Bulgarian Meatballs

Name: Vennie Muenzen
Class Year: 2010
Country of Residence: USA

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

Growing up in Bulgaria, I eagerly anticipated summers in the countryside with my grandparents once the school year was over. I loved helping my grandma in the garden and enjoyed learning about the herbs and spices we grew and the bees we kept. My grandpa had eclectic interests and experience. A war veteran who worked as wholesaler of textiles, he also took pride in his beehives, garden, orchard, and vineyard. He was knowledgeable about plants and shared with me his books. Our Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, published in 1949, was one of my favorite books. 

I gained knowledge about oregano, basil, and savory, and other plants, and also used the pages of the book to press the herbs for my herbarium which I was hoping to show in my plant biology class in the fall. We cooked everyday delicious meals and used spices from the garden to make white beans with lovage or spearmint, Bulgarian meatballs with onions, parsley, and summer savory, tarator (a traditional Bulgarian cold summer soup with yoghurt, water, minced cucumber, dill, and garlic), or nettle soup. We made lyutenitsa and plum marmalade, milked the sheep and made Bulgarian yoghurt. My experience gave true life to the “farm-to-table” definitions which many restaurants advertise nowadays.

Book Our Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, published 1949
Bulgarian Meatballs

Serves 5 (3 meatballs per person) x takes approximately 30 -40 min including 10 min prep and 20-30min active cooking time

1 lb (450g) ground beef
1 lb (450g) ground pork
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5-6 parsley stems
1 teaspoon summer savory
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
Sunflower or other vegetable oil, for frying

Bulgarian Meatballs Ingredients



1. In a bowl, mix ground beef and pork, salt, sweet paprika, black pepper, fresh parsley, and ground savory. Combine with your hands. Brush olive oil on the surface of the meat mixture. This will help us to retain moisture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.
2. Add onions to the meat mixture and mix well. Make 14-15 meatballs.
3. Grill or fry your meatballs for about 5-6 minutes per side or more, if desired.
4. Serve with fresh or roasted vegetables, Shopska Salad, Greek salad, lyutenitsa or ajvar
spread. Enjoy!

Note: Some Bulgarian meatball recipes include bread crumbs, however, I decided to keep it gluten free.

Bulgarian Meatballs with Fresh Tomatoes, Roasted Pepper Salad, Arugula, and White Cheese
Mom’s Bulgarian Meatballs



Family recipe

3 thoughts on “Bulgarian Meatballs

  1. This sounds delicious, Vennie! Thank you for sharing this recipe, as well as the story about your grandfather. Recipes are even better when there’s meaning behind them.

  2. This looks super tasty, I’ve always loved the color combo of the shopska salad, makes me think of sunshine and summer <3

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