My daughter loves meatballs and I love serving them because they are one of the foods that reminds me of home (I ate a lot of meatballs in my Italian-American house growing up!), they are comforting, and they are easy to double and freeze. We typically eat regular beef meatballs (or these sausage ones), but I recently tried a version with lamb and Moroccan flavors including cumin and dried apricots to change things up a bit.
These little meatball bites are flavorful and packed with produce. The shredded onion and carrot makes them super moist, the dried apricots add a nice sweetness, and the spices add mellow flavor.
I must admit that my girl wouldn’t touch them the first time I served them because they were without sauce. Hello, obviously “meatballs need red sauce mama!”. But the second time, I wised up and served them with Veggie-Loaded Marinara Sauce and she liked them a lot better. Lamb is a nice meat choice since, if grass-fed, it’s high in good fatty acids and B vitamins. But if your kiddos aren’t used to the flavor, consider using half lamb and half ground beef—or even all beef—as a start.
1 pound ground lamb
1 small onion, finely shredded
1 small carrot, finely shredded
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup dried apricots, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 cup cornmeal
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place the lamb, onion, carrot, cumin, parsley, egg, cheese, apricots, and salt in a medium bowl. Use (clean) hands to combine thoroughly. Add in just enough cornmeal to make a mixture that’s easy to work with and holds the shape of a ball easily.
2. Form into 1/2-inch balls and place on baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until just starting to brown. Drain on paper towels and serve plain or in your favorite marinara sauce.