Hello and welcome to Djalali Cooks! I am so excited about snap peas this spring; their bright green color, sweet flavor and juicy crunch livens up any dish. Influenced by Middle Eastern flavors, these meatballs are flavored with fresh garlic, fresh cilantro and cumin. Our snap peas give beautiful color and crunch – a great texture combination with the tender meatballs. Top with good Greek Feta, sumac, fresh mint leaves and lemon. It’s rich, yet light and super flavorful. So let’s get to it! Lamb Meatballs and Snap Peas with Feta and Mint.
These meatballs were so simple, and they have such great flavor. Instead of the eggs and bread crumbs you’d expect to find in meatballs, we are using only two tablespoons of sour cream. It makes a beautifully moist and tender meatball.
Loads of fresh garlic and cilantro really pack a punch and the cumin adds that unmistakable Middle Eastern aroma and flavor. Onion powder, Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper round out the spices. Mix it all together in a large bowl until well combined. I was careful not to over mix the mixture, but just mix with your hands until it looks like everything is evenly distributed.
Use a 2 tablespoon measuring spoon or cookie scoop and scoop your meatballs. I got 13 out of this mixture. After you have them all scooped, go back and gently form them into balls.
It’s kind of warm in my kitchen today, so I set these meatballs in the fridge for about 10 minutes because I was worried they might be too delicate and fall apart when they hit the skillet. I don’t think this step is necessary, but I will leave that up to you!
Sauté the Meatballs
Over medium-high heat, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once it’s shimmery, reduce the heat to medium and carefully add the meatballs to the hot oil. We will gently brown them on all sides, so stay close to turn them regularly. If they aren’t sizzling, adjust the heat up a little sto that they’re sizzling nicely, but not splattering oil on to you, and your stovetop.
Once they’re pretty evenly browned (about 7 minutes total over medium heat) temp them with a probe thermometer. We want to them to be at about 120 degrees before we add the peas, 2 tablespoons of water and begin the next phase of cooking.
At or around 120 degrees, add the 8 ounces of peas and two tablespoons of water. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.
At the 5 minute mark, the peas are still semi-firm but they’ve attained that beautiful bright green color we are looking for. Temp the meatballs again. Lamb is done at 160 degrees. If yours are not yet at 160 degrees, let them go another minute and check again. When they are done, sprinkle some sliced scallions and give the mixture a stir and turn off the heat.
Plate it Up!
I have some gorgeous saffron rice to go along with these Lamb Meatballs and Snap Peas. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meatballs and snap peas to a plate. Sprinkle on some fresh chopped mint, some crumbled feta. And then sprinkle sumac over the top. Serve with lemon wedges, if you like.
Flavor-wise and texturally, this dish is outstanding! The meatballs are perfectly juicy and tender; seasoned so well with the cumin, garlic and cilantro. The sweetness and crunchy snap of the peas is a wonderful texture variation; and the salty feta adds a rich creaminess. Plus, you have the tangy flavor of the sumac and the freshness of lemon and mint.
I hope you give this recipe for Lamb Meatballs and Snap Peas with Feta and Mint a try, it really is fantastic. So fresh, so savory. If you are interested in other Middle Eastern-inspired flavor, try my Joojeh Kabob or Chicken Kofta recipes. And don’t forget you can find me on Instagram, facebook and Pinterest! Thank you all for spending some time with me today, I will see you here again tomorrow! Take care and be well, xo Kelly
Kitchen Items Used in This Recipe
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Lamb Meatballs and Snap Peas with Feta and Mint
Juicy and tender lamb meatballs; snap peas for fresh crunch and feta for rich creaminess. Tangy sumac and the freshness of lemon and mint brighten it up.
- 1 lb. Ground Lamb
- 2 tbsp. Sour Cream
- 1/2 cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
- 1 tsp. Cumin
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp. Onion Powder
- 1 tsp. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- 2 tbsp. Minced Fresh Garlic
- 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 8 oz. Snap Peas
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 Scallion, sliced
- Chopped Fresh Mint, for serving, to taste
- Crumbled Feta, for serving, to taste
- Sumac, for serving, to taste
- Lemon Wedges, for serving
With your hands, mix lamb, sour cream, cumin, cilantro, Kosher salt, pepper, and garlic in a bowl until herbs and spices are well-distributed.
With a 2 tablespoon measuring spoon or cookie scoop, scoop lamb mixture into about 13 meatballs. Gently form into balls with your hands.
Over medium-high heat, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Once hot, reduce heat to medium and carefully add meatballs to the pan.
Turning regularly to ensure evening browning, brown all sides of the meatballs, about 7 minutes total.
Temp the meatballs and if their temperature is at or around 120 degrees, add the snap peas and water to the pan and cover. Cook for 5 minutes.
Temp the meatballs again, they are done when they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. If they aren't there yet, cover and cook for one more minute and check again.
When the meatballs are cooked through, add the scallions and stir to combine, then turn off the heat.
Transfer meatballs and snap peas to a plate using a slotted spoon and top with feta, mint and sumac. Serve with lemon wedges.