Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs

These Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs deserve a spot on your dinner menu soon!  Served up with grilled naan and a bit of tzatziki sauce, these meatballs are sure to become a favorite in your house, too!

These Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs deserve a spot on your dinner menu soon!  Served up with grilled naan and a bit of tzatziki sauce, these meatballs are sure to become a favorite in your house, too!Ah, weeds.  I have a love/hate relationship with weeds.  Wait, who am I kidding?  My relationship with weeds is 100% hate.  (Yes, hate is a strong word.  But we’re talking about weeds.)  Ok, maybe I should say it’s 99% hate because without weeds, I’m not sure I’d have much of a backyard.  Hey, weeds are green from a distance, too!  But I only have a moderately-sized suburban yard worth of weeds to deal with.  Imagine if you had thousands of acres of weeds to deal with.  1000s of acres!  I recently learned that’s exactly what Debbie Lyons-Blythe deals with on her cattle ranch in central Kansas.  (And for reference here, one acre is roughly the size of a football field.  That’s a lot of weeds!)

These Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs deserve a spot on your dinner menu soon!  Served up with grilled naan and a bit of tzatziki sauce, these meatballs are sure to become a favorite in your house, too!Debbie’s answer to the weeds?  Burn ’em.  That’s right.  Burn ’em.  The problem with the weeds and woody shrubs that aren’t native to the prairie is they choke out native grasses, and cattle love to eat native grasses.  So the answer?  Pasture burning.  Interestingly enough, burning the invasive species actually encourages more diversity in plant species in the prairie.  But in order to make pasture burning work, the timing has to be pretty exact.  You’ve got to make sure the new spring grass (the good grass!) is still young enough to recover from the burning, but you also want to make sure to get the brush and weeds as they are starting to bud.  And of course, you’ve got to be careful that the fire doesn’t get out of control.  Debbie and her family even use online weather models to make sure the smoke will dissipate before reaching any major cities.  But in the end, pasture burning is just another spring day on a cattle ranch in central Kansas.

Pasture burning in KansasFor Debbie’s ranch in central Kansas, pasture burning is the most efficient way to “reset” a field so that native grasses can thrive.  There are some trendy food documentaries out there that fail to provide the full story about cattle and what they eat.  All cattle eat grass for most of their lives.  Let me say that again.  All cattle eat grass for most of their lives.  However, in order for Debbie’s cattle to graze on grass in the summer, she and her family have to spend the spring burning off all of those invasive weeds.  Plus, burning the weeds means no chemicals are needed to control them.  (Hmmm…I wonder if I can burn off the invasive weeds in my backyard?  I’m thinking Laura might put the kibosh on that idea.  Oh well.)

Kansas cattle farmingOver the past 6 months or so, I’ve written a couple of posts about what life on a cattle farm looks like.  I didn’t grow up on a cattle farm, and until recently I had no idea what cattle farming meant.  But as I’ve gotten older (and as I’m now a parent), I like to know more about where my food comes from.  That means I wanted to learn more about cattle farms here in the States.  Cattle farming is a labor of love.  I’ve had the opportunity to visit about half a dozen farms and chat with a number of ranchers.  They all say the same thing.  Cattle farming is hard work, but it’s a wonderful way of life!

And if you think all ranchers are gruff men wearing chaps and riding horses, then think again!  Most cattle ranches in the United States are family-owned operations, and Debbie’s ranch is no different.  She runs her ranch with the help of her husband and 5 kids.  I had the chance to spend a couple of days with Debbie out in Denver last Fall, and it was fascinating to hear her talk about her ranch.  And I also chuckled when she stepped away from the dinner table one night to chat with her husband on the phone about which cows he bought at a recent auction.  The work on a cattle ranch never stops!

Ranch familySpring also means breeding season for Debbie, and as I mentioned in this previous post, calving season on a ranch is an all-hands-on-deck time of the year.  There are long days and little sleep, but that’s a minor inconvenience to ensure that the cows are safe and comfortable while calving.  As tired as she might be after a long day, Debbie still considers herself lucky.  “I get to work every single day with my son who hopes to one day take over our ranch. How many jobs have that as a benefit?”  Somehow Debbie also manages to post regularly to her blog, Kids, Cows and Grass, and I encourage you to follow along.  Her posts shed a lot of light on what it’s like to be a rancher.

These Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs deserve a spot on your dinner menu soon!  Served up with grilled naan and a bit of tzatziki sauce, these meatballs are sure to become a favorite in your house, too!Shifting gears a bit, let’s turn from cattle ranching in the spring to these Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs.  These meatball kobobs.  Wow, just wow!  This Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs recipe needs to be bookmarked, printed out, filed in your recipe box, etc.  Trust me on this one!  This entire dish is packed with fresh flavors, and I’m pretty sure I could eat this one every.single.night.  Perhaps while watching the weeds burn in my backyard?  Hah.

These Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs deserve a spot on your dinner menu soon!  Served up with grilled naan and a bit of tzatziki sauce, these meatballs are sure to become a favorite in your house, too!Seriously though, Laura introduced me to naan a number of years ago, and I’ve loved it ever since.  I mean I do love all breads, so it was pretty much guaranteed that I would love naan.  Give that naan a quick sear for grill marks and then pile it high with homemade tzatziki sauce (it’s not very hard to make!), chopped cucumbers and tomatoes and then several of these meatballs?  Count me in for that one!  So put these Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs on your menu soon.  And then put them on the menu again right afterwards.  Enjoy, my friends!

These Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs deserve a spot on your dinner menu soon!  Served up with grilled naan and a bit of tzatziki sauce, these meatballs are sure to become a favorite in your house, too!

Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs

These Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs deserve a spot on your dinner menu soon!  Served up with grilled naan and a bit of tzatziki sauce, these meatballs are sure to become a favorite in your house, too!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 632kcal

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 pound lean ground beef I used Certified Angus Beef’s 90/10 blend
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

For the Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 5.3-oz. container plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ tsp garlic minced
  • Tbsp lemon juice ~½ medium lemon
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

For the Naan

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 pieces of naan or pita bread
  • 2 Roma tomatoes diced
  • ¾ cup cucumber diced
  • ½ cup red onion diced
  • additional fresh parsley chopped

Instructions

For the Meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  • Using a medium mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk; let soak for 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining meatball ingredients (beef, egg, parsley, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper). Mix until just combined. (Tip: Take care not to overmix or the meatball may be tough.)
  • Shape mixture into (16) 1-1¼” meatballs.
  • Thread meatballs onto (4) 10” metal skewers. Place skewers on baking sheet and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until meatballs each internal temperature of 160°F.

For the Tzatziki Sauce

  • Slice the cucumber lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out any seeds. Using a medium grater, grate the cucumber into a bowl. Using several paper towels, press the grated cucumber firmly to remove as much liquid as possible.
  • Add all of the remaining ingredients (yogurt, sour cream, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, salt and pepper) and mix until well blended.

For the Naan

  • Brush the naan with olive oil. Using a grill (outdoor) or grill pan (indoor), grill for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly grilled.
  • Drizzle tzatziki sauce evenly across the tops of all 4 naan.
  • Remove meatballs from skewers and place 4 meatballs onto each piece of naan. Top with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and parsley.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Kentucky Beef Council.

These Mediterranean Meatball Kabobs deserve a spot on your dinner menu soon!  Served up with grilled naan and a bit of tzatziki sauce, these meatballs are sure to become a favorite in your house, too!

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28 Comments

  1. I can’t stand weeds either!! I don’t like ’em and HAVE to remove ’em every time I see one. Ugh. They are so aggravating. Though, I don’t know if I’d burn my grass to get rid of them, lol. Now, these kabobs! They look AMAZING David. And I would definitely pile on the tzatziki sauce. Love the dill in there. Have to give this one a go for sure! Have an awesome week, David 🙂

    1. I was actually standing outside in the yard last night with Robbie. He was picking “flowers” (aka dandelions) while I was going around pulling weeds. I’m super thankful for the warm weather…but the weeds! Ugh. And these meatballs are one of my new favorite recipes for summer grilling, Dawn. Give ’em a shot! Thanks so much!

  2. Field burning is a HUGE thing where I’m from–there are more restrictions on it now but in August when I was growing up the entire valley looked like your pictures and smoke was everywhere for days. I never really knew why they did it because I was a “city” girl so I’m glad for the explanation. I’m loving these posts about cattle ranching. Maybe next year you could do a post on mini pig ranching? That would be quite helpful for me :). Anyway, these kabobs sound fantastic. I LOVE naan! Have a great week, my friend!

    1. Interesting! I’ve never really heard of field burning, but I can totally understand the advantages of it. (Granted, I didn’t grow up in a farming community, so I’m still on the learning curve here.) I’m all about the mini-pig ranching posts! Actually, why don’t you just get that mini-pig, and then I can use you as a resource? 🙂 Thanks so much, Kelsie!!

  3. I was brought up on a farm in Germany but neither my brother nor I became farmers. I always enjoy reading stories about farming, it brings back childhood memories. Thank you! Your meatballs with the tzatziki sauce look like something I would like to make soon. Pinned!

    1. Interesting! I didn’t grow up on a farm, Gerlinde (I’m a “city boy.”), but I’ve enjoyed learning all about farming. Farmers are a hard-working bunch for sure! I’m so happy these cattle ranching posts can help bring back childhood memories. Those memories really are fun, aren’t they? 🙂 Also, these meatballs are seriously good. They’re a new favorite around here, and this recipe is definitely on our regular rotation now! Enjoy, my friend!

  4. I’m not a gardener (Andrey is), but I know the pain those nasty weeds may bring. They can ruin all my lavender which would be a disaster!:) Love these meatballs – they look so succulent and delicious. But wait. Did you say Naan? You’ve got my attention, David! Now I should turn this recipe into a pizza. I’ll send you a slice as a credit sharing.

    1. Oh those weeds. I hate ’em! But I’m not diligent enough (or care enough) to go out with the weed killer every night. But ruining a whole crop of lavender? Now that would be a problem! Wait, did you say you’re sending me a slice of your famous naan pizza? Sounds delicious…I’ll be waiting by the mailbox!

  5. My dad always says a weed is in the eye of the beholder….think about dandelions! Some people hate them and some people think they are fit for a harvest! 🙂 I’d say you’d better avoid burning unless you have as many acres as that beautiful farm! Love these meatball kabobs! They look amazing!

    1. Haha! I love that saying, Kathy. But I always say a weed is still a weed. I mean dandelions look nice with that pop of yellow…until they completely take over your entire yard! And I’ve never understood the whole eating dandelions thing. Maybe I’d have a different opinion if I tried them, but I dunno. Either way, these meatball kabobs are quite tasty. Give ’em a shot sometime soon if you (or Rod) pull out the grill!

  6. My son is so into meatballs ! If I make your version ( and I will) he’ll be happy to know more about you and your posts, so , yes David, you will have another loyal admirer ! Thank you and enjoy the day 🙂

    1. Why thank you very much for the kind words! I love a good meatball, too, and I really hope you enjoy this recipe. The meatballs are delicious, and when combined with the naan and tzatziki this becomes one heck of a tasty meal! Happy grilling, my friend!

  7. These Mediterranean Meatball Kobobs sound amazing David and the thought of them stuffed in a grilled Naan with some homemade tzatziki sauce is making me drool. Fortunately on returning from our hike on the West Highland Way, we’ve got some better weather here and I was able to get our grass cut yesterday. We’ve plenty of weeds, but I don’t think I would get away with burning them in our neighbourhood! LOL! Hope you are well! 🙂

    1. Haha…I don’t think I could get away with burning weeds in our neighborhood either. I’ll have to get out there this week and mow the grass for the first time, though. It’s growing like, well, a weed! Glad you’ve made it back from the hike, my friend!

  8. Beautiful! And I can tell they’re not overcooked! (sorry, I really HATE anything that’s overcooked, especially meat!) This is a great post. I think these would be wonderful with half lamb and half beef! That’s what I do when I’m making kofta or some kind of skewered Indian-spiced meatball – I use half beef so my husband eats them. He claims he hates lamb. My joke. Not nice, but I LOVE lamb, and otherwise I don’t get to cook with it.

    1. Haha! I agree with you about overcooked food, Mimi. There’s nothing worse than sitting down for a meal that you’ve been looking forward to only to find that it’s overcooked. So I have to ask…does your husband know you include half-lamb in your kofta? Tricky tricky! I have to say that these meatballs are 100% beef, and they’re a huge winner! Like this recipe has skyrocketed up to one of our favorite grilled recipes ever. 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend!

    1. I agree with you about weeds, Dawn…too bad we can’t just burn ’em all, huh? 🙂 And, yes, these meatballs are delicious! Add in some grilled naan, and you’ve got one heck of a delicious summer meal.

  9. Weeds! Such a pain… So fascinating to learn about pasture burning. Sounds like an efficient way to deal with the problem.

    I’m a big meatball fan and these look amazing! Can’t go wrong with those delicious mediterranean flavors!

    1. I agree with you, Marissa! I’d love to just burn all of the weeds in my yard…heck, I think my yard is about 99% weeds anyways. Hah! (Hey, at least weeds are green, too…from a distance, you can’t tell.) As far as these meatballs, YUM! These seriously are on the short list of our favorite grilling recipes now. 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend!

  10. I used to hate weeds to – then I got rid of them once and for all by moving to a condo 😁
    Seriously though, I have loved reading your recounts of life on a ranch. So incredibly fascinating. And I had no idea burning grass was practiced there too- I had a friend who had his professionally burned last year and it grew back beautifully!
    Now onto these naan meatball kabobs – ooh grilling that naan first is such a fantastic idea! Deliciousness overload for sure!

    1. Ok, I think you’ve given me the best possible perk of moving into a condo. I mean I love our yard, but the upkeep just seems to grow every year. Oh well. So I didn’t realize that you can have your lawn “professionally burned.” Interesting! I wonder if I can do that here? Sounds like fun to me! Also, these meatballs? Delicious! Seriously delicious! Thanks so much, my friend!

    1. I loved my childhood (growing up on the cobblestone streets of Charleston, SC), and I would do anything to relive those years again. As fun as they were, though, we didn’t have any cows in our back pasture. I kinda wish I had grown up on a ranch! But I’m making up for lost time and visiting all sorts of ranches lately…so much fun! Thanks, Karen! Also, these kabobs? Delicious!!

  11. Oh, man, David, jus the word “weed” makes me cringe. That’s because my garden is chock-full of the horrible things. I should’ve mulched last winter, but my laziness got the better of me. However, this recipe looks so easy and so delicious, I’m tempted to make it this week! I lov the Mediterranean flavors! Thanks and pinning!

    1. You’re telling me, Laura! We just planted our garden this past weekend, and somehow the weeds have already taken over…and we’re just getting started! Ugh. Maybe I’ll remember to actually mulch the garden before the winter next year. I’ve never thought about that trick! Either way, let’s forget about weeds and make these meatball kabobs, ok? They’re one of our favorites!! 🙂

  12. 5 stars
    Hi, David! I just discovered your site after this recipe popped up on my Pinterest home, and I’m so glad I did – these meatball kabob sandwiches were not only beautiful but so good and so easy! My two-year-old, who is only picky in that he loves flavorful food and doesn’t like anything bland, gobbled these right up, and my husband said this is definitely a keeper. He took leftovers to work the next day, and all of his buddies were commenting about how jealous they were of his lunch. I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes! Thank you!

    1. Hey Rachel! I’m so glad you stumbled across my site, and I’m really happy that you enjoyed these meatball kabob sandwiches! I haven’t made this recipe in a while, and your comment is reminding me that I should make it again! 🙂 Please do explore the site – I hope you stumble across some other recipes that become new family favorites. And don’t be shy about comments or questions. I try to respond to each and every comment!

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