Greek Lamb Keftedes with Paleo Tzatziki: Summer Picnic Perfection

lamb-koftaIn Greece, keftedes are seasoned meatballs, typically served with tzatziki. Tzatziki is a thick cucumber yogurt sauce, blended with garlic, olive oil, lemon, and dill.

Traditionally, Greek yogurt contributes a distinctive texture, but is much less important concerning taste. The dominant flavors are cucumber and garlic.

So, how can we preserve tzatziki’s characteristic flavor and texture while making the recipe Paleo-compliant? We simply need to swap the Greek yogurt for another fat source, preferably one that’s taste-neutral and gives a thick, creamy texture.

Thank goodness for avocado!

Because keftedes stay remarkably moist, they’re great to prepare in advance and take with you for a picnic or on your travels. And, if you’re eating at home, pair the keftedes with a salad or some steamed vegetables, dressed with Paleo tzatziki.

Greek Lamb Keftedes with Paleo Tzatziki: Summer Picnic Perfection

Course Dinner
Cuisine Greek


  • Lamb Keftedes
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion grated
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed
  • 2 in. fresh ginger grated and juiced
  • 1 bundle fresh mint leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • Freshly milled black pepper to taste

  • Paleo Tzatziki
  • 3 small cucumbers
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ clove garlic pressed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chives finely chopped
  • Freshly milled black pepper to taste


  • Peel and grate the ginger on the small holes of your box grater.
    Gently gather the ginger and squeeze the juice into a large bowl.
    Discard the pulp.
  • Peel and grate the onion on the large holes of your box grater. You’ll keep the entire onion with its juices. [brTo the bowl with the ginger juice, add the grated onion, garlic, lamb, mint, olive oil, and all the spices. Mix well and form into burgers.
  • Cook 3-5 minutes per side on a stovetop grill plate or broil them in the oven for about 10 minutes, turning once.
  • Peel the cucumbers and grate them on the large holes of your box grater.
  • Squeeze the juice of the cucumber into a bowl.
  • Put the avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic into a blender or mini-prep food processor.
  • Start pureeing, adding the cucumber juice progressively until you achieve a thick, creamy texture.
  • Transfer the avocado mixture to a bowl and stir in the grated cucumber, dill, chives, and black pepper.
  • If you’re taking this on a picnic, you can store the Paleo Tzatziki in a Ziplock plastic bag. Squeeze out all the air, as this will also prevent discoloration due to oxidation.
  • Serve the sauce from the bag by cutting away one of the bottom corners, which enables you to squeeze everything without the mess.
  • Use the Paleo Tzatziki as a dipping sauce for the Greek Keftedes.