You know that feeling when you need an appetizer dish for a potluck, you have less than two hours until you need to be there, you aren’t ready yet so a trip to the store is out of the question, and you don’t want to buy something because of course you signed up to bring something hot and not chips and salsa? That’s how this recipe came to exist in our lives about seven years ago, because I am the perpetual over-committer. But we have really juicy, delicious meatballs that taste amazing, and are just a little different than your “usual” meatball recipe, so maybe in this situation a little over-commitment turned out for the best.
The recipe has varied slightly over the years, and the lemon dipping sauce is a new addition that I really love. I think it adds a nice bright contrast to the spinach feta meatballs, even though the meatballs are really incredible on their own. Even though these are made of ground turkey, which is generally lower in fat than the ground beef used for meatballs, they’re still moist, with a nice texture, and the flavor contrast provided by the salty feta cheese and savory spinach. Would you like to know how we manage that in a gluten free meatball?
During my Whole30 at the beginning of this year, the Godfather figured out the secret to making really juicy meatballs without using breadcrumbs as a filler. Using almond meal results in meatballs that aren’t dense and retain just the right amount of moisture, making the texture perfect for just about any dish where you’d want to use a meatball.
Feel free to shape the meatballs by hand, but I always use a cookie scoop like this one to measure out meatballs so they’re all approximately the same size. That way, they cook evenly and then they look better on a platter and no one holds up the serving line hunting out the biggest meatballs. There’s one at every gathering. 😉
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground turkey or chicken
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp ground pepper
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ c almond meal
- 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
- ⅓ c mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- zest from 1 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
- ¼ tsp dill
- 1 tsp olive oil
- In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together the lemon dipping sauce ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until serving. This can be made up to a day or two in advance.
- Preheat your oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a silicone baking mat.
- Place a skillet over medium heat and warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes or so until the garlic is fragrant, but doesn't burn. If you are using fresh spinach (I usually do), add the spinach to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently until wilted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool 3-5 minutes.
- Combine the turkey, egg, salt, pepper, almond meal, spinach, and garlic oil in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Stir in the crumbled feta.
- Use a 1 tbsp cookie scoop or measuring spoon to measure out even meatball portions and then roll into balls.
- Bake for about 12 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Remove from the heat and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving with the dipping sauce.