keto adaptation

Keto adaptation – Greek meatballs with avgolemono sauce

Keto adaptation or as we call it, ketonisation is the process in which we take traditional recipes and make them 100% Keto safe. In this particular recipe, we did not have to change much. Some Greek recipes call for flour, old bread or rice… However, there are many Greek families that think of meatballs as their name says – mainly made of meat!

On the other side, some Greek foodies worry if the meatballs, patties, burgers and other creations with minced meat will turn out soft and chewy without bread. But the truth is, bread is not added for that reason… Bread in recipes with minced meat is mainly serving as a bulking agent. As ketonians, we know that meatballs should consist mainly of meat. This is why this keto adaptation will be super satisfying, it will provide more satiety and flavour. What about the texture, you might wonder. Worry not, we got you covered.

Keto adaptation

All the Keto adaptations of Greek meatball recipes

Our previous recipe for Greek keto meatballs went quite well on all social media. Our followers asked if they could prepare them without tomato sauce. Well, of course, avgolemono comes to mind. Why do Greeks call it avgolemono (αυγολέμονο)? It literally means egg and lemon. Believe it or not, this creamy yellow sauce in the original version doesn’t contain any flour or starch. The chemical reaction of citric acid from lemon and eggs creates a beautiful emulsion. Avgolemono sauce is a smooth, silky, thick sauce that everybody loves. However, avgolemono requires patience, a slow cooking approach,  and some level of skillfulness with a whisk.

Crazy about meatballs

Children in particular love meatballs, don’t they? Besides being tasty, meatballs are very fun looking while being fully nutritious. Most Ketonians try to enjoy the Keto lifestyle. Often they like to show their friends and family that Keto can be super enjoyable. If you are one of them, this Keto adaptation will be your ultimate weapon when you decide to show off your cooking skills in front of your guests.

The oriental influence

If you are breaking your tongue to pronounce the name of this dish – “giouvarlakia avgolemono” – it’s quite understandable. This dish is a clear example of Turkish influence on Greek cuisine. Giouvarlakia literally means something round or spheric in Turkish. Even though some original versions call for rice or bulgur, this Keto recipe is 100% safe to go. If you check the nutritional values you will notice that the portion of this aromatic Mediterranean dish will provide you with the exact ratio of macros that the ketogenic diet requires. And the Keto adaptation of the silky smooth sauce – now that’s another level of art created in the kitchen!

Greek meatballs with lemon sauce (Giouvarlakia avgolemono)

4 from 2 votes
Recipe by Roberta Kapsalis Course: Main Dishes, MediterraneanCuisine: Keto MediterraneanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 700g (25 oz) minced meat (we always prefer mutton or lamb)

  • 2 spring onions

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 2 medium celery stalks

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 1/2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp red paprika flakes

  • 6 tbsp sparkling mineral water

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • Frying fat mixture
  • 1 tbsp tallow (we used lamb tallow, but you can also use ghee)

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • Sauce
  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 medium lemon (juice and some of the zest)

  • 100 ml (3, 5 oz) water or beef/lamb stock

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • a pinch of nutmeg

  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped dill (you can use dry too)


  • Place the onion, garlic, celery and sparkling water in a food processor. Process it until you get a smooth mixture. Combine this mixture with ground meat using your hands
  • Add all the spices, vinegar, baking soda and keep mixing. Grease your hands with olive oil and start creating small to medium meatballs. I was able to create 20 meatballs.
  • In a deep frying pan, preheat the tallow and olive oil. Gently place the meatballs in a pan and fry them from all sides. Keep turning the meatballs until they get golden brown from all sides
  • When the meatballs are golden brown from all sides, add 100 ml of water and bring it to a boiling point. Reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Using a whisk, beat the eggs with all the spices. Add the lemon juice and keep beating until you get a smooth emulsion.
  • Remove the meatballs from the heat. Add some of the liquid from meatballs to the egg mixture. Make sure you add it slowly so that the eggs don’t cook and break. Now, very carefully, from a high distance pour the egg mixture into the pan with meatballs. Constantly stir.
  • Return the pan to the stove for 2 minutes at a very low temperature and keep stirring. Serve with a lot of freshly chopped dill or alternatively use parsley. Finally, sprinkle some grated lemon zest right before serving.


  • You can add any Mediterranean herb to the meatballs but make sure you don’t use the same herbs in the sauce.
  • For frying, in Greece, olive oil is the only fat used. However, we added tallow to make the frying safer at high temperatures.
  • The nutritional label is calculated per single meatball.

Did you make this recipe?

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