Turkey Meatball Kebobs with Tzatziki

I like subbing ground turkey for ground beef in most recipes. Sometimes it doesn’t work out as well as I would have liked, and sometimes it works out even better than the beef version. In this recipe, I actually prefer using turkey. It’s not as heavy, making it great for summer.

You could easily make this without putting the meatballs on kebobs, but kebobs seemed a bit more “Mediterranean” to me.

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (I used 93% lean.)
  • 1/2 c. breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh dill, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Veggies for skewering (I used zucchini, summer squash, and cherry tomatoes.)
  • Skewers

For the tzatziki (tzatziki is pretty standard, but these are the proportions that I prefer):

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 8 oz. yogurt (I used fat-free, you can use whatever type you like. Greek yogurt, like Fage, is especially good.)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, minced (I prefer dill, but mint or parsley can also be used, so feel free to substitute that if you like.)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Finely grate the cucumber with a box grater. Strain it in some cheesecloth over a bowl with a heavy weight on top (a can of Diet Coke works well!) to get rid of most of the water. It takes at least an hour to do this; I usually do this step the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
  • Add the strained cucumber to the rest of the tzatziki ingredients and adjust the ingredients to taste, if necessary. Set aside to let the flavors marinate a bit. (You can make this a few days in advance.)
  • Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack in the middle of the oven. You could also grill these.
  • Saute the chopped onion in a bit of olive oil. Let cool, then add to the turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, dill, and salt. Combine the ingredients together with your hands, then form into 1-1/2″ meatballs.
  • Skewer the meatballs with the veggies. Brush the tops of the meatballs with a bit of olive oil (just a bit!) to ensure nice browning on top, and add a bit of salt and pepper to the kebobs.
  • Broil the kebobs for ~7 minutes, then flip them over and brush the other side of the meatballs with a bit of olive oil. Broil the kebobs for an additional 7 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes, then serve with the tzatziki and pita (if you’re grilling the kebobs, brush the pitas with a bit of olive oil and stick those on the grill too. YUM!).

Verdict:

Well, I could eat tzatziki with a spoon (and sometimes do), so anything with tzatziki will be awesome in my book. But the meatballs were flavorful (to avoid having superd-dry meatballs though, you really need to use at least 93% lean, if not darker meat). Sauteeing the onions added a nice layer of flavor and (I think) increased the moisture by adding a bit of fat, and the fresh dill was a refreshing change from parsley. Next time, I’ll probably add some cumin to the meatballs for a smoky underlying flavor.

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