Pickled Rose
Food and art, mutually inspired.


Lamb Meatballs with Harissa Tomato Sauce

Meatballs should be their own food group. Perhaps it’s the Italian in me, but there is nothing more comforting than a bowl full of meatballs and tomato sauce. They are perfect and can do no wrong. My lamb meatballs with harissa tomato sauce is BEYOND. Grassy lamb meatballs studded with spinach- because vegetables, and a spicy tomato sauce that will warm the bones. Top it all off with cooling yogurt and refreshing mint, this is a dish that will have you craving more. It will taste like you’ve been slaving over the stove all day, except you’ve got dinner ready in an hour or less. But that can be our little secret.

Lamb Meatballs with Harissa Tomato Sauce

Lamb Meatballs with Harissa Tomato Sauce

Lamb Meatballs with Harissa Tomato Sauce


1 lb ground lamb

1 lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 egg

1/3 C ground almond meal

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp kosher salt


1 medium onion, thinly sliced

7 cloves garlic, lightly smashed

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp harissa powder

1 tsp turmeric

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 15 oz cans tomato sauce

2 C water

1/2 C coconut milk

whole milk plain yogurt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the meatballs. Combine ground lamb, drained spinach, egg, almond meal, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Roll meat mixture into 20-22 ping pong sized balls. In a large dutch oven heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat and brown meatballs, approximately 5-7 minutes. Brown meatballs in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Set browned meatballs aside, leaving the fat in the pan.

Add onions garlic, harissa, remaining 1/2 tsp cinnamon, turmeric, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Stir onions to coat with the spices and fat in the bottom of the pan. Cook until onions begin to soften and the spices become fragrant, approximately 5-7 minutes. De-glaze the bottom of the pan with lemon juice, scraping up any brown bits. Add tomatoes, water, and coconut milk, and scrape up any brown bits that may remain. Simmer for 15 minutes and then puree sauce with a hand held stick blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add meatballs to sauce and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve with rice, a dollop of full fat yogurt, and fresh mint.

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Lamb and Spinach Meatballs in Harissa Tomato Sauce close up.JPG