Most of you guys know this, but I’m half Puerto Rican. I love love LOVE being Puerto Rican! It’s such a fun culture with people that are full of life & fun! Time I get to spend with my Puerto Rican family is always time well spent.
I also love Puerto Rican dishes. Most people assume Puerto Rican dishes are like Mexican, with a focus on spicy cheesy foods with tortillas and jalapeno peppers. Well, it’s not that way at all! You can almost compare Puerto Rican cuisine to Cuban food. Some main staples of Puerto Rican cooking include plantains, olive oil, garlic, seafood, a thick sauce called “sofrito,” meats & stews. YUM!!!
I have been inspired recently by Puerto Rican cuisine and culture. If you’ve never cooked with plantains, you need to start now. In fact, this dish is a great way to start! These meatballs are so savory and delicious, and use mashed plantains to hold them together instead of breadcrumbs. The recipe makes a lot of extra sofrito-inspired sauce, so keep it around to top the meatballs or to dip plantain chips in.
Just a side note- this is not a Puerto Rican dish…just a Puerto Rican INSPIRED dish! I don’t believe they serve something like this in Puerto Rico, other than the plantain chips. Also, has anyone cooked with lamb before? This was my first time and I’m in love…what a flavorful delicious meat!!
P.s. my husband tasted this and said it’s the best thing I’ve ever made. That means it’s worth a try, right? 😉
Puerto Rican Inspired Lamb Meatballs
makes 12-15 meatballs
For the Sofrito-inspired sauce:
**Note- you can also buy your own sofrito sauce, since they have cans of it at most grocery stores. My version doesn’t taste exactly like it (I’m still perfecting it!), but it’s still delicious and great for this meatball recipe. If you don’t have time to whip up the sofrito, just buy it at the store.
- 1 12 oz can of tomato paste
- 1 green pepper
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 2 tbsp sliced jalapenos
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- a bunch of cilantro
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt & pepper
For the meatballs:
- 1 lb ground lamb meat
- 1/4 cup sofrito sauce
- 1 large plantain (get one that’s really browned, not yellow)
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tbsp adobo seasoning (can omit if you don’t have it)
- Start by putting everything for the sofrito sauce in blender, food processor, or nutribullet. Mix it all together really well and pulse until all ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel your plantain and cut it into slices.
- Heat up a pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Place slices of plantains on the pan and cover with a lid.
- Cook plantains for about 3-4 minutes, then flip them all over and cover again, cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
- Remove plantains from pan and set in a medium mixing bowl. Using a potato masher or even the back of a fork, mash the plantains. The goal is for the plantains to be pretty well-mashed but also have some crunchy pieces mixed in.
- Add the lamb meat, sofrito sauce, egg, olive oil, & garlic to the mixing bowl with the plantain mash, and mix it really well.
- Pull a baking pan and line it with foil. Using a spoon, form palm-sized meatballs with the meat mixture and place on the baking pan.
- Once you have all the meatballs on the baking pan, place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Remove, let cool, and serve with some extra sofrito sauce & plantain chips! (Recipe below- very easy to make while the meatballs are cooking)
- 1 plantain (look for the brown ones, not yellow)
- about 1 tbs coconut oil
- garlic powder
- Heat the coconut oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat.
- Peel the plantain and cut into thin slices, then sprinkle with garlic powder.
- Once coconut oil is heated, add the slices of plantains to the pan.
- Let cook, flipping occasionally, for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Once cooked, place plantain pieces on a plate with a paper towel to drain the oil.
- Let cool to crisp up a bit, and serve!
Inspirarse (Be inspired!)