Your New Go-To Meal: Fancy & Fast Lamb Meatballs

Every good hostess will tell you: If you’re cooking for someone special — or for a special occasion — you should make a recipe you know. This is not the time for experimentation. But, what if you don’t have a go-to dish to fall back on? You need a fast-and-fancy staple that doesn’t take any practice to totally perfect. No need to stress: These lamb meatballs with goat cheese and cucumber are just the thing.
This easy recipe has a bunch of things going for it. First of all, the ingredients are simple: store-bought marinara sauce, ground lamb (which you can substitute with ground beef, if desired), and only one spice — no shuffling around a bazillion different spices and ingredients. And, secondly, who (veg friends notwithstanding) doesn't love a good meatball?
You can make this one-pan dinner up to one day ahead and gently reheat when you’re ready to dig in. Not feeling the baguette? Serve the meatballs over couscous or one pound of cooked rigatoni pasta.

Lamb Meatballs With Goat Cheese & Cucumbers

Serves: 2 to 4


1 medium English cucumber, sliced

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 lb ground lamb

1 shallot, grated or minced

3 tsp ground cumin

1 to 2 tbsp olive oil

2 cups store-bought marinara sauce (my favorite is Rao’s!)

4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled

1 baguette, torn into 4 pieces


1. Toss the cucumber, vinegar, and a generous pinch of salt in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Gently mix the lamb, shallot, two teaspoons cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until combined; roll into one-inch meatballs.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, six to eight minutes.

4. Add the marinara sauce and remaining one teaspoon cumin to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until simmering.

5. Drain the cucumbers. Divide the meatballs and sauce among bowls. Top with goat cheese and cucumbers. Serve with baguette for dipping.

More from Food & Drinks

R29 Original Series