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Herby Greek Chicken Meatballs

This recipe for herby Greek chicken meatballs is a perfect example of a quick, delicious, and nutritious weekday meal. Make it in advance for those busy nights and enjoy the leftovers for lunch.

Herby Greek Chicken Meatballs

Greek cuisine is renowned for its bold flavours, fresh ingredients, and healthy dishes. Accompanied by giant couscous and a refreshing cucumber salad, this is a complete balanced, flavourful meal.

Just a heads up, this post contains Amazon affiliate links. Don’t worry, these are products I personally love and recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Happy cooking and thanks for supporting Culinary Cartel!

The Popularity of Greek Cuisine

Greek cuisine has gained popularity worldwide due to its emphasis on fresh, wholesome ingredients and its rich, vibrant flavours. The Mediterranean diet is celebrated for its health benefits, including promoting heart health and longevity. Greek dishes often feature various herbs, vegetables, grains, and lean proteins, creating meals that are delicious and nutritious. From savoury meats and seafood to crisp salads and decadent desserts, Greek cuisine offers something for everyone.

The Elements of a Delicious, Complete Meal

This recipe combines several elements that make it a satisfying and complete meal:

  • Herby Meatballs: The chicken meatballs are packed with fresh herbs like dill, mint and parsley, adding a burst of flavour and freshness. The addition of feta cheese and zucchini keeps the meatballs moist and tender, while the lemon zest adds a bright, tangy note.
  • Giant Couscous: Also known as pearl couscous, this ingredient adds a hearty, chewy texture to the meal. Lightly toasted and then cooked to al dente perfection, it’s seasoned with dill and lemon juice for a fresh, zesty flavour.
  • Cucumber Salad: The salad, made with thinly sliced cucumber and red onion, provides a crisp, refreshing contrast to the savoury meatballs. Tossed with lemon juice, salt, and pepper, it’s a simple yet effective way to balance the richness of the meatballs and couscous.

Big Taste: Giant Couscous

Giant couscous is a type of pasta made from semolina or wheat flour. Unlike traditional couscous, which is granular, giant couscous consists of small, round balls that have a chewy texture when cooked. It’s versatile and can be used in salads, soups, or as a side dish. In this herby Greek chicken meatball recipe, it’s lightly toasted to bring out its nutty flavour and then cooked to a tender consistency, making it a perfect base.

Choosing the Best Ingredients for Herby Greek Chicken Meatballs

Selecting the best ingredients is crucial for creating a dish that is both delicious and nutritious. Here are some tips for choosing the best ingredients for this recipe:

  • Chicken Mince: Look for fresh, high-quality chicken mince with no additives. Organic or free-range options are ideal.
  • Feta Cheese: Choose authentic Greek feta cheese for the best flavour and texture.
  • Zucchini: Select firm, medium-sized zucchinis with bright, unblemished skin.
  • Lemon: Use fresh, organic lemons for their zest and juice to ensure maximum flavour.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like dill, mint, and parsley should be vibrant and fragrant. Avoid any that are wilted or discoloured.
  • Giant Couscous: Use high-quality giant couscous, available in most supermarkets or specialty food stores.
  • Cucumber and Red Onion: Choose fresh, firm cucumbers and onions without any soft spots or blemishes.
Herby Greek Chicken Meatballs

Ingredient Replacement

If you need to substitute any ingredients, here are some alternatives:

  • Chicken Mince: Ground turkey or pork can be used instead of chicken mince.
  • Feta Cheese: Goat cheese or ricotta salata can be substituted for feta cheese.
  • Zucchini: Grated carrots or yellow squash can be used in place of zucchini.
  • Herbs: If you don’t have fresh herbs, dried herbs can be used, but reduce the quantity to avoid overpowering the dish.
  • Giant Couscous: Regular couscous, quinoa, or orzo can be used as alternatives.
  • Cucumber: Thinly sliced radishes or bell peppers can replace cucumber in the salad.

Why You Should Consider Investing in an Air Fryer

Using an air fryer for cooking herby Greek chicken meatballs has several benefits:

  • Firstly, an air fryer is essentially a very small and powerful convection oven and is not comparable to a deep-fat fryer. Does it make deliciously crisp and golden food? Yes, but it’s not going to work well with runny batters, which will simply drip off, so we adapt the recipes accordingly. Take this Chicken Karaage as a great example of adapting recipes to fit your air fryer.
  • Healthier Cooking: Air fryers use significantly less oil than traditional crisping methods like sauteeing, resulting in lower fat content while still achieving a crispy texture. They are a favourite of mine for meat balls recipes like these, as they keep the meatballs juicy and yield a lovely even golden brown exterior.
  • Faster Cooking: Air fryers generally heat up in a minute or two and cook food more quickly than conventional ovens, making meal preparation faster and more efficient.
  • Energy Efficient: Air fryers consume less energy compared to ovens, which can help reduce electricity bills.
  • Even Cooking: The hot air circulation in an air fryer ensures even cooking, resulting in perfectly browned and cooked meatballs.

Shop the Equipment

These are Amazon affiliate links of the products I personally love and recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Instant Vortex Plus VersaZone Dual Air Fryer

Did You Enjoy These Herby Greek Chicken Meatballs?

If you made these herby Greek chicken meatballs, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so I can see what you come up with.

Looking for more Mediterranean inspiration?

Greek Courgette and Calamari Fritters

Spring Chicken Roasted with Asparagus and Green Olives

Air Fryer Feta with Sesame, Honey, and Figs


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I prepare the meatballs ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the meatball mixture ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Roll them into balls just before cooking.

Can I freeze the cooked meatballs?

Absolutely! Cooked meatballs can be frozen for up to three months. Reheat them in the air fryer or oven until heated through before serving.

What can I use if I don’t have an air fryer?

You can bake the meatballs in a preheated oven at 220°C for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Is there a gluten-free option for the breadcrumbs?

Yes, you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed rice crackers as a substitute.

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftover meatballs, couscous, and salad separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat the meatballs and couscous before serving.

Can I use a different type of cheese?

Yes, you can substitute feta with other crumbly cheeses like goat cheese or ricotta salata.

Can I make the dish spicier?

Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the meatball mixture or sprinkle some over the finished dish for extra heat.

Can I use a different protein?

Ground turkey or pork can be used instead of chicken mince for a different flavour profile.

Herby Greek Chicken Meatballs
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Herby Greek Chicken Meatballs

Herby Greek Chicken Meatballs

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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: <40 mins
  • Yield: 4 portions


This recipe for herby Greek chicken meatballs is a perfect example of a quick, delicious, and nutritious weekday meal. Make it in advance for those busy nights and enjoy the leftovers for lunch.



For the Meatballs:

  • 500g chicken mince
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 1 large zucchini, grated
  • 1 large lemon (zested and juiced)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20g fresh mixed herbs (dill, mint, parsley), chopped
  • Large pinch of black pepper
  • Olive oil for brushing or spritzing

For the Giant Couscous:

  • 1 cup giant couscous
  • 1.5 cups water
  • Big pinch of salt
  • 5g (1 Tbsp) chopped dill
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Small handful of dill, chopped

For the Cucumber Salad:

  • 1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken mince, crumbled feta, grated zucchini, lemon zest, egg, minced garlic, breadcrumbs, salt, chopped herbs (dill, mint, parsley), and black pepper.
  2. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  3. Roll the mixture into 12 golf ball-sized meatballs. Brush or spritz the meatballs with olive oil.
  4. Cook the Meatballs:
    In the Air Fryer: Preheat to 205°C. Place the meatballs close to the heating element and cook for 11 minutes, ensuring they get a nice caramelisation.
    In the Oven: Preheat to 220°C. Place the meatballs on a baking tray in the top third of the oven (close to the heating element) and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Prepare the Giant Couscous: Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan over high heat. Add the giant couscous and lightly fry for 1-2 mins until lightly golden.
  6. Pour in the water and add a pinch of salt. Cook for 10-12 minutes until the couscous is al dente.
  7. Once cooked, drain any excess water. Stir in 1 tsp of olive oil and chopped dill, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze in roughly 20 ml of juice, stirring to combine.
  9. Place the thinly sliced cucumber and red onion in a bowl.
  10. Squeeze over the remaining lemon juice (about 20 ml).
  11. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  12. Divide the giant couscous between four serving plates.
  13. Top each plate with a few meatballs and a portion of the cucumber salad.
  14. Drizzle the plate with olive oil and serve immediately.
  • Prep Time: 10-15 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Air fryer or Oven
  • Cuisine: Greek
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