With spring in full swing, cooking with ground lamb feels like such a treat. Its rich, slightly grassy flavor works beautifully in these simple meatballs, which are brightened with spinach, lemon zest, and crumbled feta.
In this workhorse from my book One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals from the Oven to Your Table, the meatballs cook alongside creamy orzo, but after you’ve gotten your fill for Sunday dinner, both the meatballs and the orzo can be easily repurposed throughout the week for any number of bright and satisfying meals.
Here’s how: Block out an hour or so on Sunday to assemble and cook your meatballs. While the meatballs and orzo bake (in the oven! hands free!), whip up a quick batch of pesto or two and some pizza dough (and if time eludes you, add the readymade versions of these things to your grocery list for the week).
If you’d rather skip the orzo and just make meatballs—say, if you’re doubling the meatball recipe—bake the meatballs on a lightly greased sheet pan (or two) at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until just done.
Then, make sure you have these things on hand:
- Pita bread
- Greek yogurt
- Cucumbers and red onion
- Assorted cheeses (feta, fresh mozzarella, Parmesan)
- Arugula and lemons
- Marinara sauce
- Kaiser rolls or brioche buns
- Onions, fennel, red pepper flakes and garlic
- Chicken broth and packaged tortellini
And, with those, make these delicious meals:
- Put your own spin on a Gyro sandwich by stuffing some pita bread with leftover meatballs, cucumbers, red onion, feta, and a quick Greek yogurt tzatziki sauce.
- Make cheesy orzo fritters: mix leftover orzo with some beaten egg and plenty of Parmesan cheese, and shallow fry in olive oil until hot and golden. Serve the fritters over arugula, or with some pesto or marinara sauce for dunking.
- Slice meatballs in half and use as a hearty pizza topper, with a few spoonfuls of pesto and sliced fresh mozzarella. Top your hot pizza with some olive-oil-and-lemon juice-drizzled arugula for a perfect pizza/salad combo situation.
Assemble a mean meatball sub with the lamb meatballs, marinara sauce and some melted cheese on a Kaiser or brioche bun.
Drop the leftover meatballs into a simple tortellini soup—sauté the onions, fennel and red pepper flakes with some garlic and salt, add the chicken broth and meatballs to warm, then stir in the tortellini until tender. Add a dollop of pesto, if you like.
- 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
- 9 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, plus more for topping
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups orzo
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint