Dishing Up the Dirt

Baked Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes & Feta Lamb Meatballs

Okay, so here is another late summer meatball recipe for you all. This recipe is actually two separate recipes that I served together. Feel free to make the rice on its own and serve with something else or visa versa with the meatballs.  This recipe is inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Simple. Thought I made a lot of alterations and ingredient substations to make this work with what we’ve got on hand and at the farm. However, I will say his method for baking the rice is perfect for someone like me who always seems to burn my stovetop rice. The rice dish turned out perfectly cooked and the slow roasted tomatoes and garlic melt in your mouth. This is a wonderful late summer dish that highlights the peak season bounty with a warm, cozy vibe going on in the kitchen. This meal tastes great with a light red wine (like a pinot noir) and is just hands down, delicious! This meal has a few more steps than most of my recipes and the cooking time is longer (but most of that is hands off time) but please don’t let that stop you. This is WORTH every clove of garlic you have to peel and dish you need to wash. I will be making this again before the cherry tomatoes are gone and actually plan to make it next weekend when my father-in-law visits. It’s divine and I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did.

Cheers from Tumbleweed Farm

Baked Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes & Feta Lamb Meatballs

Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cook Time: 2 hours    Serves: 6

Baked Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 12 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups wile rice or basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
Feta Lamb Meatballs
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 3 ounces crumbed feta
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • plain whole milk yogurt for serving
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large deep casserole dish, arrange the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and cinnamon sticks. Pour in the olive oil and add a hefty pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the rice evenly over the tomatoes without stirring them. Increase the oven temperature to 450F. Sprinkle the top of the rice with a little more salt and pepper. Pour the 2 1/2 cups of boiling water over the rice. Seal the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the parsley. Set aside.
  3. To prepare the meatballs turn the oven temperature down to 425F.
  4. In a large bowl combine the lamb, feta, garlic, thyme, parsley, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into about 2 inch size meatballs. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven until cooked through and lightly browned on the tops of the meatballs. About 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep to the side.
  5. Divide the rice between bowls and serve with the meatballs and plain yogurt. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste and crushed red pepper flakes if desired.


Use this recipe as a guide. Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary. Cooking times will very from kitchen to kitchen.

Leave a Reply

7 thoughts on “Baked Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes & Feta Lamb Meatballs

  1. Chris says:

    Super yummy recipe! The tomato flavor is concentrated for one of the best rice dishes I’ve ever had. Plus used up a bunch of my abundant tomato harvest. The meatballs are also tasty and the whole dish comes together exquisitely.

    1. Andrea says:

      So happy to hear! This is my new favorite way to prepare rice!!

  2. Dana says:

    This was so delicious! The only modification I made was in using plant-based ground ‘meat’ to make the meat balls since we are vegetarian. I love throwing everything in the oven, and the cooking method for the rice really is a revelation for me! Just fantastic.

    1. Andrea says:

      so happy to hear!!

  3. Alice says:

    OMG! I made this last night for dinner and it was delicious! After about 15 mins in the oven the aroma of the tomatoes and garlic started filling my apartment. It’s so worth the time to make and it’s going to be my new go-to dish for a first meal when I can have company again. What a great way to make someone feel welcome and loved 🙂 I avoid dairy so I made the Moroccan meatball recipe (another favorite) to go with this as well as the yogurt sauce that accompanies that recipe. Thanks for the time you spend creating such great recipes!

  4. Tim says:

    Have made this four times now, it’s been phenomenal every time. It makes my apartment smell magical. The tomatoes, garlic, and cinnamon with the cheesy meatballs and yogurt is a scrumptious combination. The only tweaks I’ve tried are herbed goat cheese for feta, and upping the salt just a bit throughout, both good.

    1. Andrea says:

      Love it! So happy to hear!

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