These Greek Turkey Meatballs were inspired by flavors in the classic tzatziki sauce. Fresh dill, lemon zest, and ground turkey combine to create a flavorful meatball for the perfect gyro bowl. Top with creamy tzatziki sauce made with siggi’s, and you’ve got a winning combo!
Disclosure: Ingredients to create this recipe were provided by Whole Foods stores of Kansas City. I was not compensated for my time.
Open wide, there’s a whole lot of flavor coming your way with this one! I’ve always loved tzatziki sauce. It’s the classic, creamy sauce stuffed inside gyros and served at Greek restaurants and food trucks everywhere. Having never traveled to Greece (unfortunately) I can’t vouch for how authentic this version is but I can tell you it’s pretty tasty.
Another one of my favorite things: siggi’s, in every style and flavor. I’ve been a siggi’s ambassador for a while now but I was a big fan of the thick, creamy, tangy-tart skyr well before that. Skyr originates in Iceland, and if you imagine Greek yogurt on steroids, that kind of gives you an idea of the texture.
I’m talking like, one step away from being cream cheese. It’s that thick.
But I also love the nutrition in skyr. Greek yogurts have become increasingly sweet over the years, and while I still enjoy a fruity flavor as much as the next person, I sometimes want a little more “oomph” in my meals and siggi’s delivers. It’s got more grams of protein than sugar, which is pretty impressive in my book and sets the standard high for other yogurts to compare.
To craft these Greek Turkey Meatballs, I started with a pound of 94% lean ground turkey. It’s pretty tough to find ground turkey that isn’t lean, it’s just naturally lower in fat than other protein options. Although there is also 99% lean ground turkey out there, I recommend sticking with the less lean version to avoid a super dry meatball texture. The fat is what helps retain moisture – so important for carrying flavor, too. Without it, biting into a meat ball can be an escapade in chewing and searching for something to wash it down with.
AKA, not real fun.
This recipe could also be done with ground chicken, beef, sausage, or any other protein you’re partial to. But June happens to be Turkey Lovers Month (I know, I know, there’s a month for everything now) so let’s just go with that!
This is technically a 3-part recipe. Now, don’t get intimidated – with a little coordination in the kitchen this meal can still be on your table in about 30 minutes. Multi-tasking or delegating tasks can help, as well as prepping what you can ahead of time. Here’s a few ideas for that:
- Make the tzatziki sauce ahead of time. If you’re planning on Greek Turkey Meatballs with dinner, go ahead and prep the sauce in the morning or even the day before. It stores well in the fridge as long as it’s in an airtight container, and the flavors are usually even better the next day.
- Replace the fresh dill with dried. You’ll save time since you won’t need to rinse, dry, and chop the fresh version.
- Outsource some veggie chopping by snagging prepped veggies off the salad bar. If you’re not planning to repeat any of these ingredients in your next meal, this can also be a great tactic to reduce food waste. This is one of my favorite tips to make prepping veggies more convenient.
- Skip the lemon zest if you have to and substitute lemon juice instead. It may not have the same “pop” that fresh lemon zest gives, but the essence of the recipe will be the same and you can eliminate a few steps. Just start slow – you can always add more!
- Batch cook your lentils or other grain or starch ahead of time and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop with the meatballs are baking. Quinoa, sorghum, rice, or orzo can all be substitutes for lentils.
I hope this is enough to get your tastebuds dreaming of this gyro bowl with Greek Turkey Meatballs! I know Mr. Street Smart put his seal of approval on them – even though I was hoping for lunch leftovers, there wasn’t much left by the time he was finished!
Have you tried meatballs with ground turkey before? What did you notice about the different texture, and how did you like it?
Greek Gyro Bowl with Turkey Meatballs
Prep Time: about 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Yield: 4 bowls
1 pound (16 oz.) ground turkey
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons fresh dill
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried onion
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 Tablespoons bread crumbs
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 cup feta cheese
4 cups cooked lentils
1 container 0% plain siggi’s skyr
1/4 cup grated cucumber
1 teaspoon minced garlic, or one large clove minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Prepare the tzatziki sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. If desired, squeeze the grated cucumber to remove excess water for a thicker sauce. Cover the mixing bowl and place in the fridge to allow flavors to mix while preparing the other ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the meatballs. Using your hands, gently mix together until the herbs, egg, lemon zest and breadcrumbs are evenly mixed. Shape the mixture into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter and place on the baking sheet. Space the meatballs so they do not touch.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and the inside of the meatballs are fully cooked.
While the meatballs are baking, reheat the lentils or cook lentils in a saucepan (refer to notes below). Prepare the vegetables for the bowl: dice the cucumber, slice the onions, and slice the cherry tomatoes in half. When the meatballs are fully cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Build your bowls by arranging the lentils on the bottom, then topping with equal amount of tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions in each. Add the turkey meatballs, then add the feta cheese and tzatziki sauce.
Garnish with lemon wedges or fresh dill if desired. Serve immediately.
If cooking dried lentils, add 20-25 minutes cooking time or cook while the meatballs are baking.
One cup of dried lentils is equal to approximately 2 to 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils. For each cup of dried lentils, use 3 cups of water or low sodium broth or stock. Simmer over medium heat until all liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.