Lamb Meatball Lettuce Cups with Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

Friends often ask me for appetizer recipes. Something new and out of the ordinary. Well, here ya go … make these, make these! Just make sure I make the invite list.

If you’re going to make lamb meatballs, this is the way to do it. Little flavor bombs packed with garlic, onion, parsley, oregano, mint, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. A beautiful combo of warm and earthy spices. Take a look at the instant element of presentation these little hand-held beauties provide … a welcoming sight to any guest.

So simple, so delicious, so pretty, and so unique. Don’t forget the homemade tzatziki sauce!

Lamb Meatball Lettuce Cups with Tzatziki Saucephoto 4 (1)Tzatziki Sauce

 

Lamb Meatball Lettuce Wraps:

Ingredients:

4 tsp olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 cup whole grain breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 tbsp dried parsley)
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/2 tbsp dried oregano)
1/2 tbsp chopped fresh mint (or 1 tsp dried mint)
2 tsp cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon, about 1 tsp
Kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste
2 heads of red leaf lettuce, washed, and inner leaves separated into cups
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium skillet, sweat onion and garlic in 2 tsp of olive oil over medium heat until translucent, about 4 minutes. Let cool and set aside.

Combine the rest of ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Add cooled onion and garlic mixture and mix well. Form mixture into 20 meatballs. Add 2 tsp of olive oil to a saute pan and sear meatballs on all sides for 5 minutes, rotating them as they brown. Do not overcrowd your pan. You will most likely have to brown the meatballs in 2 batches.

Add browned meatballs to a sheet tray and bake for 8 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve in lettuce cups with tzatziki sauce and chopped tomatoes.

Servings: 20 appetizers

Note: I like to use fresh herbs whenever possible, but dried herbs work as well.

{Recipe for Tzatziki Sauce below … you must make this recipe … cool, crisp, refreshing, and it pairs perfectly with lamb.}

photo 1photo 2photo 3

 

Tzatziki Sauce:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups 2% Greek yogurt
1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeds discarded, and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 spring onion, cleaned and sliced
2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Strain yogurt in a fine metal strainer or coffee filter for a couple of hours. This will remove some of the excess liquid and will thicken your yogurt.

Transfer yogurt to a small bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Makes: 2 cups

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7 thoughts on “Lamb Meatball Lettuce Cups with Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

  1. Whitney Ellis says:

    These were delicious! I really enjoyed the actual process of making the meatballs and anything served in a lettuce cup (sans carbs) is a winner in my opinion. I didn’t have time to wait for the yogurt to strain and I used 0% Greek yogurt, which I was a little nervous about, but it turned out really well and we LOVED it.

    Happy One Year Anniversary EAC!

    • emilyalwayscooks says:

      I love the process of making meatballs too, it’s therapeutic. I often times skip the straining process when I make tzatziki sauce as well, the sauce just ends up being slightly thinner. Also, 0% Greek yogurt works just as well. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  2. Marianne Burton says:

    Emily, I love this recipe and especially the sauce. I am from Germany and we put the Tzatziki Sauce on all of our grilled meats and everything else, like freshly baked breads…..great job!

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