Get it? Meat-Bowls instead of meatballs? That was my husband Bill’s idea and I thought it was kind of catchy. We have this little Greek place called Santorini’s at the outdoor mall near our house. It’s a walk-up restaurant where you can choose all the parts of your meal. You start with either a bowl or pita, then add lemon rice, white rice, french fries or Greek salad, Next choice is protein which includes lemon, garlic herb, smoked BBQ or cinnamon spiced chicken, rotisserie lamb, steak, shrimp, pork or veggie falafel. Then they pack on all the toppings…spinach, red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, carrots, pepperoncini, kalamata olives, feta cheese, red cabbage, Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), Greek slaw, garbanzo beans, tzatziki, Greek dressings, spices…the works!
We enjoy going to Santorini’s because the food is healthy, filling, reasonably priced and delicious. It’s kind of embarrassing, but we have a punch card and have gotten 3 or 4 free meals (buy 10, get 1 free). Yikes!
Instead of going out to eat all the time, I came up with our own version to enjoy at home. Greek Turkey Meat-Bowls are a one-dish meal, featuring turkey meatballs which are loaded with lots of veggies and flavor. Put these bowls together with my Lemon Rice (recipe below), Roasted Vegetables, Tzatziki, Turkey Meatballs (recipe below) and all the fresh toppings for a meal that is just as good as Santorini’s. Plus, you’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day (minus the punch card). If you want to make your family happy, make my Greek Turkey Meat-Bowls and enjoy a restaurant style meal at home!
I also created a Greek Feast, inspired by a trip we took to Budapest, Hungary back in 2009. Featuring marinated chicken kebobs, it’s a bit more labor intensive but well worth the effort!
- 2 pounds lean ground turkey
- 1 cup chopped spinach
- 1/2 cup grated carrots
- 1/3 cup feta or parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup Panko crumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon each salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and herbs de Provence
- 1/2 cup milk
Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Scoop to form 1” balls; bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes or until internal temperature registers 165°. I used a medium scoop and got 38 meatballs.
Make my lemon rice (see recipe below). Roast your favorite vegetables (I like some combination of zucchini, red peppers, onions, yellow squash, broccoli, green beans and /or cauliflower.) See my recipe for roasted vegetables here. Prepare some fresh vegetables and toppings. Ideas include: spinach, romaine, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, carrots, pepperoncini, feta cheese, kalamata or black olives, hummus and my Tzatziki sauce. I also like to have some Balsamic Dressing on the side for more flavor.
- 1 lemon
- 3 T fresh parsley
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups rice
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
Zest and then juice the lemon. Rinse and chop the parsley. Set aside. Bring water to a rolling boil on high heat. While that’s happening, peel and chop the garlic. Add rice, turmeric, garlic, salt and pepper to boiling water and stir to combine. Bring water back to a boil then cover pot and turn down to very low heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Add fresh chopped parsley, lemon juice and lemon zest. Fluff with a fork to combine and serve.
- My boys don’t like feta cheese so I use parmesan because I want them to eat the meatballs. Choose whichever one you prefer or have on hand.
- If pressed for time, you can serve these bowls with just the roasted vegetables or just the fresh ones. I like a lot of veggies so I do both.
- If you don’t have Panko crumbs just substitute bread crumbs or oatmeal.
- Be careful not to overcook the meatballs or they will be dry. I like to check the internal temperature a bit early. Once it reaches 165º I remove them from the oven.
- Try not to peek at the rice until after 15 minutes have passed!
- If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand for the Lemon Rice, substitute 1 tsp garlic granules.
- If 1 lemon isn’t flavorful enough, juice and add another!
- Recipes for Tzatziki, Roasted Vegetables, Balsamic Dressing and my Greek Feast are linked above. Simply click on their names highlighted in red!