Chicken-Zucchini Meatballs With Feta
These meatballs harbor a secret: They’re half vegetable, half chicken. More than just a surprise, the grated zucchini provides moisture that ground chicken can lack. Roast more zucchini next to the meatballs on the sheet pan, then top everything with feta tossed with lemon juice. For an easy starch, add chickpeas to the feta, or toast bread or pita on the free rack in the oven.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 3large zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1large shallot, halved
- ½cup panko
- 1 ½teaspoons ground cumin
- 1teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1pound ground chicken or turkey
- 2tablespoons chopped fresh mint, basil, parsley or dill, plus more for serving
- ¼cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing and drizzling
- 3tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
- 4ounces feta
Step 1Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut 2 of the zucchini into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer to a plate, season with salt, and set aside.
Step 2Working over a large bowl, using the large holes of a box grater, grate the remaining zucchini. Grate 1 shallot half into the bowl as well. Add the panko, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and use your hands to toss until combined. Add the chicken and herbs and toss gently until combined.
Step 3Lightly grease a baking sheet. With wet hands, form the chicken mixture into 16 meatballs (around 2 to 3 tablespoons each) and place them on one side of the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 10 minutes.
Step 4Meanwhile, pat the sliced zucchini dry, then lightly coat with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with pepper.
Step 5Coarsely chop the remaining shallot half and transfer to a small bowl. Add the lemon juice, season with salt, and stir to combine.
Step 6Add the sliced zucchini to the other half of the baking sheet, moving the meatballs over, if necessary. Bake until the meatballs are cooked through and the zucchini is golden on the underside, another 15 to 20 minutes. For more browned meatballs, broil for a few minutes, if desired.
Step 7Meanwhile, crumble the feta into the shallot mixture. Add the 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes. Stir, breaking up the feta a bit, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 8Eat the meatballs and zucchini with a drizzle of the feta sauce and more fresh herbs.