Lamb meatballs


This recipe originates here for me; a recommendation from Lindsay.


The sauce

  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 of a medium onion, minced (1/4 of the onion is in the meatballs)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) chicken broth
  • 250 ml (1 cup) marinara sauce

The meatballs

  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 25 ml (1 1/2 tablespoons) Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 onion, finely minced
  • 4-8 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 8 ml (1 1/2 teaspoons) kosher salt
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) ground pepper
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) ground cumin
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
  • 1 ml (1/4 teaspoon) ground coriander
  • 1 ml (1/4 teaspoon) cayenne pepper
  • 500 g (~1 pound) ground lamb
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) chopped mint


Meatballs can be made prior to the sauce, or while it simmers. Meatballs cook in the oven at 450 °F; preheat the oven now if making them in succession.

Step 1: start the sauce with the eggplant

Combine eggplant, olive oil, salt and black pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until eggplant begins to soften, about 5 minutes.

Step 2: add onions and spices

Mix in minced onion and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium; cook and stir until onion softens, 4 minutes.

Step 3: add chicken broth and marinara

Stir in chicken broth and marinara sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce mixture has reduced by half, about 30 minutes.

Step 4: start the meatballs

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Do it now, before your hands are meatmessy.

Whisk bread crumbs, egg, and Greek yogurt in a large bowl until the bread crumbs absorb all the liquid, about 3 minutes.

Step 5: add onion and spices

Mix onions, garlic, Kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and cayenne into the bread crumb mixture.

Step 6: add lamb

Crumble lamb into bread crumb spice mixture.

Step 7: form the meatballs

Form lamb mixture into small meatballs and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Place baking sheet into the preheated oven (450 °F) and bake until browned, but still pink inside, about 10 minutes.

Step 8: combine meatballs and sauce

Remove meatballs from the oven and stir into simmering sauce. Simmer over low heat until sauce begins to thicken, 30 to 45 minutes.

Garnish with chopped fresh mint.