Grilled Moroccan Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

Grilled-Meatballs-with-Cucumber-Yogurt-Sauce

I have a quirky habit of perusing the Internet in search of gently used cookbooks to add to my collection. I always find great buys — beautifully photographed books that have barely been opened — and it’s such a treat when they arrive on my doorstep, full of inspiration. It’s the little things, right? ;) One of my recent finds is Curtis Stone’s What’s for Dinner? I’m slowly cooking my way through the book and this recipe is one of my favorites. Ground beef is laced with warm spices, fresh herbs and garlic, and then grilled in meatball form until smoky and charred. Served over couscous with a cooling yogurt-cucumber sauce, it’s a quick and easy meal that’s big on flavor.

Favorite Finds

Favorite Finds

To begin, you’ll need…

ingredients

Combine the egg, garlic, cilantro, cumin, allspice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

seasoning

Mix until well combined.

mixing-seasoning

Add the ground beef and panko bread crumbs.

ground-beef-and-breadcrumbs

Mix together with your hands until just combined.

mixing

Use a 1/3 cup measure to portion out the meat and shape into discs.

ready-to-grill

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and grease well.

greasing-grill

Place the meatballs on the grill and cook for about four minutes per side, until charred and no longer pink in the center. As they cook, the centers will dome slightly, creating nicely shaped meatballs.

grilling-meatballs

Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce by combining the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, fresh dill, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

sauce-ready-to-mix

Mix to combine.

cucumber-yogurt-sauce

Serve the meatballs over couscous, topped with the yogurt sauce.

Grilled-Meatballs-with-Cucumber-Yogurt-Sauce

Note: In the original recipe, Stone forms the meat into kebabs onto long-stemmed rosemary, which is beautiful but hard to find. I’ve simplified the recipe by shaping the meat into meatballs. However, you can easily form the meat mixture into kebabs around wooden or metal skewers. I’ve also reduced the salt, adjusted the spices, and swapped regular yogurt for Greek yogurt in the sauce — but in essence the recipe is the same.

Grilled Moroccan Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

Print Recipe
Servings: 8 meatballs, 4 servings
Cook Time: 8 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 1 large egg
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 pounds 85% lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup panko
  • Vegetable oil, for grilling

For the Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 cup plain low-fat or whole milk Greek yogurt (do not use non-fat)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

For the Meatballs

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (about 500 degrees).
  2. Mix together the egg, garlic, cumin, allspice, cilantro, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the ground beef and panko and mix with your hands until well combined.
  3. Using a 1/3 cup measure, form 8 disc-shaped meatballs. (They will dome slightly on the grill, forming nicely rounded meatballs.)
  4. Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, carefully rub over the grates several times until glossy and coated. Grill the meatballs, covered, for about 4 minutes per side, or until they are nicely browned on the exterior and no longer pink in the center. Transfer the meatballs to a serving plate and let rest for 3 minutes. Serve with the yogurt sauce and couscous, if desired.

For the Yogurt Sauce

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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  • Stephanie

    Do you have the nutritional info for this dish? I am currently logging all my food on loseit.com
    Thanks in advance!

    • Jenn

      Sorry, Stephanie, I am not set up to provide nutritional info. I am working on it.

    • Kristen

      Stephanie,

      I use Loseit.com as well and there is a recipe tab in the site that you can add all the ingredients for a recipe and it will break it down for you how much a serving is. I’ve done it with quite a few recipes and its worked out well. Good thing is once you enter it, it saves it for future use. Hope this helps

  • Mimi

    If I don’t have a grill, could I bake or saute the meatballs instead?

    • Jenn

      Hi Mimi, Either technique would work. As I mentioned in another response, you may need to flash them under the broiler if you bake them.

  • Shannon

    These sound delicious- I love allspice! I make the Ponchatoula Strawberry Cupcakes out of Screen Doors and Sweet Tea for my daughter’s birthday every year-so good!

  • Diana

    Hello! This looks delicious! Unfortunately, I don’t have a grill in my apartment :( Could I make these in the oven?

    • Jenn

      Absolutely, you might just need to flash them under the broiler to get that nice color.

  • Tanya Pritchard

    Jennifer, this looks delicious! I’m wondering, since I don’t own a grill, do you think the meatballs would be just as good if cooked in an oven?

    • Jenn

      Hi Tanya, Yes, that would work fine…you might broil them at the end to get nice color.

  • Judy

    Thank you Tanya. I was just about to ask the same question.
    What to use instead of coucous? I’m afraid I don’t like it!

    • Jenn

      Judy, You don’t need couscous…they are delicious on their own or with a chopped vegetable salad dressed in lemon and olive oil.

  • Jalee

    How do you grease your grill? I can’t tell in the picture. I wanted to know if you have a better way than using spray like Pam.

    • Jenn

      Good question. I dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and rub it against the grates several times until they are glossy. It’s foolproof…works much better than Pam :)

  • Rose

    This sounds really good! will give it a try and let you know. Thank you

    p.s. I love Once upon a Chef.

  • Jules

    I love Curtis Stone. Great Aussie Chef! (I’m Aussie myself). If you havent got a Bill Granger book yet, he’s another awesome laid back, Aussie Chef.

  • madeline

    Rosemary skewers are not a big deal…..just start a rosemary plant next summer and don’t prune it at the end of the year. It grows well and within a year or so you’ll have rather long stems. Very good also for grilling pieces of chicken.

  • madeline

    PS, I’ll be tossing some feta cheese into the sauce!

  • Jennifer

    Just made these for dinner tonight. Delicious!!! Thank you for the recipe!

  • Izard

    I just finished making these meatballs and they were amazing. The spices go really well together even my 4 year old loved it.

    Thank you very much for your amazing website.
    Ziad

    • Jenn

      You’re welcome, Ziad. So glad you enjoyed!

  • Mary

    Jenn,
    I made these last night for dinner with your zucchini fritters, they both were delicious! I can always count on your recipes to be top notch!

    • Jenn

      Great idea to put those together, Mary. So glad you enjoyed!

  • Taruna

    Thank you for the recipes , I have made a few & they all turned out delicious . Don’t stop posting . My young daughter’s also love your recipes .

  • Liz

    Wow. These were out of this world good. Paired with cous cous and lemon wedges. Perfection. Balanced. Must share with others. Thanks for the fantastic recipe.

  • Penny

    These are absolutely delicious. The flavour is so nice. Thank you for the recipe. I had a moroccan meat skewer served on a pita bread with sauce, tomatoes and cucmber at the summer market and i was hoping to find a recipe — the search is over.

    Penny

  • I made this last week for my family and it was great! I added some onion and garlic to the sauce for a more traditional tzatziki sauce. I also oven roasted fresh tomatoes as a side dish.

  • Gayle Brown

    Very tasty and easy. I love that they are grilled instead of baked. I made with combination of ground lamb and beef and added more spices. Yummy dinner!

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