Moroccan Meatballs

This recipe was VERY labor intensive.  Whoever wrote this book and said the prep was 15 minutes is a big liar.  If I had an assembly line, I’d might be able to get it done in that time (or maybe if the permanent roommate was home to help me out), but it probably took me 30+ minutes to prep and roll out all these meatballs, including preparing the sauce for them to sit in.  That being said, this is now one of my favorite meatball recipes.  This was another from one of my Well Fed cookbooks- if you don’t have them, I HIGHLY recommend!

I actually don’t work with ground lamb a lot (the permanent roommate gets a bit sick over the smell when we’ve used lamb in recipes in the past), but I was given permission to try this one.  The cumin added a bit of flavor I wasn’t really expecting that I’d like so much and the paprika makes it an absolutely gorgeous color.


Moroccan Meatballs



  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 lb ground beef


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)


  • Mix all the spices in a bowl.  Add the ground beef and lamb and mix thoroughly with your hands until it’s all incorporated.  Scoop out tablespoon-sized balls of the meat mixture to a cutting board or baking sheet to sit while you make the sauce.


All my balls!  I ended up with 47 plus or minus- which is like an outrageous number to me.  But they were so tiny and cute!

  • Melt the coconut oil in the pan and sauté the onions until translucent.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.  (Still and always will be the BEST smell in the kitchen.)


  • Next add the spices, stir, then add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute??  I’m not sure what that’s all about.  Why not 2 minutes?


  • Add the water and tomato paste and simmer.  With all the ingredients incorporated it really is a pretty color, isn’t it?


  • Add the meatballs to the sauce to cook.  Cook covered for 40 minutes and uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.  This is a looooong cooking time, but it is totally worth it!  You want those little lamb balls cooked through and the longer the better!


I actually wasn’t able to fit all my little lamb balls into the pot, so I ended up lightly frying the outside in a little bit of coconut oil.  I think if I do this again, I wouldn’t use oil because lamb seems to have quite a bit in it… I just got all the sides a little crusty- it was a very quick cook 🙂

So I did some yoga while I waited the 30 or so leftover minutes, then uncovered the pot.


I was kind of unhappy about the amount of oil on top.  That’s like an 1/8th of an inch!  And where did it come from??? The lamb??  But it smelled good and the meatballs looked good.

While that was going for the last 20 minutes (and I prayed some oil would evaporate; though I knew that wouldn’t happen because hello- it’s oil), I cooked my GF pasta!  This was a new one I’d never tried before.  We’ve used Barilla in the past (or super expensive brands I’d be shamed to name), but their first ingredient is corn- ewwww corn!  Probably GMO corn!  So this brand’s (Ronzoni) first ingredient is actually rice flour, which I like much better.


We actually found a pasta last week that was GF and made entirely out of quinoa!  But we couldn’t find it at Shop Rite over the weekend.  It was pretty good though, and I’d recommend it!!


The meatballs are all done!  A bit of the water evaporated, but not enough and there was still a heavy layer of oil on top.  I ended up using a slotted spoon to scoop out the good stuff (including the meatballs) from the bottom in order to surpass the oil on top.  It worked pretty well- I suggest you do the same!


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