This recipe was invented with one of my besties and often cooking partner-in-crime. And when I say “we” invented this recipe, I mostly mean, “He invented it, and I minced the garlic.”

Thank you, Victor. :)


Now, this is not exactly one of those “30-minute meals” that just anybody that works and juggles children can whip up on a weeknight. But it’s meatballs, and this is a double recipe. Get over it, set aside the time, and freeze half of it for when you do need a weeknight reheat.

The drizzle (which I call a “drizzle” instead of a “sauce” because you don’t need as much of it to drown everything in as you would with a jar sauce) and the meatballs can be made independently of each other of course, but these are kind of two recipes that go really well together because you can intertwine the ingredient leftovers (like using the zest of lemon for one, juice for the other and the fact that they both call for ½ onion). The roasted garlic is optional because roasting garlic is kind of a pain in the ass in and of itself, but you’ve got the oven on for the meatballs anyway so why not?


Warning: Making meatballs from a protein as lean as venison requires a binder. DON’T FORGET OR SKIMP ON THE EGGS or else you will end up with Greek inspired ground meat and a bunch of feta stuck to your pan. You’re welcome. It also helps them stay together if you don’t make them too big.


Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
  • 1 lb cooked spaghetti or spaghetti squash
Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon Juice only
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 head roasted garlic (Or a few cloves of fres- optional
  1. Sautee the onion in 1 T of the oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.While the onion is cooling, combine the rest of the meatball ingredients except the remainder of the oil. 

  2. Heat the remaining 2 T of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. The pan needs to be nice and hot so the meatballs sear without cooking all the way through. You can use the pan for the onions, but wipe out any excess onion with a paper towel.

  3. Once the onion is cool, add it to the meat mixture and mix everything together until it’s really well combined. I used my hands for this, but I washed them first. Roll the mixture into small-ish sized balls (I did them about human sized – tee-hee-hee!)

  4. Sear each meatball on the top and bottom and remove to a pan prepared with cooking spray (and foil if you don’t like to scrub pans). If you do this quick enough (one in, one out, flip, etc) then you should be able to complete the process without changing the oil.

  5. Bake the meatballs at 375 until cooked all the way through, about 10-15 minutes depending on how big you made them. (Tee-hee-hee!) Remove and let sit for about 5 minutes, or until ready to serve.

For the Drizzle
  1. While the balls are baking, deglaze the searing pan with a little bit of wine and scrape up the little bits of leftover meatball. Add the oil, coarsely chopped ½ onion, salt and pepper and the grape tomatoes. Stir them around for a second and then stick them in the oven for about 5-10 minutes with the meatballs until the tomatoes start to wilt a little. Don’t use a pan with a plastic handle. If that’s all you have, you can do this on the stovetop instead.

  2. In the meantime, pull the little roasted cloves of garlic out their skin and put them in a blender or food processor. If you are not using roasted garlic, put a couple cloves of fresh garlic in there. Remove the veggies from the oven and put them (carefully!) into the blender with the garlic. Add lemon juice and the tablespoon of butter, and blend until smooth.

  3. Serve the meatballs with your choice of pasta, spaghetti squash or just plain with a little sauce drizzled over the top.

Recipe Notes
Non-game substitution: You can use ground beef with this recipe, but ground lamb would be even better.
Vegetarian suggestion: I have not thus far come across a vegetarian meatball I'd be willing to vouch for. The drizzle, however, is good enough that with a little mozzarella or Parmesan on top you can do just pasta with a heavy hand of the sauce if there is a vegetarian in the mix.

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