Meatballs. Lamb meatballs to be exact and they are magical-spherical-bombs of greatness and are what date night dreams are made of. I've said this many times before, but what I look forward to most when Friday or Saturday night rolls around is hanging with Thomas in the kitchen, cooking a delicious meal, popping open a bottle of Trader Joes' finest, or two to be exact, and spending a date night "in". Just the two of us.
To be honest, some of those Friday "date nights" turn into us eating dinner on the couch and me falling asleep at 9:30 right as we are starting to watch a movie. I know, I HATE when someone falls asleep during a movie that I am excited to watch yet I am the biggest culprit of it. But other date nights, like this past weekend when we whipped up these meatballs, we spent the night talking until the wee hours of the morning - laughing, reminiscing, and spending quality time together being totally disconnected.
Maybe we were so utterly blissful because we had just eaten the most incredible lamb meatballs of our lives. To be honest, I'm not a huge meatball fan usually. They are good - but I would rather have a hearty bolognese sauce instead. But lamb meatballs? That's a different story. The combination of the spicy lamb, cool greek yogurt, spattered with a sweet mint raisin pesto is beyond words. This meal is so easy to put together, looks fancy enough for date night, and will no-doubt have you going back for seconds. I have been wanting to make these from bon appétit since the recipe was published in December, so I can't believe we just got around to making them. This recipe should 100% be on your menu for this weekend!
Spicy Lamb Meatballs with mint raisin pesto
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley, plus 1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
- 2 Tbsp. plus ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
- 2 garlic cloves, divided
- 1 lb. ground lamb
- 2 cups mint leaves
- 3 Tbsp. golden raisins
- Plain whole-milk Greek yogurt (for serving)
what to do
- Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°. Combine egg, panko, cumin, red pepper flakes, turmeric, finely chopped parsley, 2 Tbsp. oil, and 1½ tsp. salt in a large bowl. Finely grate 1 garlic clove into bowl. Add lamb and mix with your hands until evenly distributed.
- Gently roll lamb mixture into 1½"-diameter balls (about the size of a golf ball; you should have about 20). Place on a rimmed baking sheet, spacing evenly apart. Bake meatballs until browned and cooked through, 8–10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, purée mint, raisins, parsley leaves with tender stems, remaining garlic clove, remaining ½ cup oil, and a big pinch of salt in a blender until smooth. Taste pesto; season with more salt if needed.
- Spread yogurt over plates and divide pesto and meatballs on top.
- Do Ahead: Pesto can be made 2 days ahead; cover and chill. Meatballs can be formed 2 months ahead; freeze on baking sheet until firm, about 2 hours, then transfer to a freezer bag and keep frozen.