A Greek twist on the Italian classic, your family will love these flavor-packed gluten-free meatballs seasoned with oregano, allspice, and garlic.
I’m pretty certain my husband would eat anything in meatball form. I can’t say I blame him.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Your fork is waiting.
Keftedes: Baked Greek Meatballs
- 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)
- 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.)
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!
So happy to hear she enjoyed them!!!! Thank you Stephen!!
I grew up on my yiayias’ keftethes and salata patatas and augolemono soup….not italian…..greek, Greek. Greek…
Oh yes that sounds incredible!!
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!
I’m so glad you enjoyed them!!
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!
I love Greek oregano so much!
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
Hi Anna, I’m sorry these upset you. That said, if you haven’t tasted them, you should try them. They’re delicious!
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.
Followed the recipe to the letter (using ground beef) and these just came out terribly dry and without much taste.
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!!
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!
Great tips Kathy! Oopa!
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
Hey Cali! Not sure what you’re referring to? Regardless feel free to make it how you love it!!! :) ENJOY!
I am loving the spices you chose! Totally agree about baking the meatballs. This is going to be a hit at my house.
I hope you love them!
What a fabulous appetizer these made at my party. I didn’t make any changes to the recipe & it was loved by everyone.
So glad you enjoyed!
My husband’s favorite is meatballs too! And I love that you included allspice in the mix!!
YES !! So good!
This needs to happen soon for dinner! Love the Greek flavors going on for these meatballs!
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.
SO glad to hear!!
Can you make this with ground turkey?
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.
Hi Gia, I’m very familiar with keftedes. In the Syrian cuisine we have kafta. I hope you enjoy the recipe!