Greek Lamb Meatballs (Gyro Style!)

These Greek lamb meatballs are made of spiced ground lamb formed into tasty little balls and roasted to perfection. They’re juicy,  golden brown, crispy-on-the-outside, and melt-in-your-mouth-inside.

As an added bonus, these lamb meatballs are made even better served as a gyro wrapped up in a toasted whole grain pita and topped with homemade mint pesto and coconut milk tzatziki!

Greek lamb meatballs on top of a pita, topped with cucumbers, dill, parsley, pesto, and tzatziki sauce.

About the Recipe

These fun little sandwiches are not just any gyro. Because Mr. Gryo is now made with flavor-packed meatballs.

And as if the Greek lamb meatballs are not good enough all by their lonesome, I thought we should add some mint pesto and tzatziki into the mix! 

Made with healthy and fresh ingredients, this easy weeknight meal packs a ton of flavor into a simple dish. Serve these lamb meatballs (also called lamb kofta) over a bed of rice drizzled with sauce or wrap them in a warm pita to serve them up gyro style.

Either way, they’ll be a real crowd pleaser!

Making homemade mint pesto has never been easier! Instead of throwing basil into the mix, I’ve substituted with fresh sprigs of mint instead. Mint and lamb is truly the most perfect flavor pairing!  

And don’t forget about the homemade tzataziki! In my opinion, this is the star of nearly any gyro. Fresh and tangy, it’s packed full of garlicky lemony flavor with the subtle coolness of fresh dill and cucumber.

Each component is great on their own, but when combined all together, you’ve got yourself one delicious Mediterranean sandwich!

Ingredients for greek lamb meatball gyros in separate bowls.

Step-By-Step Cooking Instructions

1. To prepare Tzatziki sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

2. To prepare mint pesto, combine mint, spinach, nuts, garlic, lemon, salt and black pepper  in a food processor. Pulse while drizzling olive oil in through the vegetable shoot until you reach desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

3. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. In a bowl, combine all meatball ingredients, except the oil. Work with your hands until everything is thoroughly combined. Form meatballs using your hands and place them on a plate. Spritz meatballs with the cooking spray. Place them on the grill for about 8-10 minutes, rotating every couple of minutes, until cooked through. Alternatively, you could roast the meatballs on a wire rack at 375 degrees for about 13-18 minutes.

4. To serve, place meatballs in toasted or grilled pita bread. Drizzle with Tzatziki and mint pesto and top with cucumbers, feta, and fresh cilantro leaves.

Lamb meatballs on a white plate with a side of mint pesto.

Substitutions and Alternatives

  • You can substitute the ground lamb for ground beef, chicken, or turkey.
  • If you’re looking for a lower fat tzatziki, you can use all plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mixture of both.
  • If you use dried dill instead of fresh, use half the amount.
  • Rather than serving these Greek lamb meatballs on a pita (gyro style), you could serve them over rice to make Greek rice bowls instead.
  • Gluten free Greek lamb meatballs: Use gluten free breadcrumbs or cooked rice instead of regular breadcrumbs. Serve over rice instead of serving with pita (or use gluten free pita!)
  • Dairy free Greek lamb meatballs: Skip the tzatziki sauce or use plant-based yogurt as the base.

Fun Facts

Is ground lamb healthy?

Lamb is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. It adds great flavor to these meatballs and can be extremely versatile in nearly any dish!

What is the secret to tender meatballs?

The breadcrumbs in this recipe help to keep the meatballs soft and tender. As the meatballs cook, the proteins in the lamb start to bind together.
The breadcrumbs keep the meatballs moist by preventing the meat from constricting too much while cooking. Instead, they hold the meat together, while also preventing the proteins from binding too much.

Why are my meatballs mushy?

Meatballs tend to get mushy when there is either not enough or too much binder in the recipe. Most meatball recipes call for a combination of egg and breadcrumbs to help hold the ground meat together.
If the ratios of egg, to breadcrumbs, to meat, are off, you might end up with mushy meatballs that fall apart.

What is a gyro?

A gyro is a classic Greek sandwich. Traditionally, the meat is cooked on a vertical spit and shaved off right before being placed in the center of pita along with all of the other fixings.
Common toppings include: lettuce, tomato, onion, feta cheese, and sauces like tzatziki or hummus.

Chef’s Tip

Use a wire rack fitted inside a baking sheet to roast the meatballs. This will allow the hot air to circulate around them, helping them cook evenly and giving them a delicious golden crust.

A side view of meatballs topped with tzatziki sauce, pesto, and cucumbers on top of a pita.
Print

Greek Lamb Meatballs (Gyro Style!)

Greek lamb meatballs stuffed in fluffy pita with coconut milk tzatziki and mint pesto.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 20-25 mins
  • Cook Time: 15-20 mins
  • Total Time: 35-45 mins
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Grill, No-Cook
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Ingredients

Scale

Tzatziki sauce:

  • ⅔ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup full fat canned coconut milk or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Zest and juice of ½ medium lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill
  • 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ English cucumber, shredded

Mint Pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, almonds or walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • Dash salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Greek Lamb Meatballs:

  • 1-pound ground lamb, beef or chicken
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ yellow onion, finely minced or 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

For serving:

  • 8 whole grain pita rounds, toasted or grilled
  • ½ English cucumber, diced or sliced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

  1. To prepare Tzatziki sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  2. To prepare mint pesto, combine mint, spinach, nuts, garlic, lemon, salt and black pepper  in a food processor. Pulse while drizzling olive oil in through the vegetable shoot until you reach desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
  3. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. In a bowl, combine all meatball ingredients, except the oil. Work with your hands until everything is thoroughly combined. Form meatballs using your hands and place them on a plate. Spritz meatballs with the cooking spray. Place them on the grill and cook, rotating a few times, about 8-10 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. To serve, place meatballs in toasted or grilled pita bread. Drizzle with Tzatziki and mint pesto and top with cucumbers, feta and fresh cilantro leaves.

Notes

Cooking Tip: You can also roast the meatballs in a 375 degree oven for 13-18 minutes or saute them in a large nonstick skillet on the stove.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 428
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Sodium: 535mg
  • Fat: 28g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 18g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 32g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 19g
  • Cholesterol: 74mg

Keywords: healthy, easy, weeknight, quick, simple, Greek, Mediterranean-style, whole grain

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