Mediterranean Meal: Lamb Meatballs, Grilled Octopus, Greek Salad & Tzatziki Sauce

I'm home from honeymoon land but still dreaming of Grecian food. We ate grilled octopus, Greek salads and tzatziki at nearly every meal. So ridiculously good! 

I loved the cuisine so much that I decided to bring a little taste of the Mediterranean home and prepare a Greek meal with Anna and the help of our partners in crime Daniel and Barrett. The highlight of the meal was our first time making octopus! Talk about a cooking adventure. 

 
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In case you are feeling particularly Zesty and want to experiment with your own eight-legged sea creature, here are the basic steps for preparing an octopus:

  1. Purchase your octopus: Call your nearest seafood or Asian market to see if they carry it. If you are in the Portland area, we bought ours at Fubonn Supermarket on SE 82nd Ave. Cleaned and frozen is how you will likely find your octopus. This is helpful so you don't have worry about cutting out the eyeballs, head and beak. We were surprised to find that a 3 lb octopus was only $11.00, not a bad deal.
  2. Thaw your octopus: You can let it sit in the fridge for a day to thaw or run it under water in the sink for about 30 minutes. It will unravel from its frozen ball and that's when you get the first glimpse of its tentacles!
  3. Boil your octopus: No additional water is necessary because the octopus has so much water already in it. Place your octopus in a big pot on the stove, cover and cook on high for ~5 minutes. When you open up the lid, your octopus should be swimming in its own liquid. Lower heat to simmer, place lid back to cover and continue cooking for 50-60 minutes. (note: we took ours off at 45 minutes and it was not quite as tender as we had hoped, but still good). 
  4. Grill your octopus: Cut the tentacles off your octopus and brush with olive oil. Make sure your grill is pre-heated to high heat, then sear the tentacles for 2 minutes per side to get a nice char. 
  5. Season your octopus: We kept ours really simple with olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. Do a quick search for other recipe ideas if you want to get creative!

If you want to enjoy the flavors of the Mediterranean without bringing a foreign animal into your home, see below for how to throw together a Greek Salad, Lamb Meatballs and Tzatziki Sauce in under an hour!

Greek Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1/2 cup olives 
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 block feta
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • salt 

Directions:

  1. Chop tomatoes, cucumber and feta into large chunks.
  2. Thinly slice red onion.
  3. Add olives and toss in olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt to taste.

Lamb Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl using your hands.
  3. Form into 20-30 balls and place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.

Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • splash of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve with lamb meatballs or with pita bread.

We also added an easy tabbouleh salad to our Mediterranean dinner mix. Find inspiration from one of our previous blogs here

Hope you enjoy the tastes of Greece as much as we did!

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