These rustic Italian lamb meatballs are flavored with plenty of garlic and herbs, simmered with burst cherry tomatoes, and paired with tender sautéed broccoli rabe with golden raisins and pine nuts. It’s a fabulous Paleo and Whole30 compatible dinner great for entertaining friends or a date night at home!
🧑🍳 Why it Works
These delicious Italian ground lamb meatballs are a family favorite, and for good reason! The ground lamb is rich and earthy in flavor, and it’s lightened up a bit with flavors of lemon zest, cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs.
The meatballs are served beside sautéed garlicky broccoli rabe, oh my! Broccoli rabe is known for being bitter, and it is just wonderful with golden raisins and pine nuts. It holds up beautifully to the richness in the lamb.
Best of all, it’s made with healthy, clean ingredients so it’s totally Whole30 and Paleo (and if you leave off the raisins, it’s low carb, too)!
And guess what else? It’s surprisingly easy to make! It only takes about 30 minutes of cooking time, so it’s perfect for entertaining friends or a cozy date night at home.
Get your shopping lists ready, friends! Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe at home.
- Ground Lamb
- Almond flour
- Lemon zest
- Cherry tomatoes
- Fresh parsley
- Olive oil
- Broccoli rabe or broccolini
- Pine nuts or sunflower seeds
- Golden raisins
- Salt and pepper
- To keep it Keto/Low Carb: Omit the raisins.
- Don’t like lamb? Substitute ground beef!
- Substitute regular raisins for the golden raisins.
- Substitute unsalted sunflower seeds for the pine nuts.
Making the Meatballs
Grab a large mixing bowl and add the lamb, minced onion, garlic, and parsley, lemon zest, almond flour, and lightly beaten eggs.
Use your hands or a spoon to mix everything together until evenly combined, but be careful not to over mix it.
Next, set the bowl aside for at least 15 minutes. This allows the almond flour time to absorb moisture.
Use a scoop or your hands to form the meatballs, with about 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture in each meatball. Now let’s get cooking!
Cooking the Dish
Step 1: Brown the meatballs. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides, turning every 2-3 minutes. Set the meatballs aside.
Step 2: Sauté the tomatoes. In the same skillet, add the oil and garlic. Sauté until the garlic becomes fragrant, then add in the tomatoes. Cook for another 8-10 minutes or until they’re softened.
Step 3: Simmer together. Add the meatballs back to the skillet, and lower the heat. Simmer everything together until the meatballs are cooked through and the tomatoes have burst open.
Step 4: Cook the broccoli rabe. Cook the broccoli rabe until it’s wilted and softened. Like broccoli, it’ll get mushy if you overcook it. Look for bright green color and tender stalks to know when it’s done.
Season generously with flakey salt, pepper, and more parsley, and serve.
Tips & FAQ
Transfer cooled leftovers to an airtight container or bag. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, per USDA.
Yes! You can mix up the meatball mixture up to a day in advance, and store covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook the meatballs.
This dish is a complete meal, but it’s also great with roasted spaghetti squash, traditional spaghetti, and/or crusty bread.
More Delicious Dinner Recipes
- Mediterranean Lamb Meatballs
- Orange Chicken Meatballs
- German Pork & Sauerkraut
- Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs Marinara
Making this recipe? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Please leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom.
Italian Lamb Meatballs with Broccoli Rabe
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 2 large eggs
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 2 Tablespoons finely diced onion
- 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoons pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large bunch broccoli rabe or broccolini washed, with large stems removed
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a medium bowl, combine the lamb, lightly beaten eggs, minced parsley, minced garlic, onion, lemon zest, almond flour, and seasonings. Mix tougher until fully combined, then cover and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Using your hands or a scoop, form the mixture into meatballs, about 2-3 Tablespoons each.
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Pan fry the meatballs, turning occasionally, until they are browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Set the meatballs aside on a large plate and cover while you cook the tomatoes.
- Using the same skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook together for another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are softened and beginning to simmer. Season the tomatoes with salt.
- Carefully return the meatballs into the simmering tomato mixture and lower the heat.
- Cover and allow the meatballs and tomatoes to cook together for about 10 more minutes, stirring and turning occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through and the tomatoes have burst open,
- While the meatballs are finishing cooking with the tomatoes, make the broccoli rabe in a separate skillet.
- Heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the broccoli rabe and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10-12 minutes.
- Stir in the pine nuts and raisins and saute together for about another 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and enjoy!