Healthy Greek Meatballs

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Greek meatballs packed with spices and parsley are a Mediterranean meal that's easy to make and can be served in so many different ways.


We are obsessed with these Healthy Greek Meatballs, also called Keftedes, and they have been a constant menu item when we are craving takeout. Serve them as sandwiches, rice bowls, or make a mezze board with pita bread and all your favorite salads and sauces.

I am always down for a good meatball and these Greek Meatballs pack in so much delicious flavor. Plus they are easy to make with any type of ground meat, fresh or dried spices, and pair with all kinds of sides to make an easy dinner.

Last week I had a really serious craving for tzatziki and Israeli salad. I was tempted to just hop over to my local Mediterranean restaurant and grab some to-go but instead, I decided to build a meal around it and I am so happy I did because these Greek Meatballs are so good.

They are packed with garlic, lemon zest, oregano, and plenty of fresh parsley which makes for a light and fresh meatball that is full of flavor. 

Now when it comes to the meatball, you can mix it up and use ground turkey, lamb, or chicken - whatever your family likes best or you have on hand. I decided to just use parsley to keep things classic, but could definitely add a touch of fresh dill, mint, or cilantro. Then when it's time to eat, wrap everything up in a pita or pile it on a big bowl of farro, quinoa, or cauliflower rice.

Greek meatballs with tomato and cucumber salad and tzatziki with pita bread.

How to Serve Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)

There are so many different ways to serve these meatballs from sandwiches to grain bowls to salads. Here are the ones I reach for most often.

  • Grab some pita bread, make a big batch of Israeli salad, and layer on some hummus and or Tzatziki for the best mezze style meal.
  • Start with a bowl of brown rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa. Add the meatballs, greens, chopped veggies, and feta cheese, Finish with some lemon juice and yogurt.
  • Pile up some crunchy greens, like Romaine, add the Greek Meatballs and veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion. Throw in some olives and feta cheese for a twist on Greek Salad. Add chickpeas for a heartier dish.
  • Make a Greek-style pasta dish by creating a sauce with sauteed olive oil, garlic, artichoke hearts, and roasted red peppers. Add fresh lemon juice and add to the cooked pasta with the Greek meatballs.
  • Make lettuce wraps with butter lettuce, Greek meatballs, tzatziki, and all your favorite veggies.
  • You can also cook these in marinara sauce and then top with feta cheese. So easy and so good.
  • Swap in the meatballs for the chicken in these Greek Chicken Bowls for a delicious and meal prep friendly meal.

Recipe Ideas and Tips

  • Make these meatballs with ground turkey, ground chicken, ground beef, ground pork, or ground lamb. You can combine two proteins, like turkey and lamb, to create a more dynamic flavor.
  • If you don't have fresh parsley, use dried instead. You will need 1 teaspoon of dried for every tablespoon of fresh. That means 4 teaspoons for 1/4 cup. 
  • If you want a softer meatball, add about 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs. 
  • It is very important not to overcook the meatballs since they can dry out quickly with the lower fat meat. Make sure to check them since the exact cooking time will depend on the size of the meatballs. They will also continue to cook as they cool. 
  • Although the lemon adds a great flavor to this recipe, you can leave it out if you don't have any lemon on hand. You could also add some lemon pepper but only do so if the lemon pepper is made with real lemons. The fake lemon pepper flavor can add a strange aftertaste to recipes.

Can I freeze these meatballs?

Greek meatballs freeze well. Start by letting the meatballs fully cool. Then place them on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer in the open air for about 2 hours or until they are frozen on the outside. Then place in a freezer-safe bag. The extra step of freezing them on a baking sheet ensures they won't stick together.

Many times when I freeze meatball, I slightly undercook them since you will be reheating them and they will cook a bit more. Defrost overnight in the fridge for best results and then reheat in a skillet.

Keftedes Greek meatballs on a plate with tomato and cucumber salad and pita bread.

Looking for more Greek recipes? 

The Recipe
Greek meatballs or Keftedes with cucumber salad and tzatziki.

Healthy Greek Meatballs

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  • 1.33 lbs 95% lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp allspice

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.


Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and use your hands (or a spoon) to mix until just combined. Roll into meatballs (about 1 inch each) and place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.


Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through. Be careful not to overcook the meatballs since they can dry out quickly.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 4 meatballs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 226
Calories from Fat 12
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 140mg
Sodium 710mg
Total Carbohydrate 3g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 0g
Protein 34g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Healthy Greek Meatballs
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March 17, 2024 - 13:00
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Absolutely delicious!
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janice L cleland
August 26, 2023 - 16:53
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It may sound silly, but the other thing I am impressed with is that your recipe for anything prints on one page as you have them landscape vs portrait. I so appreciate not having to fiddle with the format or print both sides so I am getting the whole recipe on one page. I am a serious admirer LOL
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August 26, 2023 - 16:50
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generally, I am so inspired by all your recipes. Thank you so much. I have yet to make this meatballs but know they will be awesome. And, no added wheat or oats. I can't wait to see if they hold together.
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Gwen Santos
April 21, 2020 - 13:06
Need to try these with ground lamb! I bet they would be awesome!
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Sue walsh
July 22, 2019 - 02:16
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Very nice and easy to do we love them
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