These healthy, delicious Greek Chicken Meatballs come together quickly with lean chicken, lots of fresh veggies and a ton of fabulous flavor! Serve them as an appetizer, in sandwiches, in bowls with Greek salad, hummus and orzo (pictured), in wraps with pita bread and hummus...
If you enjoy a healthy, delicious, super versatile, internationally-inspired, prep-ahead dinner that just needs to be thrown into the oven for a short stint before serving, you're going to LOVE these Greek Chicken Meatballs.
If you're new to The Café, you may not have noticed that we have an affinity for meatballs around here. In fact, if you type meatballs in the search bar up in the right-hand corner of this website, you'll find a plethora of meatball recipes. There's the traditional Italian meatball recipe (a long-time family favorite), an additional Italian meatball recipe made with chicken breasts, as well as Korean, Vietnamese, and Hawaiian meatball recipes.
Perhaps our most unusual (maybe most delicious) meatball recipe is our Strawberry Balsamic Glazed Meatballs (below). See what I mean? We're quite obsessed with meatballs!
How do I love thee, let me count the ways!
After the photoshoot today, I nibbled on one of these Greek Chicken Meatballs slowly, trying to decide the best way to describe the deliciousness. To start with, they're tender and moist. That's not always the case for chicken meatballs, as ground chicken doesn't have a lot of fat in comparison to beef or pork (which helps keep things moist). Lots of finely diced veggies and a scoop of crumbled Feta cheese help keep them moist but also add a ton of flavor.
The seasonings for these meatballs are fairly simple but so delicious; there's a generous portion of finely minced fresh garlic, chopped fresh oregano, dried basil, onion powder, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Nothing super fancy but the combination creates a lovely burst of fabulous flavor.
The other thing I love about these Greek Chicken Meatballs is that they make such a pretty presentation. If you've ever purchased ground chicken, you probably wouldn't describe it as "pretty", even when roasted in the oven. It's pale and (again, because of the lower fat content) doesn't brown well. But a little magic trick creates the golden brown, glistening chicken meatballs of your dreams (well, maybe not your dreams, but definitely those of a food geek like me).
An easy chicken magic trick
What's the magic trick? So simple! A splash of olive oil combined with a small spoonful of paprika is brushed on the meatballs before they go into the oven. Paprika is one of my favorite ingredients, not for its flavor (it's pretty bland) but rather for its ability to transform certain foods (potatoes, eggs, chicken, etc.) from anemic to gloriously appealing.
Prep ahead or make ahead
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that these Greek Chicken Meatballs can be prepped ahead. I like to make them early in the day or even the night before, cover them with plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge. Shortly before serving time, I preheat the oven and the pan goes right from the refrigerator to the oven. In less than fifteen minutes I've got a beautiful pan of golden meatballs ready to use in a myriad of ways.
You can also prep and bake the meatballs, then refrigerate them. They're easy to re-warm, either in a pan over low heat with a bit of olive oil or on a lower power in the microwave.
Lots of serving options
Yes, there are lots of ways to serve these Greek Chicken Meatballs. Here are a few ideas.
- Serve as a meal with roasted potatoes and asparagus or green beans.
- In baguettes, with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and tzatziki sauce.
- Serve on a bed of hummus drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with diced roasted red peppers and fresh herbs. Pair with warm pita bread.
- Make mini meatballs and serve as an appetizer served with a bowl of this beautiful Peruvian Green Sauce (shhh... you don't have to tell anyone you're fusing nationalities!).
- Serve in a wrap with these Greek Yogurt Turkish Flatbreads or these One-Bowl, No-Mixer Naans spread with hummus, fresh basil, chopped tomatoes and Feta cheese.
- In bowls as pictured in this post. I serve them on a bed of orzo or Israeli couscous. I add a Greek-inspired salad of tomatoes, bell pepper, chunky cucumbers, Kalamata olives and slivered red onion - drizzled with our Zoe's Copycat Greek Salad Dressing. A scoop of plain hummus (drizzled with the dressing) adds a nice texture and flavor contrast. Serve with lemon wedges.
Make a shopping list!
Don't wait! Check out the ingredients in the recipe below and pick up anything you're missing next time you shop. I know you're going to love having these delicious Greek Chicken Meatballs in your recipe arsenal!
Καλή όρεξη! (Kalí óreksi!) (Bon Appétit, in Greek)
Cafe Tips for making these Greek Chicken Meatballs
- I recommend using either a combination of ground chicken breast and thighs or ground chicken thighs. Pure ground chicken breast can be a little dry.
- This recipe calls for panko crumbs. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb product. It's lighter, airier and crisper than regular breadcrumbs. I prefer using panko for meatballs as it helps give them a light, tender texture. Panko crumbs can be found at most larger grocery stores in the same area as regular bread crumbs. You can also purchase panko online.
- Feel free to use any color bell pepper in this recipe. I like to use mini bell peppers and use a combination of colors.
- This recipe comes together quickly but, as mentioned above, does call for some chopping. Bell peppers and red onion need to be finely diced. I use my Vidalia Chopper to make quick work of this chopping. This is one of my favorite kitchen tools, a real workhorse for me. Anytime I need to dice a bunch of veggies, I pull out this little handy chopper. It's great for chopping peppers, onions, potatoes, summer and winter squash, carrots, cabbage, apples, cucumbers...
- Chicken meatballs are not as easy to roll as beef or pork as it's wetter and a little stickier. I find that very lightly wetting my hands when rolling these meatballs makes things much easier!
- I like to use a 2-tablespoon retractable ice cream scooper to scoop up the meat mixture for these meatballs if I'm serving them as a main course. If I'm using them as an appetizer, I use a 1½ tablespoon scoop. These scoopers are so handy for so many things besides ice cream. I use them for scooping cookie dough, meatballs, hummus, muffins, cupcakes, pancakes as well as scooping out pumpkin or squash seeds...
Thought for the day:
I know that my redeemer lives
and that in the end, He will stand on the earth.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- 1 pound ground chicken preferably light and dark meat combined
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup crumbled Feta cheese
- ½ small red onion finely diced
- ½ cup finely diced bell pepper any color
- 4 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- finely grated zest of one medium-size lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mild paprika not smoked
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil for easy clean-up and drizzle it lightly with olive oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, panko, egg, Feta, onion, bell peppers, garlic, oregano, dried basil, onion powder, salt, pepper and lemon zest. With your hands or a large sturdy spatula, mix until combined. Don’t overwork the mixture.
Scoop up the meat mixture with an ice cream scoop (2 tablespoon-size for regular meatballs) and drop onto the prepared sheet pan. After all of the mixture has been scooped up, roll each portion into a round ball. If the dough seems sticky or hard to roll, lightly wet your hands in between every couple of meatballs. Space the meatballs out on the sheet pan.
Combine the olive oil and paprika in a small bowl and stir to combine. Brush each meatball with the oil mixture then place the pan in the oven and bake for 10-14 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve.
See suggestions for serving up above in the post.
Meatballs can be prepped ahead up through step 3 and then refrigerated for up to 12 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and proceed with step 4. You will need to add an extra minute or two to compensate for the fact that the meatballs have been refrigerated.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips.
Recipe will serve 6 with 3 2-tablespoon meatballs for each portion as pictured in the post. If serving more generous portions, the recipe will serve 4.