Homemade meatballs are simple to make, super tasty, and so much better for you than the over-processed, frozen variety. This no-frills recipe comes together in minutes and can very easily be frozen for future use. Or, even better, double the recipe, make a batch now and freeze one for later! They make a wonderful appetizer when paired with the creamy, herbed yogurt sauce, but can also be used in pasta dishes, sub sandwiches, etc.
There are many ways to do meatballs. Swedish meatballs are often covered with a rich gravy and served with lingonberry jam. The Italian variety that we’re used to seeing paired with spaghetti are often seasoned with herbs such as oregano, basil, and rosemary. Our version is seasoned with a hefty dose fresh zaatar.
You may now ask what is zaatar? It's a delicious zesty Mediterranean spice mix with mainstay ingredients (if premium brand) of wild thyme (native to Middle East region), sumac, and sesame seeds. Za'atar is a great way to add a delicious Mediterranean flair to just about any dish. Zaatar even offers health benefits.
The wild thyme, sumac, and roasted sesame seeds give these meatballs a distinctive, zesty flavor that pairs beautifully with the accompanying herbed yogurt sauce, but can also stand up to the heartiest of marinara sauces. If you’ve never tried cooking with zaatar before, this recipe is a great excuse to buy some! It’s important, however, to choose a reputable zaatar brand that is honest about its ingredients with no unknown fillings and substitutes.
Zaatar Meatballs with Herbed Yogurt Sauce
Prep Time: 15 mins, Cook Time: 15 mins, Total Time: 30 mins
Serving Size: 3-4 meatballs + 2 tbsp. sauce
Calories: 325, Fat: 18g, Protein: 30g, Carbs: 10g, Fiber: 0g
1 lb. ground beef
¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated Romano cheese
¼ cup minced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
3 tablespoons Zaatar
Olive oil for cooking
For the Herbed Yogurt Sauce:
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice
- For the meatballs, combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a large bowl and mix with hands until well combined.
- Scoop the mixture using a cookie scoop or tablespoon and gently roll between palms to form uniform balls. (The meatballs can be frozen at this point, if desired. Simply place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and place in the freezer until frozen solid. Then transfer the frozen meatballs to a large freezer bag.
- Preheat several tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the meatballs and cook, turning often, until browned on all sides. Season with additional Zaatar while cooking, if a more intense flavor is desired.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- For the herbed yogurt sauce, mix the herbs and lemon juice into the Greek yogurt, mix until well combined, and transfer to a small serving bowl.
- Arrange the meatballs on a serving platter and serve warm with the herbed yogurt sauce.