Prep 0 mins
Cook 25 mins
This is from the May 2004 issue of Prevention Magazine. I added extra feta so the initial point of reducing the fat content by using less feta cheese has been thrown out the window. The recipe calls for brown rice, an ideal way of using up leftover rice or you can use cooked orzo if you wish. Update: per the excellent advice of Chef Geist, I added 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the meat mixture. Good call, Chef Geist and thank you!
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1⁄2 tablespoon fresh Greek oregano or 3⁄4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1⁄4 cup finely minced onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (for this recipe I use feta with basil and sundried tomatoes)
- 1 lb organic ground beef or 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 small eggs (read NOTE) or 1 -2 tablespoon egg substitute (read NOTE)
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into thin slices
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- salt or fresh ground pepper
- *NOTE: If meat mixture does not want to bind, add a small egg or a little bit of egg substitute.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- In large bowl, combine rice, oregano, onion, garlic, cinnamon and 1/4 cup feta cheese. Stir in beef until combined. Do not overstir.
- In 13" x 9" greased baking dish arrange the zucchini slices in single layer. Grease a small ice cream scoop with olive oil then shape the meat mixture into sixteen 1 1/2" balls. Place the meatballs on top of zucchini and drizzle with the marinara sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cover baking dish with foil. Bake 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and no longer pink.
- Uncover, and top with remaining feta cheese.
- Let sit in oven for about 1 minute or until the feta melts.
Wow, this was simple, easy, original and tasty. A relatively quick (if you have leftover rice) weeknight recipe great served with a generous greek salad. I would suggest adding cinnamon to both the lamb and the marinara sauce. It gives the dish a moussaka aura that goes very well with lamb, tomatoes and zucchini. The trick of using an ice cream spoon is both simple and genius: it leaves the hands clean, it gives the meatballs a nice flavourful olive oil dressing and gives them a rustic kind of look. Thanks for sharing!
DH and I both liked this. I really enjoyed the texture of the meatballs. I liked it even better the next day, when I mashed a meatball, some sauce and cheese into a rolled-up pita for lunch.
We were not wild over these. I thought the oregano and garlic were overpowering (even though we love garlic) and that there wasn't a whole lot of other flavor. To be fair, I didn't have any brown rice so I used white, and that could have affected the flavor some. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. I've always baked my meatballs - never fried them - and yet I thought that these didn't have the same flavor as the ones I usually make. All I tasted was oregano and garlic.