Moroccan Lamb Meatballs -- a technically simple, yet just unique enough lamb meatballs recipe to feel like you've gone above and beyond for your guests.
I had never displayed the ingredients like this beforehand taking the photo below. After looking at them, I think that there are more flavorful ingredients in this lamb meatballs recipe than there is meat.
That's probably why I love them so much [Let's pretend I inserted the shrug emoji here.]
Not into Lamb? That's ok. Sub Turkey
I love meatballs, friends. Why -- There are a million renditions of meatballs. I have used these same ingredients with dark meat ground turkey and while the flavor from the lamb is gone, it is very similar. Sub out the meat and give it a try!
How do we make this ahead?
- Prep the mixture earlier in the day. You can even roll the lamb meatballs and store on a sheet pan or plate and cover in the fridge for a few hours.
- Cook these earlier and then reheat in a pan.
- Cook, cool and serve them cold (in my opinion) making them great for a picnic or a summer outdoor lunch.
Let's Make Some Lamb Meatballs.
The most time consumitheng part of these meatballs is chopping all the mix-ins. I like to go a little rougher/larger with my mix-ins. However, you may not prefer that texture. If that is the case, I might suggest chopping the mix-ins by pulsing everything in a food processor. Otherwise, just keep chopping until your desired texture.
Once all the mix-ins + lamb are in the bowl together, use your hands to mix until everything is just combined. Roll the meatballs into 1" meatballs and place on a plate or sheet pan.
Pour 2 TBSP olive oil or avocado oil in the bottom of a heavy bottom pan. I prefer to use two cast iron pans at the same time, but do what works for you. Allow the pan(s) to heat over medium-high heat until oil hot and dropping a tiny piece of the meatball mixture in the pan causes it to sizzle.
How do I know if my pan is hot enough?
Drop a small (1/4 teaspoon) piece of the meatball mixture into the pan. If it immediately starts to sizzle, it is ready for the meatballs. Oil should not be smoking -- that means the oil is too hot, turn the heat down on the pan.
Once you add the meatballs to the pan, you don't want to move them until that side is browned. It should release from the bottom of the pan and have that crispy brown texture. Turn and cook on the next side. I normally flip each meatball and cook on a total of 2-3 sides. Use your digital meat thermometer to take the temperature of the meatballs. Lamb should be 160 degrees when fully cooked.
Once cooked, remove from the pan and drain on a plate covered in paper towels.
Cook the meatballs in batches until all meatballs are cooked. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan again and add more meatballs.
- Wrap in a pita
- Serve alongside a big salad filled with sliced red bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, and a red wine vinaigrette.
- Serve these alongside my Mediterranean Lentil Salad to please your vegetarian/vegan + meat eating friends all at the same time.
- Make a Grain Bowl!
- Cook, cool and pack these along for your next picnic. They are flavorful enough to stand on their own.
- GLUTEN FREE - Substitute the panko for gluten-free bread crumbs
- DAIRY-FREE - Leave out the feta
- NUT-FREE -- Leave out the pistachios OR substitute with sunflower seeds. Will slightly change the flavor, but will totally work.
- VEGAN/VEGETARIAN -- Serve these in a separate dish alongside my Mediterranean Lentil Salad which is the secret main dish for those vegan/vegetarian friends.
I hope you love this lamb meatballs recipe! It's:
Jam packed with flavor
Easy to make ahead
Simple adjustments make these gluten-free and dairy-free
& Totally delicious all on their own.
Into meatballs, too? Have your tried my Meatballs and Red Sauce?
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #eternalhostess on Instagram. Enjoy!
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1/2 cup red onion (very finely minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon ginger (peeled and grated or finely minced)
- 1/4 cup panko
- 1 egg (well beaten)
- 1/2 cup parsley (finely chopped)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup fresh mint (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
- 1/4 cup pistachios (finely chopped)
- 1/2 cup feta cheese (crumbled)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 4 tbsp olive oil (for frying)
- Place the lamb in a large bowl. Prep all the mix-ins and add to the bowl with the lamb -- this will include the red onion, garlic, ginger, panko, egg, herbs, lemon zest, pistachios, feta, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and pepper.
- Use clean hands to mix everything until just combined. You want all the ingredients evenly combined.
- Form 1" meatballs and line them up on a plate or sheetpan. [See notes on how to prep ahead]
- Heat 2 tablespoons EVOO or avocado oil in a cast iron pan or heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Using a hot pad, swirl oil in pan to completely coat the bottom before adding meatballs. Add meatballs into the pan with roughly 1/4" space between meatballs.
- Meatballs are cooked when they read 160 degrees on a digital meat thermometer. Remove from pan and allow to drain on a plate covered in paper towels.
- Cook the meatballs in batches until all meatballs are cooked. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan again and add more meatballs.
- Serve the meatballs hot covered with extra herbs, sprinkled with sumac, drizzled with tahini or covered in more crumbled feta.
- If the meatballs are browning quickly, but aren't cooked to 160 degrees, move meatballs to a baking sheet (if not using an oven safe pan) and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place in 350 degree oven checking every few minutes until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
- If substituting ground turkey, it should cook to 165 degrees.
- You can test to make sure the oil is hot enough by dropping 1/4 teaspoon of the meatball mixture in the oil. It should sizzle immediately, but not be smoking. If the oil is smoking, lower the temperature of the stove.