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Mediterranean Meatballs

Photo: Romulo Yanes
Prep time 30 mins
Cook time 4 hrs
Yield Serves: 10 (serving size: 4 meatballs, 3 tbsp. sauce, 1/2 cucumber)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 2 pounds lean (94%) ground sirloin
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mint leaves, plus 2 sprigs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 28-oz. can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, with juice
  • 10 whole-wheat pitas, halved, optional
  • 5 mini Persian cucumbers, sliced, for serving

Nutrition Information

  • calories 182
  • fat 7 g
  • satfat 2 g
  • monofat 0.0 g
  • polyfat 0.0 g
  • protein 21 g
  • carbohydrate 9 g
  • fiber 3 g
  • cholesterol 67 mg
  • iron 3 mg
  • sodium 822 mg
  • calcium 57 mg

How to Make It

  1. In a bowl, mix bread crumbs, sirloin, scallions, chopped mint, egg, oil, half of garlic, 1 tsp. cumin, cayenne, 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Use your fingers to combine well. Form into 40 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch meatballs. (You may cover and refrigerate meatballs overnight at this point if you'd like.)

  2. In a slow cooker, stir tomatoes, mint sprigs, remaining garlic, remaining cumin, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Gently stir in meatballs. Cover and cook on low until meatballs are cooked through, 3 to 4 hours. Remove and discard mint sprigs. Skim oil from top of sauce.

  3. Divide meatballs and sauce among pitas, if desired; stuff with cucumbers.