Who doesn’t love a tasty Greek-inspired meal? I’m pretty sure olives are a food group…right? Enjoy a mini escape to the islands without leaving your kitchen with these Greek-inspired Lamb Meatballs + Avocado Tzatziki.
Pre-AIP, one of my favourite summer meals was juicy grilled lamb burgers topped with avocado, mustard, onion, and goat feta. These days, the burger just wasn’t the same without the feta, so I’ve been trying to create another lamb-based meal that satisfies. I would proudly serve this to the non-AIP people in my life. I may or may not have eaten half the tzatziki with a spoon…
A Note on Nutrition + Mindfulness
The Mediterranean (and most of Europe) has a reputation for being quite healthy despite their seemingly decadent eating habits. Some of this certainly comes from how they interact with their food. Mediteraneans adhere to their innate cultural wisdom surrounding food and lifestyle. They purchase fresh local food, make meals at home, rest and enjoy time with family, and more often than not commit to eating without distractions like screens.
Westerners rarely live their days in this manner. We are rushed, distracted, stressed, and haven’t slept enough. We eat out more than we eat at home, and even more rarely do we actually make our meals from scratch. When we do try to take more control of our lives and our health, we can end up even more stressed about what we should or shouldn’t eat, how much, how little, vegan or paleo, low-fat or low-carb, sugar-free, gluten-free, etc… We have so much available to us, yet we don’t know HOW to eat anymore.
So what can we do? Purely concerning food, here are a few suggestions to get started:
- Slow down – breathe in the aromas of your food while it’s cooking, savour the flavour, experience it fully
- Chew – chewing is one of the easiest changes you can make to a meal that will enhance it’s digestibility
- Set intentions – always be sure to eat for your heart and soul as well as your body and brain
- Eat with friends and family – some of my happiest memories are from around the dinner table
- Play and experiment – have fun, try something new, use all the colours, get right in there!
- Don’t deprive – obviously, if something doesn’t agree with you, don’t eat it, but
- Make food a part of the lifestyle you want – how do you want to live? Manifest it through your food!
Greek-Inspired Lamb Meatballs + Avocado Tzatziki
1 lb. ground lamb
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped fine
small bulb fennel, chopped fine + a few green feathery leaves
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dried oregano (1 Tbsp fresh)
1/2 tsp sea salt
Prepare a baking sheet and preheat oven to 375F. Place all ingredients except the lamb in a bowl. If needed, pulse this mixture in a food processor briefly to mince the fennel smaller and make sure everything is fully incorporated. Add ground lamb and mix well with hands. Form into small balls and arrange on sheet. Bake approximately 20-30 minutes, draining liquid off halfway through and turning to evenly brown.
Serve hot with Avocado Tzatziki (recipe below!) or a quick guacamole.
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed, roughly diced
1/4 c. full fat coconut milk
1-2 cloves garlic
1-2 tsp dried dill (1 Tbsp fresh)
1/2 Tbsp fresh mint
juice of 1 lime
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and whirl until creamy. Serve with meatballs, kebabs, chicken breast, sliced veg, pate, olives, or salmon cakes! Use in place of mayo on sandwiches, instead of sour cream on loaded potatoes, or instead of yoghurt or creme fraiche in soups. Simply vary the coconut milk amount to change the consistency from a thicker sauce to a runnier dressing.