Harissa Spiced Lamb Meatballs with garlic mint yogurt
One of my greatest discoveries in my 20’s has been Mediterranean food. I of course had a lot of hummus and tabbouleh growing up, but I don’t remember eating true, authentic Mediterranean food until adulthood… and omg! It’s so good. I’ve been on a mission to recreate some of the dishes and flavors ever since, and this Harissa Lamb Meatballs with Garlic Mint Yogurt dish is a riff on some of the classic flavors. I brought in some Mediterranean influence with some flatbread, a yogurt sauce & a simple lemon-dressed side salad.
Harissa is actually a North African flavor that is typically a paste, but the one I used in this recipe is a dry spice blend. It features chili peppers, paprika, caraway, peppermint, coriander, cumin, garlic and cayenne. It’s fantastic and has an almost curry-like flavor with a gentle heat. It’s honestly unlike any other flavor, and it pairs beautifully with the flavor of lamb.
Speaking of lamb, I know it can be a bit intimidating to some people that haven’t cooked with it before, but ground lamb is a great place to start! Especially with these meatballs, it really is so similar to cooking ground beef. The flavor is really unique, and this is definitely my favorite way to prepare it. I’m actually not the biggest fan of the flavor of lamb unless it is paired with some other strong, complementary flavors!
This meal is SO easy to make and is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, or use it as a date-night at home dinner if it’s your first time making lamb! I personally think it’s so fun to make something I’ve never made before on the weekend. Wine in hand, of course 🙂
Getting started, I first lined a baking sheet with aluminum foil. I don’t often use aluminum, but because we’re using the broil function, it’s best to avoid parchment (we don’t want to set it on fire!). In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients for the meatballs. It’s important to not overmix, as this will cause the meatballs to get super tough, but instead just mix until everything is incorporated (evenly mixed).
I also find it easiest to use either an ice cream scoop and then hand roll the meatballs into balls, or use a cookie dough scoop. This way the meatballs are uniform in size and will cook evenly!
After the meatballs have been formed and placed on the baking sheet, put them in the oven under the broil function on high and set the timer for 6 minutes. Turn the meatballs after 6 minutes and continue to broil for another 6 minutes until fully cooked and the internal temp reaches 160 (a meat thermometer is an incredible tool to have in the kitchen- linking the one I have here!)
You can either have your yogurt sauce made ahead of time, or make it while the meatballs are cooking. Making it ahead of time is honestly a great idea because the flavors just get better as they mingle.
The yogurt sauce is comprised of two cups of plain Greek yogurt, the juice of a lemon, two minced garlic cloves, ¼ cup chopped parsley, ¼ cup chopped mint, salt and pepper. It is so fresh and flavorful and pairs wonderfully with the flavor of lamb.
I love serving this meal with some garlic flatbread and a simple salad of either arugula or baby kale with baby tomatoes, olive oil and lemon juice for a dressing. The acidity and freshness really helps cut the richness of the lamb.
Harissa Lamb Meatballs with Garlic Mint Yogurt
For the Harissa Lamb Meatballs
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp harissa seasoning or paste I have only tested this recipe using Simply Organic Harissa Seasoning
- 1/2 cup panko
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley (stem and leaves)
- 4 cloves minced garlic
For the Garlic Mint Yogurt
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt or quark
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt & pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- Preheat oven on broil-high. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly brush with avocado oil.
- Place all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl and use hands to mix until combined, being careful not to over mix.
- Form meatballs using an ice cream or cookie dough scoop and place on baking sheet.
- Broil on high for 6 minutes, flip, and broil for another 6 or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees using a meat thermometer.
- To make yogurt, stir together all ingredients and chill in the refrigerator until serving.