“Almost Meatless” Albondigas, or, Oatmeal: It’s What’s For Dinner


This recipe was recently featured on Serious Eats; it comes from a cookbook titled Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet. I’m all for the occasional veggie burger, but make no mistake: these plump, juicy orbs of joy are NOT vegetarian. Rather, ground lamb is supplemented with steel-cut oatmeal to add bulk — the aim of Almost Meatless is not to eliminate meat all together, but to just use less of it. I haven’t yet tried any of the other recipes from this book, but unless this a one-off standout, I certainly look forward to it!

Lisa says:

What the — how are these “almost meatless”? Aren’t they made with lamb?

Chris says:

Yeah, but only 1/2 a pound in the entire recipe… certainly not “mostly meat”.

Lisa says:

Ah, okay. I get it.

Chris says:

These are so juicy! I would not have realized that they were made with oatmeal…

Lisa says:

Me neither — maybe rice or something, but definitely not oatmeal.

Chris says:

These would be awesome for a tapas party; just stick some toothpicks in them and you’re done.

Lisa says:

Ooooh, I think we should have one soon!


“Almost Meatless” Albondigas
1/2 cup steel-cut oatmeal
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped plus more for garnish
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb ground lamb
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
Juice from 1 lime

Mix together the oatmeal, cilantro, half the garlic, the chipotle, 2 teaspoons of the cumin, 1 teaspoon of the coriander, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Use your hands to incorporate the lamb into the mixture, distributing it evenly. Form balls out of tablespoon-size scoops of the mixture and set aside.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining garlic, cumin, and coriander, cooking for an additional 30 seconds. Add the canned crushed tomatoes and water and stir to combine.
Bring the sauce to a simmer and add the meatballs. Simmer partially covered for 45 minutes.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste, squeeze the lime juice over top, and serve with extra chopped cilantro.

4 Servings

5 responses to ““Almost Meatless” Albondigas, or, Oatmeal: It’s What’s For Dinner”

  1. Hey, weheartfood! So glad you enjoyed the Albondigas! The recipe is one of my favorite from the book…I hope you find the others as enjoyable. Thanks for checking out Almost Meatless! (Tara Mataraza Desmond, co-author, Almost Meatless)

  2. Oh yum–these look awesome! I’m definitely going to make them! I thought Albondigas was traditionally a soup…but this sounds more like a saucy appetizer than a soup, eh?

  3. Tara and I love it every time someone makes a recipe from the book and enjoys it. I too, love this one. (But then again, I love them all.)

    One nice thing I’ve discovered about this one is that doubles and freezes perfectly! Thanks for posting about our book!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *