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Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki and Orzo with Feta and Walnuts

Add a side of orzo with toasted walnuts and feta and transform this appetizer into a main course.


  • 2 slices white bread, 1-inch thick
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk, to moisten
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb or beef
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons grated red onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 pinches cinnamon
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or pasted
  • 1 large egg
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 pocket-less pitas or flat breads, cut into wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Orzo with Feta and Walnuts
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 pound Greek feta cheese, crumbled
  • EVOO, for drizzling
  • Freshly ground pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 450°F. Place a cooling rack over 2 baking sheets for roasting the meatballs and toasting the pita.

Soak the bread in the milk. Peel the cucumber and grate into a strainer. Salt it and let it drain for 20 minutes.

Pour the EVOO into a bowl, then add the meat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze out the bread and crumble between your fingers as you add it to the meat. Add the mint, onions, oregano, cinnamon, 2 of the garlic cloves, egg and 1/2 of the lemon juice, and mix to combine.

Using a small ice cream scoop, form the meat mixture into about 24 balls and place on the baking sheet. Roast to golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the oven and place the broiler on high. Char the pita under the broiler, 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.

Press the cucumber in the strainer to get out the excess water and add to a food processor. Then add the yogurt, dill, remaining 1 clove garlic, zest and remaining juice of the lemon. Season the sauce with cumin and salt and process until smooth.

Serve the meatballs with the sauce and pitas and alongside the Orzo with Feta and Walnuts.

Orzo and Feta

Heat a medium pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the orzo to al dente, 7 minutes. Toast the walnuts until fragrant in small pan over medium heat. Combine the orzo with the walnuts, parsley, feta and a drizzle of EVOO and season with pepper.

Rachael Ray