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The Other Red Meat

May 19, 2022

When people learn that my husband and I raise sheep, they almost immediately follow up with a comment that they haven’t ever eaten lamb. Many South Dakotans, in my experience, haven’t sampled this other red meat. It truly is a shame.

Lamb is naturally lean and has a distinctive earthiness. It’s flavor leans to rich and grassy and is a satisfying centerpiece of any menu.

While I have a friend that jumped right in by roasting a leg of lamb for her family’s first lamb experience, I know that isn’t for everyone. Ground lamb is probably an easier segue if this is a new protein for you. Several years ago, I shared our favorite Greek-Style Lamb Burgers here with South Dakota Magazine, but why stop there? Lamb Meatballs are an even simpler way to incorporate lamb into your meal plan. It’s a basic recipe that produces tender and flavorful meatballs to tuck into pita with all your favorite accompaniments or serve over a salad dressed with lemon. Don’t skip the Tahini Yogurt. It cools the spice of the red pepper flakes and provides a nice balance to the richness of the meatballs.


Meatballs are an easy introduction to the richness and earthiness of lamb.

Lamb Meatballs with Tahini Yogurt

(adapted from The Kitchn)


For the meatballs:

3 cloves garlic, grated

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon ground sumac

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs

1 pound ground lamb


For the sauce:

1 medium lemon

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment.

Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl just until mixed. (Don’t overwork the mixture; this creates a tough meatball.) Gently roll the lamb mixture into approximately 12-15 golf ball-sized balls. Place on the baking sheet. Bake until browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, juice the lemon into in a small bowl. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir to combine. (Serves 4)


Fran Hill has been blogging about food at On My Plate since October of 2006. She, her husband and their three dogs ranch near Colome.


10:40 am - Fri, June 2 2023
Phil Berggren said:
Sounds delicious, I’ll try this recipe. I grew up in Aberdeen with an Armenian Mom, (her parents immigrated to the US around 1917 to escape the genocide perpetrated by the Turkish government, but that’s another story); so we ate quite a bit of lamb. My favorite ground lamb is friends devoured it, calling it “Armenian Pizza.” I still whip up a batch pretty regularly.

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