I’ve often thought about which type of cuisine I would eat if I had to choose only one for the rest of my life, and I always choose Mediterranean. I love the fresh vegetables, simple yet flavorful spices, and of course feta cheese. Nothing beats a quality feta cheese. In order to indulge my craving for Mediterranean food last night, I decided to cook something new. New in the sense that I had never made it before, but the flavors are all too familiar to me. I’m pleased to say my experiment was a success. Even Lactard’s boyfriend, “Kiwi” (someone who eats A LOT of lamb in his home country) said it was incredible.
- 2 lbs ground lamb meat
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 TB parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 TB unseasoned bread crumbs
- cooking spray
Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce
- 1 cup nonfat greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup cucumbers, chopped
- 1 TB mint, chopped
- Pinch of cumin
- Pinch of salt
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad (makes about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup dry quinoa, prepared as directed
- 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh feta, crumbled
- 1 TB parsley, finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- 1/4 cup water
- juice of 1 lemon
- dash of salt
This meal really came together perfectly, and was easy to prepare. First start by making the quinoa, as directed. I used a tri-colored quinoa from Trader Joe’s that is delicious. Not all branches sell this type of quinoa (my mother can get it in NY, and MM can get it in Irvine, but I can’t get it in San Francisco), but it’s worth seeking out! Otherwise a plain quinoa will be just as great. Most quinoa takes about fifteen minutes to prepare. Once it’s done, remove from heat and let cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the Tahini sauce. A food processor is somewhat necessary for this, as it requires a slow drizzle for the water. If you don’t have one, you can beat the ingredients together with a whisk, adding the water gradually. Set aside and leave at room temperature.
To prepare the quinoa salad, chop the tomatoes and cucumber and set into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the quinoa, parsley, salt, pepper, and feta cheese and stir to combine. Add about two tablespoons of the tahini sauce and stir again. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients (except for the cooking spray) for the lamb meatballs. I used my mini food processor to chop the onions first, then the parsley. I also used some of the parsley for the quinoa salad. Mix the ingredients together with your hands and form meatballs into an oval shape, like a football. Set onto a sheet of aluminum and lightly spray the tops of the meatballs with cooking spray. If using a grill pan, heat over a medium-high flame and coat with cooking spray – otherwise you can use a broiler. Cook on each side for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the yogurt dipping sauce. Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Serve the meatballs on top of the quinoa salad, with a spoonful of yogurt sauce on each meatball. YUM!
I chose to pair this with 2008 Two Goats Red, a blend from Casa Nuestra in Napa Valley. After inquiring with the winery, I found out it’s equal parts Merlot, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel with a little bit of Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a very smooth wine with a great mixture of berry flavors. It was a good compliment to the flavors in the lamb, and continued to be delicious even when dinner was over…