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Serves 4 as an entree or 6-7 as an appetizer

We love meatballs, of every culture, of every size and flavor profile! Enrobed in a swirl of spaghetti or on a toothpick, juicy, dipped in creamy, herby coolness (like these), or … These are reminiscent of a trip to Marrakech. They are nicely spiced and juicy. Serve with couscous or rice and a cucumber salad.


  • 2 ½ t. cumin freshly ground, divided
  • ¾ t. turmeric, ground
  • 1 t. coriander freshly ground, divided
  • ½ c. carrot, grated (about 1 large)
  • 1 c. celery, diced into ¼” pieces (about 3 stalks)
  • 3 cloves, garlic, finely minced, divided
  • 1 small jalapeno chile, washed, seeds discarded, finely diced
  • ¼ c. mint leaves, chopped, divided
  • ½ c. cilantro, including stems, chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • ½ c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1 1/3 pounds ground beef or lamb, or a combination
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Yogurt Sauce:
  • 1 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 T. sweet onion, coarsely grated
  • ½ c. cucumber, coarsely grated
  • ½ t. cayenne chile, ground, optional
  • ½ c. small cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a small dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the cumin, turmeric and coriander until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir continuously and remove from the hot pan to avoid scorching. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, mix together 1 ¾ t. of the toasted spices, yogurt, grated onion and cucumber, 1 garlic clove, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cayenne if using, and stir in tomatoes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped mint. Refrigerate to let flavors meld.

In a large mixing bowl, place grated carrot, celery, garlic, jalapeno, 3 tablespoons mint, cilantro, egg, soy sauce, toasted spices, about ½ t. salt and pepper. Stir to blend. Sprinkle panko on top. Break up the meat and distribute it on top of vegetable mix. Gently toss the meat together with the vegetables, taking care to break up the meat. Treat it gently, don’t mash it. When it’s incorporated, place ½ t. in a small dish, microwave for 12 seconds and taste for seasoning. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary.

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment. Set aside.

With lightly wet hands, form the meat mixture into 12 meatballs. Don’t squeeze tightly or the meatballs will be tough and dense. Place meatballs on the prepared sheet pan, place in oven and bake for about 20-28 minutes, or until cooked through.

Serve immediately with sauce.

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