Beef Gyro Meatballs with Tzatziki

by Mara @ What's For Dinner? on May 1, 2012

in beef, simple recipe, South Beach Diet

When a theme gets stuck in my head, it gets stuck there for quite some time. Some of you may remember the chili phase of 2010. Some may also remember the casserole days, the burger days, and even more recently, the cupcake days.

With our theme of “Green or Greece” for our last Traveling Pans meeting, I had a major taste for Greek food for days before and after. One of my go-to cooking blogs, Kalyn’s Kitchen, fed this hunger (pun intended) by posting a recipe for Ground Beef Gyro Meatballs served in lettuce wraps.

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I pinned the recipe and knew that I’d be making it soon, and when we got ground beef on killer sale not too long ago, it was on! There was one problem: Kalyn used a pre-made Spice House Greek seasoning mix to season her meat, and I didn’t have that. Luckily I have a fairly good knowledge of spice combinations that are appropriate for various food cultures (would you want a post on that?), so I made up my own.

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I can’t believe I’d never used butter lettuce before. It’s delicious and sturdy, and didn’t fall apart under the weight of the fillings. I went back for seconds and pretty much made a meatball salad. The flavors were right on, and if I hadn’t known better, I would’ve thought I was eating a traditional gyro.

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Ground Beef Gyro Meatballs with Tzatziki

by What’s For Dinner?

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: saute appetizer entree salad sauce ground beef Greek

Ingredients (30 meatballs)

For the meatballs

  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the tzatziki

  • 14 ounces low fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt to taste

to serve

  • large lettuce leaves
  • cherry or grape tomatoes

Instructions

For the meatballs

In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients, making sure a cohesive mixture forms. Form into balls, about 2 Tablespoons a piece. Cook in a frying pan over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through.

For the tzatziki

Grate the peeled cucumber into a fine mesh strainer. Use the back of a spoon or potato masher to remove as much liquid as possible. Place the grated cucumber in a bowl and mix with the yogurt, garlic, and salt. Allow to sit at least 20 minutes for the flavors to meld.

To serve

Place lettuce leaves (I used butter lettuce) on a plate. Top with meatballs, tzatziki, and halved grape tomatoes.

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Adam ate his meatballs in a whole wheat pita instead of on a lettuce wrap, and he agreed that the flavor was right on. I did leave out the onion from Kalyn’s recipe, which I may put in next time. And there will be a next time! Perhaps a burger phase will begin again and I’ll make gyro burgers…

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For now though, we have about 15 meatballs left… I can’t wait for leftovers!

xoxo

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz @ Tip Top Shape May 1, 2012 at 2:36 PM

This looks absolutely fantastic! I love Greek food!!
Liz @ Tip Top Shape´s last blog post ..Three Bean Salad

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Dinner at Christina's May 1, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Oh yum! I’d swap the onions for tomatoes, but this looks great! And you’re right- I don’t eat butter lettuce as often as I should!
Dinner at Christina’s´s last blog post ..Our Keurig

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The Duo Dishes May 1, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Agreed on the butter lettuce. It’s really hearty, and it’s great with creamy dressings or vinaigrettes. Plus, it has a nice curl. That’s great for little wraps!
The Duo Dishes´s last blog post ..Happy Taco Tuesday

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Angela May 1, 2012 at 9:26 PM

I need to make this! Bookmarking :)
Angela´s last blog post ..May Cats and Dogs

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kljasdfh May 2, 2012 at 7:21 AM

as a Greek person, you forgot a very important spice in Greek cooking: mint!!

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 2, 2012 at 7:44 AM

Thank you!! Next time I’ll add a bit of mint!

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Amy May 2, 2012 at 7:55 AM

These look REALLY GOOD… something fresh and healthy about the lettuce vs. pita…wonder if chicken or turkey would work to lighten it further since it’s the spices that shine through in gyros meat?? And I can eat tzatziki by the spoonful, YUM. I’m with you too on the “themed eating” kinda like coming home from a vacation and wanting to eat whatever the place was known for…I’m STILL on avocados from being in Mexico!
Amy´s last blog post ..Irish Brown Bread

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM

I’ll bet that a slightly fattier turkey (7% fat or so) would work, simply for texture’s sake. I’d up the spices as well :)
mmm… avocados…

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Biz May 2, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Yep, this definitely made my lunch menu for next week – I think my SIL would love it too.

FYI. . . I used to make tzatziki sauce at home, until I realized Joseph’s in Crystal Lake sells it by the deli for I think $2.99 for a 16 ounce container and it’s delicious!
Biz´s last blog post ..Biz Ate Meatloaf?

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