Everyone loves a good meatball. Especially a feta & meat ball spiked with salty cheese.
Well everyone except for our vegetarian and vegan friends :)
But the traditional formula of plain old meatballs in a tomato based sauce can get a little tired.
So when I spotted the meatballs spiked with chunks of salty feta in the Ottolenghi Simple book, I couldn’t wait to try it.
This is my own much more simple version. With just 4 ingredients in the actual balls.
The cinnamon is an Ottolenghi idea. I wouldn’t have thought of it myself and it adds a lovely subtle spice without being overtly cinnamony.
Even my Irishman who is a committed cinnamon hater loved them and couldn’t put his finger on the spice flavour.
I love them piled onto a plate of creamy almond hummus so you get the contrast of the hot salty, savoury meat and the cool creamy hummus.
Oh and if you are feeding a vegetarian, I’d hate them to miss out.
Feta & Meat Balls
- 500 g (1lb) ground (minced) beef or lamb
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 100 g (3.5oz) feta
- 75 g (2.5oz) almond meal
- 1.5 cups almond hummus or other hummus
- large bunch parsley or coriander to serve
- Turn your oven to 250C (480F).
- Combine meat, cinnamon, feta, almond meal and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Using clean hands and a soup spoon, scoop a soup spoon sized chunk and roll into a ball with your hands. Place in a baking dish large enough to hold the meatballs in a single layer (I line mine with baking paper so it looks prettier in the picture and is easier to clean up). Repeat with remaining mixture.
- Pop the balls in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until well browned on top and no longer pink in the middle.
- Divide hummus between 3 plates or shallow bowls. Top with hot meatballs and finish with parsley leaves.
Net Carbs: 11g/serve
Substitutions for Feta & Meat Balls
pantry-friendly – replace parsley with pesto and serve with frozen spinach sauteed in a little butter or extra virgin olive oil. You could also just skip the herbs.
short on time – skip the meatball forming and baking. Just brown the meat in a frying pan with a little oil and the cinnamon. Remove from heat and stir in almond meal and feta. Serve on the hummus as per recipe.
keto / ultra low carb – make sure you use my almond hummus. Or serve with mayonnaise instead.
dairy-free – replace feta with olives or roast chopped walnuts or pistachios or capers.
more substantial (carb lovers) – serve with warm pita or tortillas. Or steamed rice or pasta.
more substantial (low carb) – extra hummus, extra meat balls, avocado, roast almonds or walnuts.
Low FODMAP – skip almond hummus and serve with mayonnaise or lactose-free yoghurt and some low fodmap veg or steamed white rice.
different vegetables – serve with a green salad, grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini or grilled peppers or steamed greens or broccoli. Or any roast veg.
different protein – any minced (ground) meat will work including chicken or turkey. See vegetarian options above.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
ground (minced) beef or lamb – freeze it.
cinnamon / almond meal – keep them in the pantry.
feta – keeps for months unopened in its packet. Or can be frozen.
hummus – will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. Can be frozen.
parsley – will keep in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag for a few weeks. Can be frozen or make a parsley oil by packing the leaves into a clean jar and covering with extra virgin olive oil.
coriander – best to use for another meal. Can be frozen but will wilt when defrosted.
Problem Solving Guide
bland – next time use more salt in the balls. For now sprinkle with salt. A little chilli oil or hot sauce can help.
too dry – next time use higher fat meat or add a few tablespoons olive oil too the balls. Dryness could also be overcooked meat so again, next time set your timer and check earlier. For now a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or more hummus is the best option.
too oily – the excess fat will cook out of the balls and form a puddle in your tray. I scoop it out and serve it with the balls but you can always discard it if you prefer (chickens love it!). Next time choose leaner meat.
balls falling apart – next time roll them more firmly with your hands. And resist the urge to touch them when cooking. I don’t turn mine and just let them brown on the top. For now, just change the name to beef and feta with hummus and serve your crumbled balls on the hummus. It will still be delicious!
no oven – the balls can be cooked in a frying pan. Just be careful when turning that they don’t fall apart.
Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the hummus and herbs separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen (except the parsley). To serve, warm meatballs in the oven (200C / 400F) for about 10 mins then finish with hummus and parsley.
More recipes similar to Feta & Meat Balls
- Roast Cauli with Meatballs & Tahini Sauce
- Balsamic Cabbage and Sausages
- Green ‘Spaghetti’ & Meatballs
- Lebanese Omelette with Almond ‘Hummus’
- Simple Baked Meatballs
Have fun in the kitchen!