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Keftedes: Baked Greek Meatballs

A Greek twist on the Italian classic, your family will love these flavor-packed gluten-free meatballs seasoned with oregano, allspice, and garlic.

Greek Meatballs Plated

I’m pretty certain my husband would eat anything in meatball form. I can’t say I blame him.

greek meatballs with rice and vermicell HR

There is just something about having a platter of meatballs for dinner that puts a smile on his face and I’m happy to oblige.

Vietnamese Fresh Rolls with BBQ Pork Meatballs - The Lemon Bowl

We typically go the Italian route with Beef and Ricotta and I’m a huge fan of Vietnamese BBQ Pork Meatballs but this time I decided to give them a Greek spin.

Liz Cracking Egg
Making Meatballs

My husband’s favorite herb is oregano and I couldn’t resist adding a little allspice that I had on hand from creating my Lebanese All-Purpose Spice Blend.

Liz Grating Garlic
raw meatballs being placed on a cookie sheet

How to cut down calories and fat in meatballs:

To cut down on calories and fat, I always bake my meatballs in a 350-degree oven for around 20 minutes or until browned on both sides.

Fat is not the enemy but I would much rather brown vermicelli in clarified butter (ghee) or drizzle the finished dish with extra virgin olive oil than waste hundreds of calories simply browning the meatballs.

Baked Greek Meatballs Recipe

Meat Options:

We used ground beef this time around because it was what we had on hand but feel free to use ground lamb, bison, or turkey. As an added bonus, these are naturally gluten-free.

Greek Meatballs 19 WEB

Your fork is waiting.

greek meatballs with rice and vermicell

Keftedes: Baked Greek Meatballs

4.11 stars average
A Greek twist on the Italian classic, your family will love these flavor-packed meatballs seasoned with oregano, allspice and garlic.
PREP: 10 mins
COOK: 25 mins
TOTAL: 35 mins
Pin Recipe
Servings: 4

Ingredients
 

  • 20 ounces ground beef ((or lamb, turkey, etc.))
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley (minced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (grated)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Place ground meat in the bottom of a medium bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Use your hands and mix together ingredients until everything is fully incorporated.
  • Using a small cookie scoop, form mixture into evenly sized meatballs and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. (Makes 28-30 total meatballs.)
    Easy Greek Meatballs

Notes

Serve with Lebanese Rice Pilaf if you wish. 

Nutrition

Serving: 4meatballsCalories: 204kcalCarbohydrates: 3.8gProtein: 35gFat: 5.3gSaturated Fat: 2.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 758mgFiber: 1.1gSugar: 0.9g
SHOW AND TELL ON INSTAGRAM!Show me your creation and rate it below! Mention @thelemonbowl or tag #thelemonbowl! I would LOVE to see!
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Liz DellaCroce

Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families.

72 Comments

  1. I made these last night for my girlfriend, who is SUPER picky ( In a good way).
    She loved them, so I’ll be making them again!

  2. Tried these last night using 85% lean ground turkey (and no cayenne) and they came out amazing! My cookie scoop produced 19 (!) meatballs, which was fine. My husband and I both loved them. I was shocked by how much flavor they had. Will definitely be making these again. Awesome to find things that work well with my husband’s Noom diet plan (he’s lost 70 lbs.!). Thank you!

  3. Speaking as a Greek I don’t think that I’ve ever seen cheese in keftethes, let alone parmesan cheese! But if you really want to add cheese may I suggest a Greek cheese? Crumbled feta or grated kasseri which melts nicely. I wouldn’t use Halloumi unless you mince it as it doesn’t melt or even soften much but it’s got great flavor. I’d also be sure to use Greek oregano as Mexican oregano has a bit of a different flavor that works best with Mexican dishes. Also, you’ve omitted fresh mint and that’s a given for keftethes. Nutmeg, cumin too. A bit of lemon zest really makes it nice. There are variations of Keftethes/Kofta all over the Middle East. Greeks like them plain with tzatziki sauce for dipping or bathed in a velvety avgolemono sauce. So those are my unsolicited tips for making them a bit more authentic. I hope that you don’t mind!

    1. There is absolutely nothing greek about these meatballs other than the oregano. Parsley is added to the rice meatballs in tomato sauce that we as greeks enjoy but never keftedakia. And Parmesan cheese, cayenne and tomato paste are a definite no no in keftedakia. I wish people would not create recipes and call them Greek just because they added oregano or Feta. These might be tasty meatballs but there is nothing Greek about them

      1. Decent recipe. I would hesitate to call these “ a Greek take on an Italian classic” most of the foods the average American associates with being Italian are not in fact Italian. There needs to be some food anthropology here.

      1. Hi Rebecca, I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy these! I’m so surprised, they are a very popular recipe. Did you remember the egg? Did you add in the parsley? How about the salt and allspice? I’d love to help you make these a success next time!!

      2. Greeks will soak day old bread in milk or water for a few hours or overnight. Pita is great for this & about 6 oz should work. Squeeze out the liquid, tear into small pieces & add this to your meat mixture. I actually add everything to the wet, squeezed bread forming a kind of paste, THEN tear apart the flavored mix and add to the meat. Either way the soaked bread should solve your problem along with frying in a good olive oil instead of baking, which in itself is drying. Before frying dredge the meatballs in flour which helps seal in moisture & gives a bit of a crispy outside that contrasts nicely with the moist, tender inside. Hope this helps & good luck!

        1. I made these last year. FABULOUS! I have made them more than once since then.. I made them for a party. I came back to check something..and I saw you updated it this year. Why did you halve the ingredients?? I’m holding onto ” the original”..chuckle

        2. I am loving the spices you chose! Totally agree about baking the meatballs. This is going to be a hit at my house.

        3. I did love them. Will keep the recipe! I made minis..using ice cream scoop… small. I .DOUBLED the recipe for an event…since you said one batch made 30+. …the double recipe made FORTY. I needed more near 60. And I certainly didnt have time to make any more.. I was extremely disappointed there weren’t enough!! That’s the 3 stars. Five for taste.

        4. I have to comment!! Thse are not a “Greek twist on an italian classic”!! They are called keftedes. Not everything is Italian. Greek cuisine has been around for over 2000 years.. a bit of research and you would have know about keftedes.

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