Mint Lamb Meatballs with Spelt Risotto and a Coriander Pesto

Mint Lamb Meatballs with Spelt Risotto Coriander Pesto (01) by MeetaK  

I’ve always had the utmost respect for all the single working mums out there. It’s not easy to juggle a job, child/children, house, hobby and everything else a woman desires to do. Now, however as I too am a “single mother” for a major part of the week, all I can do is tip my chapeau in pure admiration and humble dignity. 

The weeks are flying by and it’s hard to really put into words what I feel. Our new routine that we’ve been living since the beginning of the year, throws both Soeren and me off over and over again. We get used to being a twosome, come weekend we are together in our comfortable threesome. Weekends are short and before we know it we are saying goodbye again and I feel an all time low all over again. It takes a day then it’s OK – it’s the highs and lows of this emotional roller coaster ride that is hard to control. I am an adult so I wonder how Soeren takes it.

I see that he has mood swings and bursts into angry tantrums, but as the week progresses he’s back to normal again – more or less.

I am in charge and I have to make sure it works – job, child, house, hobby and everything else I desire. It’s not easy – actually it gets to be exhausting at times. I have to depend on me and have to make sure I can depend on Soeren. I wonder if this responsibility that he has to carry on his shoulders is too heavy for a 7 year old.

Ranunculus-2010 (03) by MeetaK

He’s doing a good job of being the man in the house.

When the light bulb in the lamp fuses, he asks me to unscrew it. With a frown he scrutinizes the bulb.

“We need one that screws in like this one and it has to be 11 Watts,” he says.

So we head on out to the hardware store. As we get inside, he goes directly to the information counter and asks the salesperson to direct him to where the light-bulbs are. The man smiles at him and all three of us walk towards the aisle where the hundreds of light-bulbs are stacked neatly.

“We need 11 Watts and one with a screw like this,” he holds up our fused bulb. The salesman nods looking at the bulb carefully.

He points at a row of bulbs packed in their boxes and Soeren picks one up.

“Can we test if it works, please!”

And the salesperson obliges. Just as bright as the new light-bulb shines, Soeren’s smile lights up brighter than any bulb in that hardware store.

As we say thank you to the salesperson, he winks at Soeren and smiles knowingly at me.

That evening on the phone he tells his daddy with a certain amount of pride how he made sure that things at home are in working order.

Of course, I am proud of him, but I worry because I want to protect his innocence and keep him “my baby” for as long as I can. I worry that he might grow up too fast and loose that carefree attitude.

So, when I see him clowning around with his friends outside and just being that carefree 7 year old. I smile and my heart does a little leap.

Mint Lamb Meatballs with Spelt Risotto Coriander Pesto (02) by MeetaK

Food is comfort – it’s my motto! But good, healthy and wholesome. A fusion of flavors to arm us for the next roller coaster ride. To remind us that a good meal brings us together and simply allows us enjoy each others company without worries and fears.

The meatballs are made with lean ground lamb, infused with fresh mint leaves and a touch of cinnamon. They are succulent and full of flavor, served with a simple spelt risotto, which is topped with a powerful pesto made of coriander leaves, cashew nuts and ginger. 

Mint Lamb Meatballs with Spelt Risotto and a Coriander Pesto

Printable version of recipe here


For the meatballs

2 small red onions, finely chopped
6 sprigs of mint, finely chopped
500g lean ground lamb
1 egg
3 tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs  
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground coriander
olive oil
salt and pepper

For the spelt risotto

185g pearled spelt
approx. 1.5 liters water
120ml + 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
3-4 shallots, finely chopped
150ml dry red wine
470 ml chicken stock
Parmesan cheese, grated

For coriander pesto

60g fresh coriander leaves
80g cashew nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
1 red chili, seeded and chopped
olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
sea salt
freshly ground pepper


For the meatballs

  1. Mix mint, onions and breadcrumbs with the ground meat. Spice with salt, pepper, cinnamon and coriander.

  2. With slightly moist hands make approx. 12 meatballs with the meat mix.

  3. Heat a good glug of olive oil in a skillet and fry the meatballs on all sides for about 10 minutes until browned and cooked from inside. Keep warm.

For the spelt risotto

  1. Soak the pearled spelt in cold water 20 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly.

  2. Bring 1.5 liters water to boil in medium saucepan. Add the olive oil and the rinsed pearled spelt and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain in strainer and rinse.

  3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for a minute.

  4. Add pearled spelt, stir then add the wine. Simmer until almost all liquid evaporates, stirring frequently - about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, a ladle at a time and simmer until liquid is absorbed and pearled spelt is just tender, stirring frequently – approx. 15 minutes total.

  5. Stir in cheese and 1 tablespoon butter. Season with salt and pepper.

For coriander pesto

  1. Place the coriander leaves, cashew nuts, garlic, ginger and chili in a food processor and process until well blended.

  2. With the food processor running, add olive oil a little at a time until the pesto has a smooth consistency. Add the lime juice and season with salt and black pepper.

  3. Spoon into a sterilized jars and keep in the fridge. Once you’ve opened the jar, pour a thin layer of oil over the top of the pesto to keep it fresh.

Serving tip:

Serve with the meatballs and risotto with the pesto spooned over the top. Perfect with this dish are these Italian oven vegetables or this ratatouille.

Food Guide Tips

- Cashew nuts
- Cinnamon
- Coriander
- Ginger



Mint Lamb Meatballs with Spelt Risotto Coriander Pesto (03) by MeetaK 

There is an incredible fusion of flavors harmonizing in one healthy and perfect meal. We love meatballs and this has a fresh minty taste and the slight hint of cinnamon rounds it up perfectly. The spelt risotto makes a great and healthy alternative to the classic version. I love it with a good dollop of the pesto, which also works brilliantly as a dip for the meatballs. Delicious!

You might like these comforting ideas from WFLH:

Fettuccine with Spicy Lamb Sausage Meatballs Parmesan Thai Basil Crusted Chicken Homemade Parsnip Gnocchi with Rucola Cashew Pesto


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2010 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. I know a few single mothers working full time and sure do admire what they manage to accomplish day in, day out. It is great that you seems to be managing a new M-F routine, too, so well done to you!

    Lamb is one of my favourite meats. I will definitely have to try these meatballs!

  2. Oh what a sweet boy! Looks like hes doing a great job being man of the house :)

  3. An awesome dish! So fresh and delightful!



  4. It's really amazing how you can manage all these things together!
    Sometimes I complain about myself, about things I have to do, but I'm a single girl still living with her parents!! Next time, I'll think twice!
    Soeren is a cute little man!
    Hugs from Italy!
    Oh, I was forgetting, your meatballs are already into my to-do list!

  5. I'm so glad you have your "little man" with you, and bring you joy and help just when you need it. :-) I love this dish so much. It is comforting and familiar with just enough twist to make it special.

  6. I can associate myself with you as I am a “single mother” too since New Year. I am experiencing the emotional roller coaster ride that is hard at times. My daughter finds it very difficult although she does not complain.
    We have all the time for ourselves and now I have started to enjoy the precious time I have all for myself exploring the things I wanted to do.
    Wishes to you and your responsible little son.

  7. Besides the obviously plump and juicy meatballs, the spelt risotto is genius!

  8. Soeren sounds like he is growing up so fast (not in a bad way, but in an adorable way. he just wants to help you so much, I can tell!). Seems like you are coping well Meeta.

    This dish is amazing. Such a vibrant combination of flavors!

  9. The lamb meatballs look just delicious!

  10. I'm still struggling with my new routine when my husband is working. It's hard not to have him around as often as I wish.

    The dish looks awesome, Meeta! :)

  11. I know just what you mean about being "single" for part of the week, then having to adjust to being a couple on the weekends. Sometimes when my husband comes home on Thursday nights, I feel like, hey, you are invading MY space and changing the way I do things. Then we both settle in by Friday night, have two days together, and he's off again on Monday morning. It's a constant adjustment process, and when there's a child involved, it's even harder. I tip my chapeau to you!

  12. Hi Meeta,
    I quite understand when u call yourself "single mom" cos im sailing in the same boat for 14 yrs now (hubby in the hospitality industry). Its such a massive task to get everything done all by ourselves. You r doing a wonderful job even fulfilling your passion along the way!!! Great going

  13. Dinner looks fabulous, I'm sure Soeren is enjoying "looking after" you - long may he do it.

  14. Absolutely stunning meal Meeta. So fresh and flavoursome. Gorgeous photography as always too :)

  15. I was a "single mom" with the two boys for many years when JP was working weekdays in another country, flying back and forth for weekends home. We got into the rhythm and though it was very hard and tiring, it was also relaxing in the sense that things like mealtimes were brought down a notch or two to a kids level: more casual and I would always read to them. It was "our time". But it really is a juggle.

    This is such a great meal - I love the flavors and the comfort quality of the dish. Beautiful. And kid-friendly!

  16. Such a delicious spread, really makes me hungry..

  17. I take my hat off to you - I don't think I would be able to cope if I only had to see my husband on weekends. But I suppose you learn to manage?

    PS: The meatballs looks fantastic!

  18. Lovely post :)

    I make this pesto very often, in a slightly different avatar.

    Don't worry about Soeren losing his innocence... when he's all grown up, you'll be proud of what a sensitive young man you've raised :)

  19. Love the mint infused lamb meatballs and together with the rustic risotto it makes for a wonderful bowl of comfort. Your son will survive and you, my dear will one day look at this as an experience that made you a better person.

  20. Meeta

    Your son sounds adorable! I love him and I don't know him!

    Regarding the meal you concocted, i love it! Never had that spelt rice but I love the minted lamb meatballs and the chutney! Can't wait to try my hand at a chutney!

  21. I smiled and got misty-eyed at your post. I can only imagine how emotional it must be for you guys right now - and on the other hand, how proud you must be of your little man! He sounds like a delight. This dish looks amazing - I can't have farro, but I might substitute kasha or something like that, to keep the heartier flavors. Yum!

  22. Hey Meeta.. I so get how you feel. My hub travels weekdays and is back weekends too. I have yet to get used to that schedule and still don't get a wink of sleep when hez away.

    I can imagine it must only be harder on Soeren without his dad most of the week. A big hug to you both...

  23. Hey Meeta.. I so get how you feel. My hub travels weekdays and is back weekends too. I have yet to get used to that schedule and still don't get a wink of sleep when hez away.

    I can imagine it must only be harder on Soeren without his dad most of the week. A big hug to you both...

  24. I loved reading your post!
    Those meatballs look delightful!

  25. What a lovely post..I enjoyed reading it. One day I wanna feel those little leaps in my heart again. :D I gotta try these meatballs sometime. I have lamb mince in the fridge months ago and didn't really know what to do with it other than burgers and moussaka. x

  26. this is a fabulous & favorite of mine. thanks for sharing.

  27. Oh. Those meatballs really looks good. Although, those look different than the usual meatballs that I make, i really think those really tastes good. LOL

  28. Awesome wholesome meal,got me really hungry.
    Its a true joy for a mom to see kids learn about responsibility,soeren sure is an adorable little fella :D

  29. What a charming post - and delicious meatballs! It was frustrating enough taking care of myself and the house when Nick was in Chicago in 2008 for 3 months - not sure how I would cope with a kid in the mix too! Didn't realise S is the same age as my eldest nephew - such a delicious age when they are still kids but you can see glimpses of the young man to come, and where you can tell them silly jokes for hours (like what do you call a man with a seagull on his head? Cliff!)

  30. Wow! Very delicious... Thanks for sharing a good recipe!

  31. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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