Lamb Balls in Red Sauce

A while back I saw a recipe for lamb meatballs, cooked in a red sauce. It really appealed to me because I love lamb. And, I think I could eat shoe soles cooked in red sauce.

But did I print this recipe? Or even take notes as to where I found it? Stupidly no, although I’m typically organized about such important things as recipes.

So I’m creating the recipe for slightly Greek-inspired lamb balls, baked in a red sauce, along with goat cheese. The meat balls are gently seasoned with oregano, allspice, and a hint of cinnamon.

Lamb Balls in Red Sauce with Goat Cheese
Makes about 36 meatballs

Approximately 42 ounces favorite red sauce or simple Marinara
2 pounds ground lamb
3 eggs, mixed well
1/3 cup panko crumbs
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 medium onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Panko bread crumbs, approximately 1/2 cup
10-12 ounces soft goat cheese
Freshly chopped parsley, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour the red sauce into a 9 x 13″ baking dish; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the lamb, egg, panko crumbs, parsley, salt, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, and pepper.

In a large skillet, (you’ll be using it for another purpose), sauté the onion over medium-low heat until soft. Stir in the garlic, then remove the skillet from the burner. Let the mixture cool, then add to the lamb mixture.

Using the same skillet, add approximately 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Have a bowl of panko crumbs next to the meatball mixture. Form the lamb into medium-sized meatballs, I used a 1 1/2” scoop, roll in the bread crumbs, then sauté them in the skillet, about 8-10 at a time.

When the balls have browned well on all sides, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the skillet and place them in the baking dish with the red sauce. This should only take about 5 minutes over medium-high heat.

Repeat with remaining meatballs. If you have any bread crumbs leftover you can sprinkle them over the meatballs in the red sauce.

Bake the meatballs for approximately 20-25 minutes and remove the baking dish from the oven. Turn off the oven.

Add the goat cheese to the meatballs, adding a generous tablespoons interspersed amongst them, eturn the baking dish to the oven to allow the cheese to melt, approximately 10-15 minutes.

Before serving, sprinkle the lamb balls with freshly chopped parsley.

Serve directly from the baking dish, if desired, along with crusty bread.

Make sure there’s a generous amount of red sauce served with the lamb balls.

If desired, the meatballs and red sauce can be served over pasta or polenta, but today I used pasta.

The meatballs are tender, with a slight crunchy firmness on the outside.

The goat cheese is spectacular with the lamb and red sauce.

The crusty bread is a must!

By Published On: March 25th, 202035 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

35 Comments

  1. Gerlinde March 25, 2020 at 8:23 AM - Reply

    You and I definitely have different taste buds. I like meatballs but not made with lamb. However, I could substitute another meat for this recipe. Take good care of yourself and stay well.

    • chef mimi March 25, 2020 at 8:26 AM - Reply

      Oh, I love lamb a lot. I know a lot of people don’t. Including my husband.

  2. sippitysup March 25, 2020 at 10:04 AM - Reply

    Crazy. Wild. Weird. I had so little food in my house last night but I did dig to the back of the freezer and pulled out ground lamb. I made meatballs with a sauce from back-of-the-pantry canned chickpeas and jarred red peppers! Similar to this https://www.sippitysup.com/lamb-meatballs-your-globe-or-mine/ We may have been eating lamb balls at the same time. GREG

    • chef mimi March 25, 2020 at 10:25 AM - Reply

      Perhaps! I live in a small town, and delivery service is limited, so i had to suck it up and go to the grocery store. It was so odd what they didn’t have. Like ground pork. And flour. Well, maybe everybody is making cookies. Stay healthy!

  3. kitchenriffs March 25, 2020 at 10:21 AM - Reply

    This looks great. I sometimes make lamb kefta — basically meatballs — cooked in a red sauce. Gotta try this — it looks SO good. Thanks!

    • chef mimi March 25, 2020 at 10:28 AM - Reply

      It’s probably very similar, except I just had to add the goat cheese. I mean, why not?!!

  4. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats March 25, 2020 at 12:54 PM - Reply

    I usually prefer either lamb stew, or grilled lamb,but the meatballs look so tasty, I may change my preferences! Love the addition of goat cheese.

    • chef mimi March 25, 2020 at 1:43 PM - Reply

      Well, I love a leg of lamb, and lamb chops, but I’ve had a fabulous Greek lamb burger that was out of this world, and meatballs were very good. In fact, maybe better than lamb stew if you really enjoy the flavor of lamb?

      • Ronit Penso Tasty Eats March 25, 2020 at 4:38 PM

        Sounds good! Will give it a try next time I’ll be having lamb. :)

  5. Abbe@This is How I Cook March 25, 2020 at 1:00 PM - Reply

    These sound fabulous! Everyone loves meatballs and this Greek version sounds incredible!

    • chef mimi March 25, 2020 at 4:47 PM - Reply

      I think you’re right – everyone does love meatballs!

  6. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons March 25, 2020 at 2:55 PM - Reply

    These look delicious Mimi! I have some lamb in the freezer and basic red sauce in the pantry, thank you. It’s a keeper. I may use almond meal instead of panko, do you think that would work?

    • chef mimi March 25, 2020 at 4:49 PM - Reply

      I have no experience with almond meal, but in the meatballs themselves I bet it would be wonderful. You don’t have to roll the meatballs in them – that was just for a little crunch.

  7. Mary March 25, 2020 at 3:18 PM - Reply

    Now that we are in a 4 week lockdown this looks pretty darn good. Wish I’d thought to add Lamb Mince to the shopping list.

    I will make this one day……… :))

    • chef mimi March 25, 2020 at 4:48 PM - Reply

      I know what you mean. And it’s just starting to warm up outside where I live, so the daily menus will change. I wish my garden was producing already! Stay safe!

  8. cookingwithauntjuju.com March 25, 2020 at 4:32 PM - Reply

    I love lamb and also meatballs. Goat cheese is a great addition!

    • chef mimi March 25, 2020 at 4:44 PM - Reply

      It was a wonderful combination! The cheese was perfect.

  9. Tandy | Lavender and Lime March 26, 2020 at 2:34 AM - Reply

    Mimi, we made such similar dishes. I made Merguez sausages last weekend and ran out of casings so turned the leftovers into meatballs. Yours look super good!

    • chef mimi March 26, 2020 at 7:20 AM - Reply

      Oh I love Merguez! Someone wrote that everyone loves meatballs, and I really think that must be true!

  10. David Scott Allen March 26, 2020 at 7:44 AM - Reply

    Love that you pulled this all together for us – and the Greek spicing if the meatballs is fab, especially with the goat cheese!

    • chef mimi March 26, 2020 at 7:50 AM - Reply

      Thanks so much! It was really very good. Tasty and comforting.

  11. All That I'm Eating March 26, 2020 at 9:01 AM - Reply

    I love the gentle spicing you’ve added to the lamb meatballs and really like the idea of the panko breadcrumbs too.

  12. Fran @ G'day Souffle' March 27, 2020 at 10:09 AM - Reply

    I make my Lamb Meatballs with a little grated ginger, but your addition of cinnamon and goat’s cheese looks like a good idea! I can never make my meatballs perfectly round like they do at restaurants and in packaged food- I wonder what their technique is? I first brown my meatballs, while rolling them roll around in the pan so they don’t flatten out, but they never seem to come out perfectly round. Oh well- I guess it’s the taste that matters, right?

    • chef mimi March 27, 2020 at 11:22 AM - Reply

      Ginger? Interesting. I never would have thought about that combination. Well, Chef Fran should know… is there some kind of meatball mold? I’ve never thought about the perfect shape, but I’m more into rustic cooking. At least I say that to make myself feel better!!! I can’t do anything finicky or something that requires patience. Taste does matter!

  13. Healthy World Cuisine March 27, 2020 at 11:00 AM - Reply

    Lamb is our absolute favorite. Your spices are perfectly balanced. Once we can get our hands on some lamb again will be certain to try your recipe. Hope you are staying well. Take Care

    • chef mimi March 27, 2020 at 11:20 AM - Reply

      We’re all well so far… thanks for asking! It hasn’t gotten to our neck of the woods yet. I guess that’s one thing good about living in Oklahoma 😬! I love lamb as well, and with the red sauce the meatballs were fabulous.

  14. Kelly | Foodtasia March 27, 2020 at 8:00 PM - Reply

    Mimi, such a wonderful dish! Love the flavors! The goat cheese adds the perfect touch!

    • chef mimi March 27, 2020 at 9:17 PM - Reply

      Thank you so much! I loved it 😬

    • chef mimi March 28, 2020 at 7:08 AM - Reply

      Thank you! I thought so too!

  15. cookingontheweekends March 28, 2020 at 9:50 PM - Reply

    Mimi, this sounds so incredibly delicious. I love the warm spices with the lamb — especially cinnamon. This is will made very soon in my house. :-) ~Valentina

    • chef mimi March 28, 2020 at 9:51 PM - Reply

      Awww, thank you. Yes, the herbs and spices really helped the whole flavor profile. PLUS, the cheese!!!!

  16. Frank Fariello March 29, 2020 at 2:22 PM - Reply

    How delicious sounding! I love lamb, I’d take it any day over beef. Stay well!

    • chef mimi March 29, 2020 at 3:37 PM - Reply

      Me, too! Yes, stay sheltered!

  17. Neil March 30, 2020 at 12:41 AM - Reply

    Yum, I love meatballs. And lamb is my favourite meat. So I’m definitely with you here Mimi. Thanks for another tasty recipe. And stay safe during these surreal times!

    • chef mimi March 30, 2020 at 7:14 AM - Reply

      Surreal indeed. This dish turned out very well, but it does help to LOVE lamb! And red sauce!

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