I first made these several years ago when one of my close friends asked me to host a jewelry party at my house. She had just started her own business and this “Tupperware-like” party was her kick-off!
Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I am incapable of having people over to the house without feeding them. Especially at dinner time. Others may crack open a jar of salsa and a bag of Tostitos — NOT ME! Three days of cooking ensued.
Aside from the manchego stuffed dates, one of the most popular apps that night were these little turkey meatballs. They are loaded with fresh vegetables including zucchini and onion with salty bites of capers and sweet-chewy hits of sun-dried tomatoes.
They’re simple to make and since they can be made in advance, they were perfect for this party. Start by combining the sauteed vegetables with fresh bread crumbs, chopped capers and tomatoes along with an egg.
Then add the turkey and mix well. Roll the mixture into bite sized meatballs and arrange on a prepared baking sheet. Bake the meatballs until they’re cooked through. If you’re not serving them immediately, they can be refrigerated for several days (or frozen for up to a month).
Tzatziki is a mediterranean-style sauce made with cucumber, yogurt and mint. It should be made the day of serving and it can’t be frozen, but it’s very simple to prep and comes together quickly.
It complements everything from lamb to pork to poultry. You can serve it with gyros or in this case, as the perfect condiment to go with these outstanding meatballs. To make this a more substantial bite, serve the meatballs slider-style with the tzatziki on little dinner rolls (I like Martin’s) with a few leaves of peppery arugula.
Serve these at your next gathering and enjoy the compliments!
mediterrenean turkey meatballs
- 2 pounds ground turkey I used 1 pound of 6% fat and 1 pound 1% fat
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- pinch of salt
- 1 medium zucchini grated
- 1 1/2 tablespoons capers chopped
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- 2 slices whole wheat bread you can also use white bread
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1 egg
- 1 large clove garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
for tzatziki sauce
- 8 ounces low-fat plain yogurt
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint
- 1/2 cucumber peeled
- small dinner rolls such as Martin's
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets - line them with tin foil and spray with vegetable spray.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a medium skillet. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent. Transfer onions to a large bowl.
Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and add the grated zucchini. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cook until zucchini is wilted and softened - about 5 minutes. Transfer zucchini to the bowl with the onions. Add the capers and sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine.
Place the bread in the bowl of a mini prep food processor and pulse until you have fine bread crumbs. Add the parsley and pulse several times until parsley is chopped and well combined with the bread crumbs. Transfer bread crumbs to the bowl. Add the egg, garlic, kosher salt, black pepper, worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese and mint to the bowl and stir.
Add the turkey meat and using your hands work the turkey into the binder until well combined. Scoop out a tablespoon of turkey mixture and roll it between your hands to form a meatball. Place the meatballs on the cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.
Meanwhile make the tzatziki sauce: Combine the garlic, lemon, mint and cucumber in a small bowl and stir the mixture. Add the yogurt and stir to combine. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Transfer the meatballs to a platter and serve the tzatziki on the side.
For meatball sliders, cut small dinner rolls in half. Add arugula to the bottom half of the roll. Top it with a meatball, a dollop of tzatziki and the other half of the roll.