Greek inspired baked lamb meatballs on top of easy sun dried tomato orzo with a swoosh of luscious whipped feta is an impressive (and surprisingly easy!), and delicious meal that everyone will love.
I LOVE this recipe. It’s a Big Delicious Life reader favorite! Super flavorful, Greek inspired meatballs made with ground lamb, served on top of a veggie packed sun-dried tomato orzo pasta and finished with a dollop of creamy, salty whipped feta cheese.
This is one of those dishes that will have everyone asking you for the recipe. I guarantee it will be a huge hit with the whole family!
If you’re in a dinner rut, this recipe is exactly what you need to mix it up. I also recommend you try another fan favorite, my Sheet Pan Teriyaki Salmon with Baby Bok Choy.
Why you will love this recipe
- It’s a relatively easy recipe for a weeknight meal but also perfect for company or a special occasion. The entire dish comes together in about 40 minutes.
- The meatballs are baked, not fried in a skillet. While the meatballs cook, you can easily pull together the other components.
- It’s flexible. I definitely recommend using ground lamb but if that’s not your thing, you can make it with ground beef, turkey or even chicken. You can also make this gluten free just by subbing in gluten free orzo – the meatball mixture does not have breadcrumbs.
- It’s exploding with delicious mediterranean flavors and absolutely delicious!
This fresh and flavorful dish is made with simple ingredients.
- Ground Lamb – this delicious protein is easily found in most grocery stores. If they don’t have it at the butcher counter, look around in the packaged meat section. I always find it at Whole Foods.
- Onion and garlic – sweet or yellow onion and fresh garlic cloves. I would not recommend using red onion.
- Fresh Herbs – parsley and mint. Fresh parsley is a non-negotiable. If you don’t have fresh mint, you can omit.
- Dried Oregano – you can use fresh if you want. For every teaspoon of dried oregano, substitute one tablespoon of fresh.
- Cumin – cumin really brings out the flavor in lamb. It’s a match made in heaven!
- Orzo Pasta – a short grain pasta that looks just like rice.
- Sun-dried Tomatoes – I prefer to use oil packed sun dried tomatoes. To me they are less chewy and packed with flavor from the oil.
- Baby Spinach – a few handfuls.
- Feta cheese – salty, creamy feta rounds out the flavors and textures in this dish.
- Greek Yogurt – a dollop of Greek Yogurt in the whipped feta makes it so creamy.
- Olive Oil
- Lemon – fresh lemon juice and zest.
- Salt and pepper – I love a little cayenne pepper for some heat. Black pepper also works.
This dish has three different components but I promise you, it’s way easier than it looks.
Start by prepping the veggies. Cut the onion in half and grate one half for the meatballs and finely dice the other half for the orzo. Mince 3 cloves of garlic, two for the meatballs and one for the orzo.
Chop up your fresh herbs – I always add a little extra to set aside for sprinkling on top for a pop of color.
Use your hands to break apart the ground lamb and add it to a large bowl. Breaking up the meat before adding the rest of the ingredients helps prevent over mixing it which can give you tough meatballs. Add grated onion, garlic, fresh herbs, cumin, dried oregano, lemon zest, kosher salt and pepper and gently combine the lamb mixture with your hands just until everything comes together.
Coat your hands in a bit of olive oil and use a cookie scoop to portion out the meatball mixture. Roll gently with oiled hands to form the shape and place them in a single layer about an inch apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Put the meatballs in the oven to bake at 425 degrees f for about 18-20 minutes until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees. While the meatballs are baking, make the orzo and whipped feta.
Add the feta, greek yogurt, and olive oil to a food processor and whip on high until smooth and creamy. Set aside in the fridge while you make the orzo.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté for for a few minutes until translucent. Add in minced garlic and orzo and cook for another few minutes until garlic is fragrant and orzo is lightly toasted. Keep stirring while you do this.
Pour the broth into the skillet and stir, scraping up any pasta that sticks to the bottom of the pan. Bring it to a simmer and then add in chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for about 8 minutes or until orzo is al dente. You can add in a bit more broth if it looks dry before the pasta is cooked. During the last minute of cooking, add in the baby spinach and stir until it wilts into the orzo. Finish with the juice of half a lemon.
How to plate this dish
You can serve it plated or family style. For plated, start with a bed of orzo on one side of the plate. Place a few Greek lamb meatballs on top or in the middle of the plate. Add a swoosh of whipped feta to the other side of the plate and finish it all with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and mint.
For family style, add orzo to one half of the platter and meatballs to the other half. Sprinkle fresh herbs over the entire platter and serve with whipped feta in a separate dish on the side.
What to serve with lamb meatballs
This dish really is a complete, balanced meal on it’s own. If you would like to add some accompaniments, I recommend:
- Warm fluffy pita bread or pita chips – the extra whipped feta is the perfect dip.
- Simple green salad or a refreshing cucumber salad.
- Babaganoush and/or hummus with crunchy fresh cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, carrots and pita chips.
Recipe and storage tips
- For best results, make the recipe components in the order outlined in the post. This will help you have everything ready at the same time!
- Use orzo pasta. I don’t recommend using any other shape. It just doesn’t have the same vibe.
- Break up the ground lamb into the bowl before you add vegetables, herbs and spices. This increases the surface area for the add-ins to distribute throughout the ground meat without overmixing it. Overmixing ground meat can lead to tough, chewy meatballs.
- Get in there with your hands! They are the best tools for making perfect meatballs.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. I recommend storing the whipped feta separately from the meatballs and orzo.
No. Orzo looks almost exactly like rice but it is pasta! To make this dish gluten free, you can easily substitute gluten-free orzo.
You can use ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken in this recipe. Most ground lamb is about 17-20% fat so whatever meat you use, be sure to use something with a good amount of fat content so your meatballs are not dry.
Yes. You can easily freeze cooked or uncooked meatballs. Place them on a parchment lined baking dish and put them in the freezer until hardened. Transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Frozen meatballs are great to have on hand for an easy dinner.
More favorite dinner recipes to try
Greek Meatballs with Sun-dried Tomato Orzo and Whipped Feta
For the Meatballs:
- 1 pound ground lamb
- ½ large onion grated
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ lemon (zest)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper replace with black pepper for no heat
For the Orzo:
- 1 cup dry orzo pasta
- ½ large onion finely diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
- 2 cups vegetable broth maybe an extra half cup
- ½ lemon juiced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Whipped Feta:
- 7 ounce package of feta cheese
- ¼ cup full fat Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut one onion in half. Grate one half of the onion and finely dice the other half. Set the diced onion aside for the orzo.
- Mince three cloves of garlic. Set aside one clove for the orzo
- Chop up parsley and mint. Chop a little extra for garnishing plates at the end.
- In a large bowl place ground lamb, grated onion, two cloves minced garlic, mint, parsley, cumin, oregano, lemon zest, salt and cayenne pepper. Mix gently with hands until combined. Do not over mix!
- Coat hands in a little bit of oil and form meat mixture into tablespoon sized balls. Place on a baking sheet with a little space between them. This makes about 12-15 meatballs. Bake for 18-20 minutes until meatballs are browned and cooked through.
- While the meatballs are baking, prepare the orzo. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil on medium heat. Add in onion and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in garlic and orzo and cook for another 2-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant and orzo is toasted. Stirring frequently.
- Add 2 cups broth to the skillet and stir, scraping up any orzo that sticks to the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and add in sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently until orzo is al dente. Add in a little bit more broth if it becomes too dry. During the last minute of cooking, wilt in 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves. Once orzo is cooked and spinach is wilted, squeeze in juice of half a lemon. Check for seasoning and set aside.
- In a food processor add feta, greek yogurt and 2 tbsp olive oil. Whip on high until smooth and creamy.
- To serve, place a serving of orzo on one side of the plate. Arrange meatballs on top. Dollop or swoosh whipped feta on the other side and garnish plate with more fresh mint and parsley. Serve immediately.
SO delish!! Flavors were spot-on!!
Reco pre-prep for Moms or slow cookers!
I tried my Bullet to blend feta-not a great idea;).
So glad you enjoyed it! Definitely one of my favorites.
If feeding a gluten free person, do you think it would turn out right if the orzo were replaced with rice? Prefer not to have to make extra dishes if I can help it.
Hi Michele! I have not tried it with rice and since it has a much longer cook time, I don’t think it would come out right using the same method. I’ve seen a few brands that make gluten free orzo!
So good! And heated up well for leftovers so we were thrilled! Definitely will add this to the rotation 🙂
I’m so glad you enjoyed this! Definitely one of my favorites.
I just made this for my family… I have a range of picky eaters but I refuse to make bland food. This was one of those meals where the entire table was quiet, heads down, shoveling food into their mouthes. After EVERYONE went back for seconds, they said “this was really good”!
This makes me so incredibly happy!
This recipe was easy, relative fast and loved by everyone from my picky grandmother to my 2nd grader. We used beef instead of lamb (just didn’t have lamb on hand). Can’t wait to try again with lamb!!!!
I’m somewhat shocked how fantastic this dish was given how easy it was too put together. Ready in 40 minutes, easy to follow instructions, jam packed with all the flavour. This will be a staple in my kitchen. So will this simple, delicious sauce. Would go well on breads, veg, etc. Can’t wait to try more!
I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe!
I made this dish last night and OMG WAS IT EVER GOOD!!! I used dark meat ground chicken for the meatballs and they were still full of flavour – I imagine they would be even better with ground lamb as the recipe calls for or ground beef. The orzo was also super flavourful and I love how it came together while the meatballs were in the oven. Not just a delicious recipe, but an efficient one too. From start to finish it all took me about 40 minutes. This recipe really was spot on and it’s going into the regular rotation. You have to try it!!!
So So So Delicious!! A huge hit with my family from the husband to the five year olds. My husband doesn’t love lamb and my daughters don’t love spinach but everybody loved this meal. I will be making this again and again!
This sounds as though it will be delicious so I’m going to make fish in the next few days. I’m going to be very, very picky. Black pepper is a seasoning as well as a spice. For those who might be new to cooking I suggest that instead of saying if you don’t want spice, (of cayenne pepper) replace it with heat. Many Home Economics students don’t know the difference between the terms spice, spicy, seasoning and heat.
Soooo delicious!! I especially liked the lamb meatballs (super easy, and healthy) and the whipped feta. Don’t skip the whipped feta! I’ll definitely be using this a ton. My husband used the leftovers like hummus. Yum Yum. Thanks for another great recipe!
I’m SO happy you enjoyed it! I love using the leftover whipped feta as dip. Your husband has the right idea!
I made this dish last night for my husband and I. The whipped feta was a hit, and I love lamb. This is also a great way to cook orzo and add some fresh spinach. Delicious, balanced and healthy!
This was such a satisfying lunch for my dad and I. Will definitely be making it again!
This is EVERYTHING! The flavors in the meatballs were absolutely perfect with the sundried tomatoes and whipped feta! I will be making this constantly!
Jess, this recipe is a game changer! I made these meatballs twice last week because my husband and I both loved it so much! The whipped feta really brought out all of the flavors too! This meal was too delicious 😍😍
I love anything that is Mediterranean inspired! The lamb meatballs are so good!
Lamb is my go to red meat so this recipe was ideal for my family. The orzo was also a nice treat because I tend not to use it very often. Simply delicious!
Wow what a delicious dish! I loved everything from the orzo, to the sundried tomatoes to the whipped feta! Absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to make it again!