Okay, there’s a lot going on in the title, I know. But trust me, it’s not that bad.
This dish came together very nicely; it is fresh and so filling.
The eggplant dip is something I’ve been making with my family since childhood. A favorite in our family and probably a favorite with most Eastern Europeans.
As a kid, I was always involved in the kitchen. I was often tasked to make the mayonnaise, from scratch, for this eggplant dip. My grandma would bake fresh bread and the anticipation to spread the dip on a warm slice of bread was killing me, every time!
A fresh tomato from the garden and a few slices of cucumber made this a great meal, appetizer and/or snack. Oh, the memories…
Meatballs were also a great addition to this mix of eggplant, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Here, I decided to switch it up a tad by making them with Lamb instead of Beef, like I’m used to. I didn’t add any tomato to this dish but mixed the cucumbers and onions with vinegar for a little acidity and great taste.
It came out great; fresh, crunchy and delicious. Healthy, too, of course!
Let me know what you think and I hope you enjoy!
Lamb Meatballs + Eggplant Dip + Cucumber Salad
- 2 medium eggplants
- ¼ cup oil (I prefer olive oil)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ cup mayo (I used Avocado Oil Mayo)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 lb ground Lamb
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 5 medium mint leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon of Pilpelchuma Seasoning Blend (or a pinch each of chili, garlic, cayenne, paprika, cumin, black pepper and caraway)
- 1 generous pinch of salt
- 3 Persian cucumbers chopped
- 1 small red onion chopped
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Toasted pine nuts
Preparation of the Eggplant Dip
- Roast the eggplant in the oven at 400 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. You can also grill them until nice and soft.
- Chop the onion and saute in the oil until translucent. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Peel the eggplant and mash until smooth OR place into a food processor for a few seconds.
- Mix the eggplant with the onion/garlic/oil mixture, add mayo, mustard, salt and pepper to taste.
Preparation of the Lamb Meatballs and Cucumber Salad
- I mixed the meat with the spices (not the salt) and refrigerated it for about 8 hours. I did this before I left for work.
- Remove from the refrigerator and let the meat come to room temperature.
- Add the mint, egg, garlic, bread crumbs, salt and mix well.
- Form small to medium meatballs and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. You will have somewhere between 15-20 meatballs.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees. Turn them once during baking for an even golden/browned color.
- While the meatballs are cooking, mix together the cucumbers, onions, vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
Plating tips: Place a desired amount of the eggplant dip in the bottom of a plate. Top with meatballs, Cucumber salad, toasted pine nuts and mint garnish.