Greek-Inspired Meatballs with Quinoa and Arugula Salad

By: Cassy Joy Garcia

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Loaded with raisins and a variety of Greek-inspired spices, these Greek meatballs (next to simple sides of quinoa + arugula salad) are delicious and so easy.

a serving of greek meatballs, arugula salad, and white quinoa served with 2 lemon wedges

Greek Meatball Meal Recipe

Meatballs are incredibly versatile and because of that, have always been a go-to protein add in my house. Mixing them up with really bold flavors (like the ones you’ll find in this recipe) make them so fun and keep dinnertime interesting and exciting (all the while keeping things super simple for the cook!). Served alongside quinoa and a simple salad, this meal is a really delicious, flavorful, home-run!

If you're looking for another really delicious, easy dinner recipe featuring ground beef, these Tex Mex stuffed peppers are a great one to try. For instructions on how to make these two recipes work together Cook Once Dinner Fix-style, click HERE.

What are Greek style meatballs?

These Greek-style meatballs are exactly what they sound like: meatballs made with lots of delicious Greek flavors. You’ll mix up all of the meatball ingredients, roll em up, and then either pan fry them in butter or bake them in the oven. Then, you’ll serve them alongside a simple side salad and a side of quinoa.

What is the secret to the best beef meatball recipe (Greek style)?

In my personal opinion, the secret to really delicious meatballs is BIG FLAVOR. We nailed the bold Greek-inspired flavors here with raisins, fresh onion, and several really delicious spices.

Ingredients for a Greek Meatball Meal

For this recipe, you’ll need to grab several ingredients for the meatballs themselves and several more for both the quinoa and arugula salad sides. Here’s the full list:

all of the ingredients for a greek style meatball dinner in different sized bowls and plates on a marble surface

For the Meatballs

  • Ground Beef – to start, you’ll need to grab 1 ½ pounds of ground beef. I like my meatballs nice and juicy, so I tend to grab either 80/20 or 85/15 ground beef for this kind of application.
  • Raisins – a ⅓ cup of raisins go into the meatball mixture for a really delicious flavor and texture add.
  • Onion – ½ of a finely chopped small onion goes into the mix too. Again, this adds a ton of delicious flavor.
  • Spices and Seasonings – a ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, a ½ teaspoon of coriander, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and a pinch of cayenne pepper go a long way in further flavoring these yummy Greek-style meatballs.
  • Butter – if you’re cooking your meatballs in a skillet on the stovetop, you’ll also need about 1 tablespoon of butter. Feel free to use ghee, olive oil, or avocado oil here if you’d like!
  • Lemon – serve your meatballs with lemon wedges so that a nice squeeze of fresh lemon juice can be added if desired.

For the Quinoa

  • Quinoa – for the first side, you’ll need 1 cup of rinsed white quinoa. 
  • Water – 1 ½ cups of water goes into the pot with the quinoa.
  • Butter or Olive Oil – ½ a tablespoon of butter or olive oil goes into the pot too.
  • Sea Salt – a ¼ teaspoon of sea salt will help to really add some delicious flavor to the quinoa.

For the Salad

  • Arugula – for the arugula salad, you’ll (of course) need arugula! 4 cups of arugula should be a good amount for 4 side servings of salad.
  • Lemon Juice – the juice of 1 lemon will get squeezed right over top of the greens.
  • Olive Oil – in combination with the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil will act as a simple dressing for the salad.
  • Sea Salt and Pepper – a ½ teaspoon of sea salt and a ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper act as really simple seasonings for a little bit of extra flavor here.

Ingredient Modifications

Choose to make the recipe as written, or if needed, make some modifications! Here are a few that we know will work really well:

  • Make it dairy-free: to make this dinner dairy-free, simply use olive oil in place of butter for both the meatballs and quinoa.
  • Use a different ground protein: feel free to use any ground protein you love here. Ground chicken, turkey, and pork would all be a really easy 1:1 swap.
  • Swap the sides: a goal of ours is to present you with really well-rounded dinner meals, so we chose two sides to be served next to the meatballs. If you aren’t a fan of quinoa, no problem! Swap it for a different grain/starchy side. If you aren’t a fan of arugula, swap it for another green of choice!

What You Need to Make This Recipe

Here’s the equipment needed to make this recipe as quickly and easily as possible:

How to make Beef Meatballs (Greek Style)

You’ll start by getting your quinoa ready, and then, once that’s simmering, move on to the meatballs. You’ll end your time in the kitchen making the simple side salad! Here’s the full step-by-step process:

  1. Make the quinoa – combine the quinoa, water, butter or olive oil, and salt in a small pot on the stovetop over hight heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, fluff with a fork and pull the pot off the heat.
  2. Make the meatball mixture – while the quinoa cooks, make the meatballs. Add the ground beef, chopped onion, raisins, cinnamon, coriander, sea salt, and cayenne pepper to a large bowl. Then, using your hands or a spoon, mix until everything is well combined.
  3. Roll the mixture into balls – grab 2-2½ tablespoons of the meat mixture and roll into balls.
  4. Cook the meatballs – you’ve got a couple of options here. You can either cook your meatballs on the stovetop or in the oven — the choice is totally up to you!
    1. Stovetop method – add the butter to a skillet large enough to fit all of the meatballs over high heat, and let melt. Add the meatballs to the hot skillet and cook on each side for 3 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
    2. Oven method – preheat the oven to 375°F, and bake the meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet for 30-45 minutes.
  5. Assemble the salad – just before serving, assemble your salad. Toss the arugula with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
a stainless steel pot of dry white quinoa, water, and butter
greek style meatball mixture in a metal mixing bowl
a cast iron skillet with greek style meatballs searing in it
a stainless pot of cooked white quinoa
raw greek style meatballs in a cast iron skillet
a simple arugula salad on a plate with lemon wedges and wooden serving spoons
greek style meatball ingredients in a metal mixing bowl
a cast iron skillet with greek style meatballs searing in it
a serving of greek meatballs, arugula salad, and white quinoa served with 2 lemon wedges

How do you tell if a meatball is done?

You’ll know that your meatball is done when it’s completely brown on the outside and the internal temperature of the inside of the meatballs reaches 160°F. The best way to check this is by using a meat thermometer.

Why is my easy beef meatball recipe falling apart?

If you’re using really lean ground beef, there’s a good chance that your meatballs will fall apart. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing — they’ll still taste delicious, they just won’t look as pretty. If you do happen to have a lean ground beef (think: 93/7), you may try mixing an egg into the mixture as a binder.

What goes good with greek beef meatballs?

We chose to serve these meatballs alongside two really simple sides: quinoa and an arugula salad (both recipes are included in the recipe). I like to think that the peppery arugula and buttery quinoa are great complements to the big flavors in the meatballs. Feel free to swap those two for any starchy side + veggie side that you love, though.

a cast iron skillet of greek meatballs, a pot of white quinoa, and a bowl of simple arugula salad on a marble surface

How do you store leftover greek beef meatballs?

Any leftover meatballs + quinoa you have can go into airtight containers in the refrigerator. If you store them this way, they’ll stay good for up to 5 days. The dressed arugula salad, on the other hand, is best enjoyed on the day of.

Can you freeze Greek beef meatballs?

You can absolutely freeze the meatballs! You can do this either before cooking them or after. I personally really love to make a double batch of meatballs, fully cook both batches, and then freeze one for later. I’ll throw them in a Ziplock bag to freeze and then either thaw them in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the microwave until heated through.

More Meatball Recipes

Print

Greek Beef Meatballs with Quinoa and Arugula Salad

Loaded with raisins and a variety of Greek-inspired spices, these Greek meatballs (next to simple sides of quinoa + arugula salad) are delicious and so easy.

  • Author: Cassy Joy Garcia
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes-1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Method: Oven or Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Greek-Inspired

Ingredients

Scale

For the Quinoa:

  • 1 cups white quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (for stovetop meatballs only)
  • lemon wedge, for serving

For the Arugula Salad:

  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

For the Quinoa:

  1. Combine everything in a small pot over hight heat.
  2. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. After 15 minutes, fluff with a fork and pull off of the heat.

For the Meatballs:

  1. While the quinoa cooks, make the meatballs. Add ground beef, chopped onion, raisins, cinnamon, coriander, sea salt, and cayenne pepper to a large bowl.
  2. Using your hands or a spoon, mix until everything is well combined.
  3. Grab 2-2½ tablespoons of the meat mixture, roll into balls.
  4. Cook the meatballs either on the stovetop or in the oven.
    1. Stovetop method: add the butter to a skillet large enough to fit all of the meatballs over high heat, and let melt. Add the meatballs to the hot skillet and cook on each side for 3 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
    2. Oven method: preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the meatballs on a rimmed baking dish for 30-45 minutes.

For the Salad:

  1. Just before serving, assemble your salad. Toss the arugula with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Keywords: greek meatballs

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Recipe rating

  1. Rachel says:

    The raisins sound interesting at first but they are so GOOD! Adding this to my week night menu!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      So glad to hear that, Rachel! Thank you for sharing this with us!