingredients for the tzatziki in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Serve with meatballs.