Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Piquillo Pepper Pesto

Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Piquillo Pepper Pesto

Recipe by Carlos Leo 
This lamb meatballs recipe is perfect as an appetizer or as a main dish. Serve on a bed of Greek yogurt with a piquillo pepper pesto.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Breadcrumbs, Olive Oil
Servings 6 people


For Meatballs: ( 20-21 meatballs)

  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup parsley (finely chopped)
  • 2-1/2 tbsp cilantro (fresh chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (ground)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (ground)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt plus some extra.
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper (ground)
  • 1 garlic clove grated/smashed
  • 1/2 small onion grated
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)

For Piquillo Pepper Pesto:

  • 1 jar (10oz) Piquillo Peppers
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup (at least) Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)



  • Place a rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 425°F.
  • Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Add lamb and mix with your hands until evenly distributed.
  • Gently roll lamb mixture into 1½" diameter balls (about the size of a golf ball). You should have about 20-21. I use a small ice cream scoop like this one. Place meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Bake meatballs until browned and cooked through - about 8–10 minutes.

Piquillo Pepper Pesto:

  • Add all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and combine.
  • With the processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed - about a minute.
  • Reserve for assembly. If pesto is a bit thick, just add more olive oil. Taste pesto; season with more salt if needed.

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