If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying traditional gyros or meatball gyros, after trying this recipe you will understand why they are a Greek cuisine staple!
This is a well-balanced dish that you can serve solo or with your favorite side—maybe French fries or roasted potatoes.
What are Greek Meatball Gyros?
Greek Meatball Gyros are a delicious dish originating from Greece that features juicy, flavorful meatballs in a pita bread wrap. In Greece, the meatballs are made with a combination of ground meat, garlic, onion, and a variety of herbs and spices.
The pita wraps around the ingredients, and the meatballs are topped with a cucumber and tomato salad and a creamy tzatziki sauce. If you’re looking for something delicious and different, this recipe hits the spot!
The History of Greek Meatball Gyros
Greek meatballs (aka. Keftedes or Keftethes) are a delicious and beloved staple of Greek cuisine. These savory treats have been enjoyed for centuries, with the first written record of them being found in the late 1600s.
The traditional gyro meatball is made with a blend of ground beef and pork. This differs from the cylindrical rotisserie sliced lamb gyros that you may have already tried. The sauce and veggies are the same, but the meat and seasonings differ.
To keep things simple, these meatballs are made with ground beef.
Ingredients and Shopping List
Tzatziki Sauce Ingredients:
- Plain Greek yogurt—Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than standard yogurt.
- Grated cucumber—this sauce is also referred to as cucumber sauce or gyro sauce. It’s a light and refreshing contrast to the savory meatballs.
- Garlic—minced garlic adds a bit of a kick to this creamy sauce.
- Olive oil—while you can substitute any vegetable oil in some recipes, this recipe calls for extra virgin olive oil for flavor and texture.
- Fresh dill—if you only have dried dill, use 1/3 of what the recipe calls for, but fresh is best.
- Salt—your salt of choice, either sea salt or standard table salt.
- Pepper—pepper adds just a hint of contrast to this traditional sauce.
- Lemon juice—the acid in citrus brightens the sauce, bringing out all the flavors.
- Ground beef—1 pound of ground beef is enough to make meatballs for 4 people.
- Breadcrumbs—finely ground breadcrumbs, preferably unseasoned.
- Egg—one large egg to bind the meatball ingredients.
- Parsley—fresh is best or you can use dried. Always use 1/3 the amount of dried herbs when a recipe calls for fresh herbs.
- Garlic—is there such thing as too much garlic? You’ll need a whole minced tablespoon for the meatballs.
Cumin—an essential Greek (and global) spice.
- Sea salt—sea salt is less processed than table salt, meaning it retains more essential minerals and nutrients.
- Black pepper—a sometimes under appreciated spice, black pepper is a must in this recipe.
Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Cucumbers—a staple of Greek cuisine as they are light and fresh. You’ll need a total of 1 cup diced and 1/4 cup shredded for this recipe.
- Tomato—1 cup of finely diced tomatoes, that can be diced with ease using the multi-purpose veggie chopper.
- Red onion—with its mild and sweet flavor profile, red onion is the easiest onion to eat raw.
- Parsley—fresh parsley is always best, and it’s easy to grow in a window box garden!
- Salt & Pepper—add a bit and let your family add more to their individual gyro.
- Flatbreads—purchase either rectangular flatbread or round pita bread. Yes, you can find (or bake) gluten-free flatbread!
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 2 small mixing bowls
- Chopping knives
- Mixing spoons
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- Baking sheet
- Optional: garlic press and a food processor or veggie chopper
- Optional: aluminum foil or parchment paper to line your baking sheet
What is Tzatziki Sauce?
Tzatziki sauce (aka. cucumber sauce or gyro sauce) is a delicious condiment often served with lamb gyro slices or gyro meatballs. It’s light, refreshing, creamy, and tangy. The crunch of the cucumber, the freshness of the dill, and the zing of the lemon juice are the perfect pairing for your savory meatballs.
Don’t just make Tzatziki sauce for Greek dishes—if you’re looking for something to add a little extra flavor and zing to any salad or savory dish, whip up some tzatziki!
Can I Buy My Tzatziki Sauce?
Yes! If it’s faster and easier, you can find Tzatziki sauce at Walmart. Or you can pick some up from a local Greek restaurant. Make no mistake, you will taste the difference between store bought and fresh Tzatziki.
How to Beat the Bitter for Bitter-Free Cucumbers?
There’s nothing worse than biting into a cucumber hoping for it to be light and refreshing and getting a mouthful of bitter instead. There is no way to determine if a cucumber will be bitter by looking at it, but there is a way to beat the bitter!
Cut the ends off first—the bitter flavor comes from the ends of the cucumber. So, cut the end off a half inch or so before you peel it. Otherwise, you will peel the bitter flavor from top to bottom.
Peel—while the peel is edible, it’s not as light and refreshing as the inner portion. If you forget to cut the ends off before you peel, cut the ends off after you peel it, but before you chop it. Then take a bite to see if it’s bitter. If it is, rinse your potato peeler and peel off one more layer.
What to Serve With Your Greek Meatball Gyros?
This recipe has protein, veggies, and carbs—so you may not need more. However, you may enjoy:
Can You Freeze Your Leftovers?
Meatballs—if you have meatballs leftover, let them cool and store them in a freezer-safe container for up to 4 months.
Tzatziki sauce—while Tzatziki sauce can technically be frozen, it will be watered down once it defrosts, so it won’t be as good. If you want to freeze your remaining sauce, eat it within the next 2 months. Cucumber and tomato salad—this won’t freeze well, so eat any leftovers as a side dish for another meal in the next day or two.
Greek Meatball Gyros
- 4 Flatbreads
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup grated cucumber
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh dill
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
CUCUMBER TOMATO SALAD:
- 1 cup finely diced cucumbers
- 1 cup finely diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- salt & pepper to taste
- Combine all of the tzatziki sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and mix until well incorporated.
- Next, cover and refrigerate the tzatziki sauce until ready to serve.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients with your hands or a mixing spoon, and form into meatballs (about 2 tablespoons of the mixture per meatball).
- Place the meatballs on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
- While the meatballs are cooking, combine the ingredients for the cucumber tomato salad, and place into a serving dish.
- Once the meatballs are done cooking, remove them from the oven, and set to the side.
- Now set the oven to broil, and place the flatbread on a baking sheet.
- Broil until lightly toasted on both sides.
- Place about 4 meatballs down the center of each flatbread.
- Spoon a generous amount of Tzatziki sauce down the center on the flatbread next to the meatballs, and top with the tomato and cucumber salad.
- Serve, and enjoy!
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