10 Adventurous Takes on Classic Meatballs

For Moms,International Food,Recipes
April 15, 2013

No matter what global corner they come from, meatballs say “home."

Mark Boughton/styling: Teresa Blackburn

Virtually every culture has its variation on the concept of savory orbs of seasoned ground meat, fried or baked or grilled or braised. In Southeast Asia, the meat might be pork, made luscious with shallots, fish sauce, sugar, and mint, and cupped in lettuce leaves for eating out of hand. In the Middle East, they might be made of lamb, heady with ground cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, and wrapped like cigars around skewers for grilling. In Mexico, they’re dunked in chile sauce; in Scandinavia, bathed in cream. Point your compass, and you’ll find them wrapped in greens, floated in soup, seasoned and seared, spiced and speared.

Begin on more familiar turf with Mama’s Meatball Sliders and Italian Wedding Soup —our riffs on two Neapolitan-American classics. Then venture east for Vietnamese Pork Meatballs and flavor-packed Lamb Kofta. No matter what global corner they come from or how exotic their accents, meatballs say “home” in the world’s most glorious language—good food.

For more meatball making ideas, see the videos below:


—By Laraine Perri

Vietnamese Pork Meatballs

Vietnamese Pork Meatballs

Wrap these flavorful meatballs in lettuce leaves with fresh mint and slivers of cucumber and carrot.

Meatball Sliders

Meatball Sliders

A blend of beef and pork and a nip of crushed fennel seed make these tender meatballs Mama-worthy.

Lamb Kofta

Lamb Kofta

From the Persian word for “ground meat,” kofta are generously spiced lamb meatballs.


Italian Wedding Soup

Tiny turkey and Parmigiano Reggiano meatballs, bits of pasta, and garlicky escarole marry in this meal-in-a-bowl soup with a wonderfully romantic name.

chicken spinach meatballs

Chicken and Spinach Meatballs

A Mediterranean-style meatball with big flavor.


Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki

The cool yogurt-and-cucumber sauce is a great counterpoint to these beef and lamb meatballs.

Meatballs in Sofrito Sauce

Meatballs in Sofrito Sauce

Meatballs in a flavorful Puerto Rican sauce.

Tortilla Meatball Soup

Tortilla Meatball Soup

A soup brimming with veggies, lean meat, whole grain corn and low-fat dairy.


Meatball Calzone

A kid-pleasing hot main dish sandwich.


Soutsoukakia (Greek Meatballs)

Imagine a delicious meatloaf formed into two-bite meatballs and slowly simmered in Greek seasonings.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 262 other followers