My boyfriend and I went to Freeport, Bahamas a year ago over Christmas holiday. There was a big cold front that came rolling in and we were not prepared for it! We desperately needed jackets and gloves but of course it was the Bahamas and there were none to be found. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time indoors. One of my favorite “indoor” spots while we were there was this wonderful Greek restaurant we found. I know it sounds strange – Greek in the Bahamas? We actually went twice over those few days, it was that good!
From that point forward I’ve had a new found love for Greek food and I wanted to capture all the delicious flavors found in so many Greek dishes in one of my appetizers for the wine party. Stuffed with orzo, mint, oregano and fat free feta cheese, these lamb and beef meatballs are a real mouth-pleaser. I knew there would be a deep red wine that would pair well with their sweet spices and deep flavors. Bathed in a sauce of tomatoes and eggplant, they stand up well enough to be a meal on their own.
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 lb lean ground beef (97/3)
- 6 oz fat free feta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/8 cup chopped fresh oregano
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 small eggplant, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 28 oz van crushed tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon, divided
- 1 Tbsp cumin, plus 2 tsp
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt, plus 2 tsp
- 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet (or two) with cooking spray.
Cook the pasta according to package directions, rinse and drain. In a large bowl, combine the pasta with the lamb, beef, feta, eggs, mint, oregano and parsley. Add 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp cumin, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp kosher salt and 1 Tbsp black pepper. Mix all ingredients together with your hands until distributed evenly.
With wet hands, form 1 inch balls and place evenly on the baking sheet(s). Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet on medium-high coated with cooking spray, sauté the eggplant, stirring frequently, until tender and lightly browned. Add in the tomatoes, remaining cinnamon, cumin and salt and stir to combine.
Lightly toss the meatballs with the sauce and serve.
*I made the meatballs and sauce the night before, chilled them overnight and heated them up in my crock pot the next day.
Servings: 20 Serving Size: 3 meatballs with 1/8 cup sauce
Calories: 157 Fat: 5.3g Sat. Fat: 2g Carbs: 13.8g
Sodium: 552.2mg Fiber: 2.5g Sugar: 2.2g Protein: 13.1g