Keftedes | Greek Meatballs

Keftedes
We flatten ours a bit. Traditionally, they are rolled per instructions below. Photo by Jane Kleiman
    42 mins
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Keftédes (κεφτέδες) may be one of the best Greek appetizers (mezé) around! They are little round meatballs served with sauces like tzatziki and not what you might be used to seeing with meatballs - pasta.

There are many recipes for this dish and I personally love them all. Each time I travel to Greece, I always get these at the different tavernas. Each chef stands behind their version, and I’ve got into a few conversations with owners/fellow patrons about the tastes and or their recommendations.

One of the things that really stand out to me while having this is since it is literally meat and spices, you really get to taste all the ingredients used.

For me, I love oregano and garlic together - so this recipe highlights that. It is the play of herbs perfectly balanced with the strong presence of the garlic and onions that I think works so nicely.

There have been times where I’ve added lemon juice and even feta. I would recommend using this as a solid base, and add in a few other ingredients you love or think would taste good. IF left unaltered, it will still be delicious, but I always encourage people to alter and improve and cook to their preferences.

So give these a try and let me know what you think!

Have a good version? Let us know about it! Because who doesn’t love some good keftedes?

What You'll Need

  • 1lb ground lamb (if unavailable, beef can be used or a mixture of the two)
  • 4 slices white bread, broken into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3 tablespoons oregano* (See notes below - mint is traditionally used)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup olive oil, for frying
  • ground black pepper to taste

How to Make It

  1. Put milk in a mixing bowl and add in bread pieces.

  2. Add onion, garlic, oregano (or mint), salt and pepper in blender and blend until onion is finely chopped.

  3. Add chopped mixture to bowl with milk and bread.

  4. Add ground lamb (or beef) and eggs to bowl and mix everything together

  5. Pour flour onto a plate, big enough to roll meatballs.

  6. Take a piece of meat mixture and roll into a tiny ball.

  7. Roll in flour, coating the entire meatball–shake off excess.

  1. Repeat until all meat mixture is used.

  2. Heat pan with olive oil over med-high heat.

  3. Add meatballs and cook until they reach a nice brown color

  4. Cook until no pink or desired preference.

  5. Remove from oil and let sit on paper towel. Pat dry to remove excess oil

  6. Serve with some tzatziki or ouzo!

Notes

* Traditionally, it’s made with mint – however, we’re not big fans of it. If you would like to use it, substitute oregano for 2 tablespoons of diced mint.