Lamb Meatball Recipe (Gluten Free Meatballs)

Lamb Meatball Recipe (Gluten Free Meatballs) Recipe

My favorite meat by far is lamb. When seasoned properly, it is so tender and tasty. I enjoy it both in whole pieces and in ground form. I recently made meatballs using ground lamb, which is something I haven’t tried before. The filling was flavored with fresh mint, cumin, smoked paprika, smoked pepper, smoked sea salt,  Worcestershire sauce, cayenne powder and lemon juice. I browned the meatballs in a non-stick pan and finished cooking them in marinara sauce. Usually I add bread to the meat but replaced it with quinoa to make the dish gluten-free. Simple and delicious!

I was introduced to Bourbon Barrel Foods products and used them when making these meatballs. I absolutely LOVE the unique flavors of their soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sea salts and spices. They are some of the most interesting and innovative ingredients I’ve used in a very long time. Annie from Bourbon Barrel Foods was kind enough to agree to give away a bottle of their Bourbon Barrel aged blue grass soy sauce, "the ONLY microbrewed Soy Sauce made in the U.S.", to three lucky Pham Fatale readers. Just submit your email to the Bourbon Barrel newsletter below before Monday, Oct 31st, 2011 for a chance to win!


Yields: 6 servings

1-½ pounds lamb (I used lamb shoulder), boneless
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons papaya paste (see tips)
juice of a lemon
1 tablespoon caramelized onions (click on the link for other recipes)
6 tablespoons canola oil, as needed
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1-½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon smoked pepper (see tips)
1-¼ teaspoons smoked sea salt (see tips), to taste
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (see tips)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (see tips)
1 cup cooked quinoa, (I used left-overs)
¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons curly parsley, finely chopped
1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce, store-bought


Prepping the meat:

No need to trim the fat from the lamb; you want the meatballs to be moist and falvorful. Cut into 1-½" cubes and place the meat in a meat grinder (I used a Kitchenaid meat grinder attachment but if you don't have one, you could use a food processor).

Making meatballs:

In a non-stick pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Brown the garlic. Transfer the garlic to the ground meat, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan.

Combine the egg yolks, cayenne powder and smoked sea salt. Beat the eggs with a fork.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, egg mixture, papaya paste, caramelized onions, quinoa, 1 tablespoon parsley and fresh mint.

Mix well and season with the spices. Add the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Season with smoked salt and pepper.

Checking the seasoning: In a small pan, heat about 1 teaspoon of canola oil. Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes. Taste the meat. Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if necessary.

Assembly time:

Grease disposable gloves with oil. Roll the mixture into 24 balls and place them on a tray, lined with parchment paper. Chill them in the freezer for 20 minutes (this step will make the cooking of the meatballs much easier).

Remove the meatballs from the freezer. Cook them right from the freezer.

Using the same non-stick pan, add more oil and pan-fry the meatballs until they're slightly browned; flip them and brown the other side as well, for a total of 2-3 minutes per side. Carefully remove to a platter previously lined with paper towels.

In a large saucepan, heat the marinara sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the meatballs; cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Stir gently, without breaking the meatballs.

Garnish with parsley.

Serve immediately.

Bon appétit!


I use green papaya as a meat tenderizer to ensure juicy and moist meat. The papaya paste was Baji, Lulu's late grandma's secret for tender and moist meat. Peel a green papaya. Grind the cubed papaya with the seeds in a mini food processor; place about 2 teaspoons of papaya paste per slot in an ice-cube tray and freeze them. Transfer the ice-cubes into sealable plastic bags and place back in the freezer.

I didn't have any but you could also add 2 tablespoons black currants or even pine nuts to give extra flavor to the meat.

This dish is gluten-free. I used quinoa to ensure moist meatballs. You could replace it with 7 tablespoons breadcrumbs,  6 ounces cooked rice or 6 ounces cooked couscous. I usually go with whatever leftover I have. No waste!

Bourbon Barrel Foods Recipe with picture

Check out my veggie meatball version.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on October 24, 2011.


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