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Keftedakia Recipe

Keftedakia Recipe


Ingredients

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 tomato, finely chopped

½ cup parsley, finely chopped

3 tbsp Greek olive oil

Greek oregano

2 eggs

A pinch of salt and pepper

1 pound chopped lamb

1 pound chopped Veal

To make the tomato sauce, we need:

4 tomatoes, caramelized

½ cup Greek olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup red wine

A pinch of salt and pepper

Greek olive oil, for frying

2 cups water

==========

Directions

First, prepare the mixture for the meatballs:

In a big bowl, combine the chopped meats, and in another bowl, combine all the rest of the ingredients and mix well. We add that mixture into the bowl with the meat and mix with our hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for about 1 hour, for the mixture to settle.

Afterward, remove the bowl from the fridge and shape the meat mixture into patties. Then, place them onto a platter, cover them with parchment paper, and set them aside in the fridge, while preparing the tomato sauce.

In a very hot pot with no oil, caramelize the tomatoes by cooking down for about 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan. Then in the same hot pot sauté the onion in the dry pan, until caramelized, then add the garlic, until golden. Then, add the tomatoes, stir for 2-3 minutes, and deglaze with the wine. Pour in the olive oil and stir again. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the water and simmer for 5-6 minutes.

In the meantime, in a deep, large frying pan heat olive oil (use enough to coat all the meatballs) and when hot, fry the meatballs in batches, until evenly browned. Remove them onto a platter lined with paper towels to drain excess olive oil.

Then, add the "keftedakia" (meatballs) into the pot with the tomato sauce and boil over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce slightly thickens.

Remove the pot from the heat and serve the "keftedakia kokkinista" garnished with feta cheese.


Greek Traditional Meatballs (Keftedakia)

Keftedes: A classic Greek dish full of memories and flavor and the absolute Greek comfort food. Keftedes or else Keftedakia (smaller Keftedes) are the Greek meatballs.

The word is probably derived from the Persian “kofta” which may also be related to the Byzantine Greek “kopto” (diced). Whatever the origin may be, when we mention we’re making keftedes, smiles and happy faces appear around us.

When you make keftedes, your house is filled with the aroma of the herbs and you get really impatient to try them. It’s better if you serve them slightly warm or in room temperature though, in order to really appreciate the flavors.

These meatballs are usually served as an appetizer ("meze") with wine, beer or ouzo. They're also a great snack as you can put them in sandwiches, you can serve them in family gatherings, parties, buffets…the possibilities are endless.

You can also serve them as a main dish with French fries or roasted potatoes and salad on the side. The combination with the traditional Greek salad is amazing! And wait until you try them with tzatziki you won't believe how awesome this combo is! Actually, any yogurt sauce will do (like the one we post in this recipe), but if you do make some tzatziki you won’t regret the extra effort.

And the best part is, if there are any leftovers, you can throw them in a simple tomato,onion and garlic marinara and let them simmer for a few minutes. Serve this "new dish" over pasta. Yep you know where this is going! This way you can turn those Greek meatballs into "Italian" meatballs with pasta!

When we were growing up back in the 80s, keftedakia was a summer staple. Any picnic was starting with a Tupperware full of keftedakia. They were also consumed on the beach, after swimming as a snack. Nowadays this seems a bit old school (aka “uncool”) so you probably won’t see this happening, if you visit Greece.

But let’s get back to our meatballs recipe In this recipe the key ingredient is the mint. It makes all the difference. You can also add dry oregano or fresh parsley. We added all of these, as we want our meatballs really flavorful.

You can use various ground meats, like beef, pork, lamb (or combinations of them), like every Greek family does. Most of the time beef or veal is the only ground meat used (like we did in this recipe). Feel free to substitute any amount of beef with pork or lamb.

Some people also add a pinch of cinnamon, ground cumin or ground allspice. Ourselves, we usually add cumin, when making another traditional dish, called soutzoukakia (and lots of it).

The final mixture isn't very firm in this recipe, but this is normal and totally expected. The Greek meatballs are supposed to be a bit loose. That’s why you roll the meatballs in flour before frying them, in order to help them keep their shape and form a crust while frying.

The secret for tasty meatballs is to allow the flavors to develop. You must leave the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. It’s even better if you leave it overnight, making this a great make ahead recipe as well.


Greek Traditional Meatballs (Keftedakia)

Keftedes: A classic Greek dish full of memories and flavor and the absolute Greek comfort food. Keftedes or else Keftedakia (smaller Keftedes) are the Greek meatballs.

The word is probably derived from the Persian “kofta” which may also be related to the Byzantine Greek “kopto” (diced). Whatever the origin may be, when we mention we’re making keftedes, smiles and happy faces appear around us.

When you make keftedes, your house is filled with the aroma of the herbs and you get really impatient to try them. It’s better if you serve them slightly warm or in room temperature though, in order to really appreciate the flavors.

These meatballs are usually served as an appetizer ("meze") with wine, beer or ouzo. They're also a great snack as you can put them in sandwiches, you can serve them in family gatherings, parties, buffets…the possibilities are endless.

You can also serve them as a main dish with French fries or roasted potatoes and salad on the side. The combination with the traditional Greek salad is amazing! And wait until you try them with tzatziki you won't believe how awesome this combo is! Actually, any yogurt sauce will do (like the one we post in this recipe), but if you do make some tzatziki you won’t regret the extra effort.

And the best part is, if there are any leftovers, you can throw them in a simple tomato,onion and garlic marinara and let them simmer for a few minutes. Serve this "new dish" over pasta. Yep you know where this is going! This way you can turn those Greek meatballs into "Italian" meatballs with pasta!

When we were growing up back in the 80s, keftedakia was a summer staple. Any picnic was starting with a Tupperware full of keftedakia. They were also consumed on the beach, after swimming as a snack. Nowadays this seems a bit old school (aka “uncool”) so you probably won’t see this happening, if you visit Greece.

But let’s get back to our meatballs recipe In this recipe the key ingredient is the mint. It makes all the difference. You can also add dry oregano or fresh parsley. We added all of these, as we want our meatballs really flavorful.

You can use various ground meats, like beef, pork, lamb (or combinations of them), like every Greek family does. Most of the time beef or veal is the only ground meat used (like we did in this recipe). Feel free to substitute any amount of beef with pork or lamb.

Some people also add a pinch of cinnamon, ground cumin or ground allspice. Ourselves, we usually add cumin, when making another traditional dish, called soutzoukakia (and lots of it).

The final mixture isn't very firm in this recipe, but this is normal and totally expected. The Greek meatballs are supposed to be a bit loose. That’s why you roll the meatballs in flour before frying them, in order to help them keep their shape and form a crust while frying.

The secret for tasty meatballs is to allow the flavors to develop. You must leave the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. It’s even better if you leave it overnight, making this a great make ahead recipe as well.


Greek Traditional Meatballs (Keftedakia)

Keftedes: A classic Greek dish full of memories and flavor and the absolute Greek comfort food. Keftedes or else Keftedakia (smaller Keftedes) are the Greek meatballs.

The word is probably derived from the Persian “kofta” which may also be related to the Byzantine Greek “kopto” (diced). Whatever the origin may be, when we mention we’re making keftedes, smiles and happy faces appear around us.

When you make keftedes, your house is filled with the aroma of the herbs and you get really impatient to try them. It’s better if you serve them slightly warm or in room temperature though, in order to really appreciate the flavors.

These meatballs are usually served as an appetizer ("meze") with wine, beer or ouzo. They're also a great snack as you can put them in sandwiches, you can serve them in family gatherings, parties, buffets…the possibilities are endless.

You can also serve them as a main dish with French fries or roasted potatoes and salad on the side. The combination with the traditional Greek salad is amazing! And wait until you try them with tzatziki you won't believe how awesome this combo is! Actually, any yogurt sauce will do (like the one we post in this recipe), but if you do make some tzatziki you won’t regret the extra effort.

And the best part is, if there are any leftovers, you can throw them in a simple tomato,onion and garlic marinara and let them simmer for a few minutes. Serve this "new dish" over pasta. Yep you know where this is going! This way you can turn those Greek meatballs into "Italian" meatballs with pasta!

When we were growing up back in the 80s, keftedakia was a summer staple. Any picnic was starting with a Tupperware full of keftedakia. They were also consumed on the beach, after swimming as a snack. Nowadays this seems a bit old school (aka “uncool”) so you probably won’t see this happening, if you visit Greece.

But let’s get back to our meatballs recipe In this recipe the key ingredient is the mint. It makes all the difference. You can also add dry oregano or fresh parsley. We added all of these, as we want our meatballs really flavorful.

You can use various ground meats, like beef, pork, lamb (or combinations of them), like every Greek family does. Most of the time beef or veal is the only ground meat used (like we did in this recipe). Feel free to substitute any amount of beef with pork or lamb.

Some people also add a pinch of cinnamon, ground cumin or ground allspice. Ourselves, we usually add cumin, when making another traditional dish, called soutzoukakia (and lots of it).

The final mixture isn't very firm in this recipe, but this is normal and totally expected. The Greek meatballs are supposed to be a bit loose. That’s why you roll the meatballs in flour before frying them, in order to help them keep their shape and form a crust while frying.

The secret for tasty meatballs is to allow the flavors to develop. You must leave the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. It’s even better if you leave it overnight, making this a great make ahead recipe as well.


Greek Traditional Meatballs (Keftedakia)

Keftedes: A classic Greek dish full of memories and flavor and the absolute Greek comfort food. Keftedes or else Keftedakia (smaller Keftedes) are the Greek meatballs.

The word is probably derived from the Persian “kofta” which may also be related to the Byzantine Greek “kopto” (diced). Whatever the origin may be, when we mention we’re making keftedes, smiles and happy faces appear around us.

When you make keftedes, your house is filled with the aroma of the herbs and you get really impatient to try them. It’s better if you serve them slightly warm or in room temperature though, in order to really appreciate the flavors.

These meatballs are usually served as an appetizer ("meze") with wine, beer or ouzo. They're also a great snack as you can put them in sandwiches, you can serve them in family gatherings, parties, buffets…the possibilities are endless.

You can also serve them as a main dish with French fries or roasted potatoes and salad on the side. The combination with the traditional Greek salad is amazing! And wait until you try them with tzatziki you won't believe how awesome this combo is! Actually, any yogurt sauce will do (like the one we post in this recipe), but if you do make some tzatziki you won’t regret the extra effort.

And the best part is, if there are any leftovers, you can throw them in a simple tomato,onion and garlic marinara and let them simmer for a few minutes. Serve this "new dish" over pasta. Yep you know where this is going! This way you can turn those Greek meatballs into "Italian" meatballs with pasta!

When we were growing up back in the 80s, keftedakia was a summer staple. Any picnic was starting with a Tupperware full of keftedakia. They were also consumed on the beach, after swimming as a snack. Nowadays this seems a bit old school (aka “uncool”) so you probably won’t see this happening, if you visit Greece.

But let’s get back to our meatballs recipe In this recipe the key ingredient is the mint. It makes all the difference. You can also add dry oregano or fresh parsley. We added all of these, as we want our meatballs really flavorful.

You can use various ground meats, like beef, pork, lamb (or combinations of them), like every Greek family does. Most of the time beef or veal is the only ground meat used (like we did in this recipe). Feel free to substitute any amount of beef with pork or lamb.

Some people also add a pinch of cinnamon, ground cumin or ground allspice. Ourselves, we usually add cumin, when making another traditional dish, called soutzoukakia (and lots of it).

The final mixture isn't very firm in this recipe, but this is normal and totally expected. The Greek meatballs are supposed to be a bit loose. That’s why you roll the meatballs in flour before frying them, in order to help them keep their shape and form a crust while frying.

The secret for tasty meatballs is to allow the flavors to develop. You must leave the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. It’s even better if you leave it overnight, making this a great make ahead recipe as well.


Greek Traditional Meatballs (Keftedakia)

Keftedes: A classic Greek dish full of memories and flavor and the absolute Greek comfort food. Keftedes or else Keftedakia (smaller Keftedes) are the Greek meatballs.

The word is probably derived from the Persian “kofta” which may also be related to the Byzantine Greek “kopto” (diced). Whatever the origin may be, when we mention we’re making keftedes, smiles and happy faces appear around us.

When you make keftedes, your house is filled with the aroma of the herbs and you get really impatient to try them. It’s better if you serve them slightly warm or in room temperature though, in order to really appreciate the flavors.

These meatballs are usually served as an appetizer ("meze") with wine, beer or ouzo. They're also a great snack as you can put them in sandwiches, you can serve them in family gatherings, parties, buffets…the possibilities are endless.

You can also serve them as a main dish with French fries or roasted potatoes and salad on the side. The combination with the traditional Greek salad is amazing! And wait until you try them with tzatziki you won't believe how awesome this combo is! Actually, any yogurt sauce will do (like the one we post in this recipe), but if you do make some tzatziki you won’t regret the extra effort.

And the best part is, if there are any leftovers, you can throw them in a simple tomato,onion and garlic marinara and let them simmer for a few minutes. Serve this "new dish" over pasta. Yep you know where this is going! This way you can turn those Greek meatballs into "Italian" meatballs with pasta!

When we were growing up back in the 80s, keftedakia was a summer staple. Any picnic was starting with a Tupperware full of keftedakia. They were also consumed on the beach, after swimming as a snack. Nowadays this seems a bit old school (aka “uncool”) so you probably won’t see this happening, if you visit Greece.

But let’s get back to our meatballs recipe In this recipe the key ingredient is the mint. It makes all the difference. You can also add dry oregano or fresh parsley. We added all of these, as we want our meatballs really flavorful.

You can use various ground meats, like beef, pork, lamb (or combinations of them), like every Greek family does. Most of the time beef or veal is the only ground meat used (like we did in this recipe). Feel free to substitute any amount of beef with pork or lamb.

Some people also add a pinch of cinnamon, ground cumin or ground allspice. Ourselves, we usually add cumin, when making another traditional dish, called soutzoukakia (and lots of it).

The final mixture isn't very firm in this recipe, but this is normal and totally expected. The Greek meatballs are supposed to be a bit loose. That’s why you roll the meatballs in flour before frying them, in order to help them keep their shape and form a crust while frying.

The secret for tasty meatballs is to allow the flavors to develop. You must leave the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. It’s even better if you leave it overnight, making this a great make ahead recipe as well.


Greek Traditional Meatballs (Keftedakia)

Keftedes: A classic Greek dish full of memories and flavor and the absolute Greek comfort food. Keftedes or else Keftedakia (smaller Keftedes) are the Greek meatballs.

The word is probably derived from the Persian “kofta” which may also be related to the Byzantine Greek “kopto” (diced). Whatever the origin may be, when we mention we’re making keftedes, smiles and happy faces appear around us.

When you make keftedes, your house is filled with the aroma of the herbs and you get really impatient to try them. It’s better if you serve them slightly warm or in room temperature though, in order to really appreciate the flavors.

These meatballs are usually served as an appetizer ("meze") with wine, beer or ouzo. They're also a great snack as you can put them in sandwiches, you can serve them in family gatherings, parties, buffets…the possibilities are endless.

You can also serve them as a main dish with French fries or roasted potatoes and salad on the side. The combination with the traditional Greek salad is amazing! And wait until you try them with tzatziki you won't believe how awesome this combo is! Actually, any yogurt sauce will do (like the one we post in this recipe), but if you do make some tzatziki you won’t regret the extra effort.

And the best part is, if there are any leftovers, you can throw them in a simple tomato,onion and garlic marinara and let them simmer for a few minutes. Serve this "new dish" over pasta. Yep you know where this is going! This way you can turn those Greek meatballs into "Italian" meatballs with pasta!

When we were growing up back in the 80s, keftedakia was a summer staple. Any picnic was starting with a Tupperware full of keftedakia. They were also consumed on the beach, after swimming as a snack. Nowadays this seems a bit old school (aka “uncool”) so you probably won’t see this happening, if you visit Greece.

But let’s get back to our meatballs recipe In this recipe the key ingredient is the mint. It makes all the difference. You can also add dry oregano or fresh parsley. We added all of these, as we want our meatballs really flavorful.

You can use various ground meats, like beef, pork, lamb (or combinations of them), like every Greek family does. Most of the time beef or veal is the only ground meat used (like we did in this recipe). Feel free to substitute any amount of beef with pork or lamb.

Some people also add a pinch of cinnamon, ground cumin or ground allspice. Ourselves, we usually add cumin, when making another traditional dish, called soutzoukakia (and lots of it).

The final mixture isn't very firm in this recipe, but this is normal and totally expected. The Greek meatballs are supposed to be a bit loose. That’s why you roll the meatballs in flour before frying them, in order to help them keep their shape and form a crust while frying.

The secret for tasty meatballs is to allow the flavors to develop. You must leave the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. It’s even better if you leave it overnight, making this a great make ahead recipe as well.


Greek Traditional Meatballs (Keftedakia)

Keftedes: A classic Greek dish full of memories and flavor and the absolute Greek comfort food. Keftedes or else Keftedakia (smaller Keftedes) are the Greek meatballs.

The word is probably derived from the Persian “kofta” which may also be related to the Byzantine Greek “kopto” (diced). Whatever the origin may be, when we mention we’re making keftedes, smiles and happy faces appear around us.

When you make keftedes, your house is filled with the aroma of the herbs and you get really impatient to try them. It’s better if you serve them slightly warm or in room temperature though, in order to really appreciate the flavors.

These meatballs are usually served as an appetizer ("meze") with wine, beer or ouzo. They're also a great snack as you can put them in sandwiches, you can serve them in family gatherings, parties, buffets…the possibilities are endless.

You can also serve them as a main dish with French fries or roasted potatoes and salad on the side. The combination with the traditional Greek salad is amazing! And wait until you try them with tzatziki you won't believe how awesome this combo is! Actually, any yogurt sauce will do (like the one we post in this recipe), but if you do make some tzatziki you won’t regret the extra effort.

And the best part is, if there are any leftovers, you can throw them in a simple tomato,onion and garlic marinara and let them simmer for a few minutes. Serve this "new dish" over pasta. Yep you know where this is going! This way you can turn those Greek meatballs into "Italian" meatballs with pasta!

When we were growing up back in the 80s, keftedakia was a summer staple. Any picnic was starting with a Tupperware full of keftedakia. They were also consumed on the beach, after swimming as a snack. Nowadays this seems a bit old school (aka “uncool”) so you probably won’t see this happening, if you visit Greece.

But let’s get back to our meatballs recipe In this recipe the key ingredient is the mint. It makes all the difference. You can also add dry oregano or fresh parsley. We added all of these, as we want our meatballs really flavorful.

You can use various ground meats, like beef, pork, lamb (or combinations of them), like every Greek family does. Most of the time beef or veal is the only ground meat used (like we did in this recipe). Feel free to substitute any amount of beef with pork or lamb.

Some people also add a pinch of cinnamon, ground cumin or ground allspice. Ourselves, we usually add cumin, when making another traditional dish, called soutzoukakia (and lots of it).

The final mixture isn't very firm in this recipe, but this is normal and totally expected. The Greek meatballs are supposed to be a bit loose. That’s why you roll the meatballs in flour before frying them, in order to help them keep their shape and form a crust while frying.

The secret for tasty meatballs is to allow the flavors to develop. You must leave the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. It’s even better if you leave it overnight, making this a great make ahead recipe as well.


Greek Traditional Meatballs (Keftedakia)

Keftedes: A classic Greek dish full of memories and flavor and the absolute Greek comfort food. Keftedes or else Keftedakia (smaller Keftedes) are the Greek meatballs.

The word is probably derived from the Persian “kofta” which may also be related to the Byzantine Greek “kopto” (diced). Whatever the origin may be, when we mention we’re making keftedes, smiles and happy faces appear around us.

When you make keftedes, your house is filled with the aroma of the herbs and you get really impatient to try them. It’s better if you serve them slightly warm or in room temperature though, in order to really appreciate the flavors.

These meatballs are usually served as an appetizer ("meze") with wine, beer or ouzo. They're also a great snack as you can put them in sandwiches, you can serve them in family gatherings, parties, buffets…the possibilities are endless.

You can also serve them as a main dish with French fries or roasted potatoes and salad on the side. The combination with the traditional Greek salad is amazing! And wait until you try them with tzatziki you won't believe how awesome this combo is! Actually, any yogurt sauce will do (like the one we post in this recipe), but if you do make some tzatziki you won’t regret the extra effort.

And the best part is, if there are any leftovers, you can throw them in a simple tomato,onion and garlic marinara and let them simmer for a few minutes. Serve this "new dish" over pasta. Yep you know where this is going! This way you can turn those Greek meatballs into "Italian" meatballs with pasta!

When we were growing up back in the 80s, keftedakia was a summer staple. Any picnic was starting with a Tupperware full of keftedakia. They were also consumed on the beach, after swimming as a snack. Nowadays this seems a bit old school (aka “uncool”) so you probably won’t see this happening, if you visit Greece.

But let’s get back to our meatballs recipe In this recipe the key ingredient is the mint. It makes all the difference. You can also add dry oregano or fresh parsley. We added all of these, as we want our meatballs really flavorful.

You can use various ground meats, like beef, pork, lamb (or combinations of them), like every Greek family does. Most of the time beef or veal is the only ground meat used (like we did in this recipe). Feel free to substitute any amount of beef with pork or lamb.

Some people also add a pinch of cinnamon, ground cumin or ground allspice. Ourselves, we usually add cumin, when making another traditional dish, called soutzoukakia (and lots of it).

The final mixture isn't very firm in this recipe, but this is normal and totally expected. The Greek meatballs are supposed to be a bit loose. That’s why you roll the meatballs in flour before frying them, in order to help them keep their shape and form a crust while frying.

The secret for tasty meatballs is to allow the flavors to develop. You must leave the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. It’s even better if you leave it overnight, making this a great make ahead recipe as well.


Greek Traditional Meatballs (Keftedakia)

Keftedes: A classic Greek dish full of memories and flavor and the absolute Greek comfort food. Keftedes or else Keftedakia (smaller Keftedes) are the Greek meatballs.

The word is probably derived from the Persian “kofta” which may also be related to the Byzantine Greek “kopto” (diced). Whatever the origin may be, when we mention we’re making keftedes, smiles and happy faces appear around us.

When you make keftedes, your house is filled with the aroma of the herbs and you get really impatient to try them. It’s better if you serve them slightly warm or in room temperature though, in order to really appreciate the flavors.

These meatballs are usually served as an appetizer ("meze") with wine, beer or ouzo. They're also a great snack as you can put them in sandwiches, you can serve them in family gatherings, parties, buffets…the possibilities are endless.

You can also serve them as a main dish with French fries or roasted potatoes and salad on the side. The combination with the traditional Greek salad is amazing! And wait until you try them with tzatziki you won't believe how awesome this combo is! Actually, any yogurt sauce will do (like the one we post in this recipe), but if you do make some tzatziki you won’t regret the extra effort.

And the best part is, if there are any leftovers, you can throw them in a simple tomato,onion and garlic marinara and let them simmer for a few minutes. Serve this "new dish" over pasta. Yep you know where this is going! This way you can turn those Greek meatballs into "Italian" meatballs with pasta!

When we were growing up back in the 80s, keftedakia was a summer staple. Any picnic was starting with a Tupperware full of keftedakia. They were also consumed on the beach, after swimming as a snack. Nowadays this seems a bit old school (aka “uncool”) so you probably won’t see this happening, if you visit Greece.

But let’s get back to our meatballs recipe In this recipe the key ingredient is the mint. It makes all the difference. You can also add dry oregano or fresh parsley. We added all of these, as we want our meatballs really flavorful.

You can use various ground meats, like beef, pork, lamb (or combinations of them), like every Greek family does. Most of the time beef or veal is the only ground meat used (like we did in this recipe). Feel free to substitute any amount of beef with pork or lamb.

Some people also add a pinch of cinnamon, ground cumin or ground allspice. Ourselves, we usually add cumin, when making another traditional dish, called soutzoukakia (and lots of it).

The final mixture isn't very firm in this recipe, but this is normal and totally expected. The Greek meatballs are supposed to be a bit loose. That’s why you roll the meatballs in flour before frying them, in order to help them keep their shape and form a crust while frying.

The secret for tasty meatballs is to allow the flavors to develop. You must leave the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. It’s even better if you leave it overnight, making this a great make ahead recipe as well.


Greek Traditional Meatballs (Keftedakia)

Keftedes: A classic Greek dish full of memories and flavor and the absolute Greek comfort food. Keftedes or else Keftedakia (smaller Keftedes) are the Greek meatballs.

The word is probably derived from the Persian “kofta” which may also be related to the Byzantine Greek “kopto” (diced). Whatever the origin may be, when we mention we’re making keftedes, smiles and happy faces appear around us.

When you make keftedes, your house is filled with the aroma of the herbs and you get really impatient to try them. It’s better if you serve them slightly warm or in room temperature though, in order to really appreciate the flavors.

These meatballs are usually served as an appetizer ("meze") with wine, beer or ouzo. They're also a great snack as you can put them in sandwiches, you can serve them in family gatherings, parties, buffets…the possibilities are endless.

You can also serve them as a main dish with French fries or roasted potatoes and salad on the side. The combination with the traditional Greek salad is amazing! And wait until you try them with tzatziki you won't believe how awesome this combo is! Actually, any yogurt sauce will do (like the one we post in this recipe), but if you do make some tzatziki you won’t regret the extra effort.

And the best part is, if there are any leftovers, you can throw them in a simple tomato,onion and garlic marinara and let them simmer for a few minutes. Serve this "new dish" over pasta. Yep you know where this is going! This way you can turn those Greek meatballs into "Italian" meatballs with pasta!

When we were growing up back in the 80s, keftedakia was a summer staple. Any picnic was starting with a Tupperware full of keftedakia. They were also consumed on the beach, after swimming as a snack. Nowadays this seems a bit old school (aka “uncool”) so you probably won’t see this happening, if you visit Greece.

But let’s get back to our meatballs recipe In this recipe the key ingredient is the mint. It makes all the difference. You can also add dry oregano or fresh parsley. We added all of these, as we want our meatballs really flavorful.

You can use various ground meats, like beef, pork, lamb (or combinations of them), like every Greek family does. Most of the time beef or veal is the only ground meat used (like we did in this recipe). Feel free to substitute any amount of beef with pork or lamb.

Some people also add a pinch of cinnamon, ground cumin or ground allspice. Ourselves, we usually add cumin, when making another traditional dish, called soutzoukakia (and lots of it).

The final mixture isn't very firm in this recipe, but this is normal and totally expected. The Greek meatballs are supposed to be a bit loose. That’s why you roll the meatballs in flour before frying them, in order to help them keep their shape and form a crust while frying.

The secret for tasty meatballs is to allow the flavors to develop. You must leave the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. It’s even better if you leave it overnight, making this a great make ahead recipe as well.