Taste: Fresh parsley, lemon zest and feta cheese bring the wow to these meatballs

Fresh parsley, lemon zest and feta cheese turn and everyday food like meatballs into something extra special.
Fresh parsley, lemon zest and feta cheese turn and everyday food like meatballs into something extra special.

To say that I’m obsessed with Mediterranean food would be a bit of an understatement.

Whenever the gyro people come to town I need to grab one of those delicious lamb and veggie wraps. I’ve been known to hit up the Arby’s drive-thru for one occasionally, as well, when the craving strikes and I don’t have the bandwidth to tackle a Mediterranean meal myself.

When I do, I go all out — pickled red onions, tzatziki from scratch. But one thing I haven’t tried is gyros from scratch.

Authentic gyros are prepared like meatloaf and cooked on an upright spit, which is something my kitchen isn’t equipped with, and I’m guessing most others aren’t either.

Alton Brown has a whole episode of “Good Eats” dedicated to gyros, “My Big Fat Greek Sandwich,” in which he rigs a grill with a spit to slow roast the gyro loaf. The episode also features an oven-based adaptation cooking the gyros like a meatloaf.

I have yet to try this at home.

But I was intrigued when I found this recipe for Greek meatballs. Anyone who's made meatballs and meatloaf knows that the two can be interchangeable up until the point the meat gets put into a loaf pan or gets dished out into balls.

I love the idea of taking those gyro flavors and turning them into little meatballs. They're perfect to stuff into a pita and drizzle with tzatziki.

I used pork and lamb as the base for my meatballs, but the lamb can be substituted with beef.

With bright flavors like Italian parsley and lemon zest, combined with earthy flavors of cumin and coriander and rounded out with the tangy bite of feta, these meatballs aren’t just something to smother in barbecue sauce. They taste great on a fresh-made pita or even just on their own with some tzatziki.

Most everyone loves meatballs. They’re one of those foods that are kinda hard to screw up. But when they’re right, they’re amazing.

Of course, a simple mixture of meats, bread crumbs, seasoning and eggs is going to taste great, but to get this combination of flavors together, it makes something special.

Would a simpler recipe or even pre-made, frozen meatballs work? Sure. But taking the time and spending the little bit extra on ingredients means more than a delicious dish.

Spend that extra time and effort to make a really good meal for someone you love, even if that someone is yourself. It is always worth it in the end. Take care of each other, take care of yourself.

Greek meatballs


  • 1 pound ground lamb.

  • 1 pound ground pork.

  • ½ cup plain breadcrumbs.

  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped.

  • ⅓ cup grated onion.

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced.

  • Zest of 1 lemon.

  • 2 eggs.

  • 2 teaspoons of oregano.

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander.

  • 1 teaspoon cumin.

  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt.

  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper.

  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese.


  • Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

  • Combine all meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix everything together until the meat is uniformly combined with the other ingredients.

  • Use a small cookie scoop or ¼-cup measuring cup to portion out the meatballs. Roll each meatball between your hands to shape it and then arrange them on the prepared baking sheet.

  • Bake in the preheated oven from 10 to 14 minute, until they are nicely brown and cooked through.

Recipe adapted from House of Nash Eats at https://houseofnasheats.com/baked-greek-feta-meatballs/.

This article originally appeared on Aberdeen News: Fresh parsley, lemon zest and feta cheese jazz up meatball recipe