Garlic Lemon Chicken Meatballs with Homemade Hummus
Garlicky and cheesy with a hint of zest – these Garlic Lemon Chicken Meatballs with Homemade Hummus will make the perfect party appetizers, game day snacks, or even a quick weeknight dinner for the family! These flavor-packed, juicy nuggets are made using ground chicken which makes them a lighter and healthier way to enjoy meatballs. You can make everything from scratch in less than 20 minutes—including the creamy tahini hummus. Plus, they can be made ahead of time, making them the perfect addition to your weekly meal prep!
Meatballs are so easy and versatile! You can use different proteins and team them up with various glazes or sauces depending on what you are in the mood for. It can be something sweet like my Apple Glazed Beef Meatballs, fiery like my One-skillet Meatballs with Chili Sauce, or cheesy like Mexican Spice Meatballs with Nacho Cheese Sauce. Today, my friends, I am in the mood for a taste of Middle Eastern cuisine so I am making chicken meatballs with an earthy and nutty homemade Hummus! I just love how this sauce complements the garlic-infused, lemon-laced meatballs so, so well!
Easy From-scratch Chicken Meatballs
Making meatballs from scratch is super easy and much less expensive. All you need is a bowl and a skillet to make them! Plus, making them from home ensures that there are no unnecessary extenders that commercial meatballs are notorious for. You can double or triple the recipe quite easily and place the rest in the freezer and you can have some ready for cooking when the craving strikes! You can also control how savory, cheesy and spicy you want it to be. So next time you are about you pick up a frozen pack of meatballs, remember my voice in your head saying— “20 minutes, a bowl and skillet, no extenders, made exactly how you want it, super easy freshly-made chicken meatballs”!
The Homemade Hummus
Traditionally, hummus is made from chickpeas or garbanzos. They are blended together with tahini, lemon juice, spices, and seasoning and are usually enjoyed as a dip or spread. This will result in a thick yet creamy mixture that is loaded with nuttiness. For this recipe, I kept it very simple and added cumin to give it a warm and earthy flavor. It goes so well with the chicken meatballs- you won’t be able to resist getting more!
What You’ll Need to Make Homemade Garlic Lemon Chicken Meatballs with Homemade Hummus
The ingredient list is very simple and many of them I’m sure you already have. You can make the meatballs and hummus with other spices, seasonings, and proteins too and I have written possible alternatives below so you can make them with what you have available. Here’s what you’ll need:
For the meatballs:
- Ground chicken- lean with 93% to 95% fat works best for this recipe. It will give you juicy and tender meatballs that are still pretty healthy! You can also use ground turkey as an alternative.
- Garlic- I find that using 3 cloves is enough to get that yummy garlicky flavor, but feel free to add more if you are really into it. Or you can also add a dash of garlic powder.
- Lemon juice- this will give the meatballs a bright fresh taste and a touch of sweetness and zestiness! You can also use lime juice or other citrus juices (nothing too sweet, of course).
- Egg- this will help bind and moisten the meatballs. If you do not have eggs, you can also use buttermilk, applesauce, or breadcrumbs.
- Parmesan cheese- adds tons of yumminess plus moisture! Cheese just makes everything better, agree?
- Parsley- for pops of freshness and color and, of course, added nutritional boost! You can use other greens like cilantro, basil, spinach, scallions, and celery leaves.
- Red pepper flakes- a bit of heat will liven up your meatballs! You can add more or less depending on your preference. Chili powder or cayenne are good substitutes for this.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground- to taste.
- Olive oil + unsalted butter- this will keep the meatball patties from being too dry and also add more richness of flavor.
For the homemade hummus:
- Tahini- this is a popular Middle Eastern condiment made of ground sesame seeds that have been grounded until a creamy paste is formed. If you do not have this, try using unsweetened nut butter.
- Chickpeas- rinsed and drained. These are also called garbanzo beans. They are protein-rich legumes that will turn creamy once mashed.
- Lemon juice
- Ground cumin- for a warm, earthy flavor. You can also use paprika, cayenne, or ground coriander.
- Kosher salt- to taste.
How to Make It
Making the chicken meatballs will not take you more than 20 minutes- all you have to do is to mix, form, and cook. The hummus sauce does not even require cooking- just a food processor or blender to mix all the good-for-you ingredients. These meatballs are fried, but I have also included different ways to cook them below. Let’s get started!
- Make the Meatballs. In a large bowl combine ground chicken, garlic, egg, Parmesan, parsley, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and pepper. Form into tablespoon-sized meatballs.
- Cook them. In a large skillet preheated to medium-high heat, add the olive oil and butter. Cook the meatballs until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Make the Hummus. In a large food processor, add tahini and lemon juice. Process for about 30 seconds until combined. Next, add olive oil, garlic, cumin, and kosher salt. Continue to process until well combined. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor. Process for about 1 minute scraping down the sides to make sure the chickpeas get well combined. Add the remaining chickpeas and process for another minute adding more water until desired consistency. Season with more salt if needed.
- Serve. Spoon the hummus onto a serving plate. Top the hummus with the chicken meatballs. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil.
Other Ways to Cook the Meatballs
If you want less oil in your diet, you can cook the meatballs through these methods:
- Baked in the Oven. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray the baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Make the meatballs as instructed above them place them on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Using your Air fryer. Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees and spray the basket with non-stick cooking spray. Place the meatballs into the basket (do it in batches) and air fry them for 8 to 10 minutes.
Homemade Garlic Lemon Chicken Meatballs with Homemade Hummus Helpful Tips
- If the meatball mixture is too dry, or you are using a very lean ground chicken, a splash of olive oil will help.
- When forming the meatballs, do not make them too compact. Just squeeze them lightly and roll them around your palms to shape them. If you make them too compact, you will end up with tough and dry meatballs.
- Shape them as uniformly as possible so they will cook evenly, especially when you are planning to bake or air fry them.
- If you are making a double batch, keep the meatball mixture chilled so it is easier to form and will not fall apart easily.
- The cooking time will depend on how big your meatballs are. I find tablespoon-sized meatballs ideal because they cook through well without burning the outside.
- When making the hummus, add water to keep it from becoming too thick. You can also add a bit of sesame oil to make it silkier and more flavorful.
There are several ways to serve this dish! Here are some ideas for you!
- Simply place on a serving plate with toasted pita or flatbreads together with sliced veggies like cucumber, celery, and carrots.
- Slater a tortilla bread or pita bread with the hummus sauce and place two or three meatballs in the center and eat it taco-style! Perfect for game days!
- You can also make bite-sized appetizers by placing a spoonful of hummus on top of a toasted crostini and placing a meatball on top. Sprinkle with more parsley and serve!
- For a light dinner, you can serve them on top of rice or grains! They would also go well with fresh salads.
Make Ahead and Storing Notes
- You can make the chicken meatballs ahead of time and keep them in the freezer for up to three months! I like to keep them in the fridge overnight so they firm up first, then transfer them to freezer-friendly containers and freeze them.
- The hummus can also be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep it in a tightly lidded jar for longer storage.
- Any leftovers can be refrigerated and consumed within 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven.
Garlic Lemon Chicken Meatballs with Homemade Hummus
- For the chicken meatballs:
- 1 lb Ground chicken
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Fresh Lemon juice
- 1 large Egg
- 1/2 cup Finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp Chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 tsp Red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
- For the homemade hummus:
- 1/4 cup Tahini
- 1/4 cup Lemon juice
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1/2 tsp Ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 15oz Can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- In a large bowl combine ground chicken, garlic, egg, Parmesan, parsley, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and pepper. Form into tablespoon sized meatballs.
- In a large skillet preheated to medium-high heat, add the olive oil and butter. Cook the meatballs until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- In a large food processor, add tahini and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Process for about 30 seconds until combined. Next, add in 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Continue to process until well combined. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor. Process for about 1 minute scraping down the sides to make sure the chickpeas get well combined. At this point you may want to add a tablespoon of water to keep the hummus from getting too thick. Now, add the remaining chickpeas and process for another minute adding more water until desired consistency. Add more salt if needed.
- To serve: spoon the hummus onto a serving plate. Top the hummus with the chicken meatballs. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil. Serve alongside pita chips, cucumbers, etc.