Moroccan lamb meatballs with harissa & couscous

Moroccan lamb meatballs with harissa & couscous

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(45 ratings)

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 20 mins Plus chilling


Serves 4
All the flavours of a tagine in meatball form, with the kick of homemade harissa and a cooling dollop of yogurt

Nutrition and extra info

  • Only the meatballs can be frozen


  • kcal651
  • fat37g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs50g
  • sugars2g
  • fibre0g
  • protein33g
  • salt0.84g
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  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander seed
    Coriander seed

    Coriander seed

    kor-ee-and-er seed

    The small, creamy brown seeds of the coriander plant give dishes a warm, aromatic and slightly…

  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 500g lamb mince



    A lamb is a sheep that is under 1 year old; between 1 and 2 years old you will find it sold as…

  • juice 1 lemon



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 20g pack mint, most leaves chopped



    There are several types of mint, each with its own subtle difference in flavour and appearance.…

  • 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 150ml natural yogurt, to serve



    Yogurt is made by adding a number of types of harmless bacteria to milk, causing it to ferment.…

For the couscous

  • 300g couscous



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

  • 50g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 2 tbsp harissa - shop-bought or see below, to serve



    This hot, aromatic paste made from chilli and assorted spices and herbs is spicy and…


  1. Heat a heavy-based pan over a low heat. Add the spices to the pan then toast for 2-3 mins until fragrant. Crush using a pestle and mortar. Set aside.

  2. Mix the breadcrumbs with 2 tbsp water and the garlic and stir well. Add the lamb, lemon juice, crushed spices, egg most of the mint. Season well. Mix well then shape into 16 balls. Chill for a good 30 mins.

  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Fry the balls for 6-7 mins, turning now and then, until golden brown and cooked. Keep warm. Put the couscous in a large heatproof bowl, then rub in the butter and harissa. Pour over 400ml boiling water, cover and leave for 10 mins. Fluff up and season. Shred the remaining mint, then mix through. Serve with harissa and yogurt.

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Comments, questions and tips

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24th Jul, 2020
We love ethnic foods & i had all the ingredients - wanted to make a bit healthier so cooked in oven. I used ground coriander & cumin (equiv. is 1 tsp seeds = 1 1/4 tsp ground for both) I added a bit more harissa for our taste AND PUT IN OVEN on 'convection roast' @ 420*F for about 15-20 min. The meatballs were juicy, flavourful - totally delicious. The plain greek yogurt with harissa, lemon juice & bit of mint is fresh & great compliment as you'd expect ! Used wild rice instead, cooked - added butter, harissa & mint as asked -delicious. It was a full, beautiful meal wth the tomato/feta salad I added .. totally Mediterranean! Winner & in my repertoire now!
abcdefghijord's picture
27th Apr, 2013
Made this tonight, it was lovely!! Thought there was possibly a crunch of something missing, so maybe serve with a vegetable side dish or something but other than fab flavours! Didn't have any fresh mint so we used dried, worked just as good! Halved it to make it for 2, easy doable but I think the egg mass was a little too much. Will make it for 4 next time and chill the other half for another day. Delicious though! Most definitely will be making again. Yummy!! :)
27th Mar, 2013
Very tasty. I added finely chopped preserved lemon to the couscous and was "heavy handed" with the spices. Will do again.
1st Aug, 2012
Very nice and quite filling. Served with a garnish of chopped tomato, cucumber, red onion and feta. Yummy!
4th Jul, 2012
Lovely - I added some chopped chilli to the meatballs, and served with a chickpea salad and mint yoghurt as it's a rare nice day!
6th Aug, 2011
Really liked this recipe as it was full of flavour. Have just made a double batch so we can freeze half ready for a quick mid-week meal.
15th Jun, 2011
tried this for the first time yesterday for dinner. I had actually prepared the meatballs before & kept them in the freezer so all I had to do was prepare the harissa. Both my hubby & me loved it. Added to our recipe repertoire, but next time i'll add more chillies to the harissa. Obviously that is just a matter of taste! Oh...and i also threw in a tomato in the food processor with all the other harissa ingredients because the red pepper I had was small. I must admit, it turned out better than I thought :)
5th May, 2011
Sorry, reallly didn't like this recipe. The end result far too dry for our tastes.
21st Feb, 2011
Well worth doing
20th Jan, 2011
Lovely recipe, very tasty. Meatballs always come with a tomato based sauce, so this was a nice change I replaced the yoghurt with some creme fraiche and lemon juice (which i heated on the stove), which added a nice lemony kick to it. We will definitely do this one again!


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Michael Green's picture
Michael Green
22nd May, 2019
Absolutely first class flavour, though l left out the water and mixed the egg with the breadcrumbs instead which, makes the balls firmer. Also added salt and pepper!
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