Moroccan meatball tagine with lemon & olives

Moroccan meatball tagine with lemon & olives

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(56 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 40 mins


Serves 4
A wonderfully aromatic North African lamb casserole with a citrus tang - great for dinner parties

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal394
  • fat26g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs11g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre3g
  • protein31g
  • salt1.7g
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  • 3 onions, peeled



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 500g minced lamb
  • zest and juice 1 unwaxed lemon, quartered
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and grated



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • pinch saffron strands



    The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

  • 250ml lamb stock



    A lamb is a sheep that is under one year old, and is known for its delicate flavour and tender…

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 100g pitted black kalamata olive
  • small bunch coriander, chopped
  • couscous or fresh crusty bread, to serve



    Consisting of many tiny granules made from steamed and dried durum wheat, couscous has become a…


  1. Put the onions in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Put the lamb, lemon zest, spices, parsley and half the onions in a large bowl, and season. Using your hands, mix until well combined, then shape into walnut-sized balls.

  2. Heat the oil in a large flameproof dish, or tagine with a lid, then add the remaining onions, ginger, chilli and saffron. Cook for 5 mins until the onion is softened and starting to colour. Add the lemon juice, stock, tomato purée and olives, then bring to the boil. Add the meatballs, one at a time, then reduce the heat, cover with the lid and cook for 20 mins, turning the meatballs a couple of times.

  3. Remove lid, then add the coriander and lemon wedges, tucking them in between the meatballs. Cook, uncovered, for a further 10 mins until the liquid has reduced and thickened slightly. Serve hot with couscous or fresh crusty bread.

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Comments, questions and tips

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5th Mar, 2014
Have just made and yummed this up. What a flavoursome dish. We wanted it so be saucier, but can adjust that easily to personal taste next time. There will be a next time. It does need the lemon wedges. The meatballs are full of flavour - in fact, the nicest we have ever tasted. Once the ingredients are assembled and prepared it's quite quick to do. I did cook for 10 mins longer than suggested, and glad I did. I often find that cooking times for mince are too short for my taste.
23rd Feb, 2014
Fabulous - went down a treat. The recipe does suggest "adding the lemon wedges", although once you've used the zest in the meatballs and the juice in the sauce, I'm not sure where the wedges are supposed to come from! As the lamb was to be minced and cooked for a while, I got a nice cut of older lamb from my butcher that had more flavour.
30th Jan, 2014
Everyone at my dinner table loved this dish! The lemon makes it and the meatballs are full of flavor. On top of all that, it is a light dinner so perfection is near...!
11th Jan, 2014
This tasted great. I made it with minced beef instead of lamb and it was really good.
29th Oct, 2013
I thought this was delicious and felt it needed the lemon wedges. The only change I made was I added garlic (we are big garlic lovers), a second chilli and increased the stock a little. Served it with Israeli Couscous flavoured with a little harissa, some bread and a salad.
28th Jul, 2013
I've just made this and it was so delicious. I bought ready made meatballs which saved me a job and I just added the spices that are in the recipe along with the onions. I also took advice from other comments and didn't add the slices of lemon. It was an excellent dish.
6th Jun, 2013
Very tasty sauce, I think I may have under seasoned the meatballs though as they were a bit bland. I'll add more spice and salt to the mix next time and I think they'll be perfect.
4th Jun, 2013
Fabulous daughter who "doesnt like lamb" enjoyed it and we all felt it tasted like something you had put a lot of time and effort in to...yet it didnt take that long Will be using this recipe again...thanks
30th May, 2013
REALLY tasty!! Thought initially this might be too hot, but the flavours were really good. Great for low calories too. Cooked without the olives as we dont like them. Will make this again very soon!
23rd Apr, 2013
Incredible! Made from beef I do not like lamb, do not add coriander - I forgot to buy! Garlic (with onions base) and pine nuts added. Also, I do not have a casserole cooked on the common adhesive frying pan, was still quite satisfactory result! Dont forget to visit my moroccan food blog at:


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