Grilled Moroccan Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

5 stars based on 12 votes

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

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.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 418
  • Fat: 27g
  • Saturated fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 9g
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 34g
  • Sodium: 1028mg
  • Cholesterol: 152mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    These are scrumptious! I seasoned the ground beef as described, then cooked the meatballs in a cast iron skillet. I also prepared the yogurt sauce, to which I added a teaspoon of minced garlic (just because I like it.) I served everything over “pine nuts and olive oil” couscous (one of those mixes in a box) with a side of roasted red peppers. It was a wonderful dinner, and quite easy to prepare.

    - rodcin on July 31, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These meatballs are absolutely delicious; I’ve already made them several times since Jenn posted the recipe because they get requested in my house. I serve them with couscous and moroccan-spiced roasted vegetables (usually red peppers, red onion, chickpeas, carrots, eggplant, sometimes sweet potato) for a very easy dinner. Do add the cilantro to the meatballs—it makes a difference!

    - Allie on July 29, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe almost to the tee. Omitted cilantro so the picky eater in the family wouldn’t turn away from the green. Everything was super yummy and just as deeelish the next day as leftovers. Thanks again for a great recipe!

    - Lori on July 18, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Lovely quick recipe for the summer. I used chicken broth to make the couscous. The yogurt dressing was absolutely delicious. If serving children, lessen the amount of spices, as the new flavors to them may be a bit overwhelming. Would also be great served in a pita pocket.

    - georgia on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My family loved these Moroccan Meatballs! The flavors were wonderful! I broiled them in my oven, but they turned out great! Thanks.

    - Diana Knight on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    The most delicious meatballs I have ever had…and SO easy. My 16 year old daughter enjoyed making the yogurt sauce. We all decided that the sauce would taste great on so many things. I even had a 1/3 cup measure where they came out looking just like the picture with having to form them and over work the meat. Yummy!!! This has gone into our repertoire.

    - Suzanne on July 15, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe was so easy and delicious! I substituted my own breadcrumbs (leftover hotdog buns from the freezer) for panko, and added a little extra. I’m not sure if the recipe meant to keep the BBQ lid open at 500F, but that was a ridiculous temperature so I grilled at 4 mins per side on medium low with the lid closed. In my sauce, I added 1tsp sugar and some fresh garlic, and substituted dried herbs. Overall, it tasted more like tzatziki this way. Served on a bed of rice. Will definitely make again! I am wondering if they would turn out as nice if made with 1/4c instead of 1/3c size as I found the serving to be large.

    - Rochelle on July 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’ve been looking for some recipe inspiration and I found it! Thank you Jenn. Great recipe, nice combination of flavors and textures. I used turkey instead of beef for the meatballs. Will definitely make again

    - H- on July 8, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I loved this recipe. The flavors blended perfectly and so easy to cook on the grill. Keeper!

    - Carrie h on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this dish tonight and LOVED it!!! I doubled the receipe for a family of four and we have leftovers :) ***I used lean ground turkey and it was DELISH!***

    - Diana L. on July 1, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Grilled these meatballs last night and they were a huge hit with our family and friends. Flavor was incredible.

    - Mike on June 25, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Made these twice now. The cucumber dill sauce absolutely makes these delicious. Putting the recipe in the pot luck – dinner for neighbor mental file. BTW much better over herbed rice (couscous is so bland :( )

    - Maureen O on June 12, 2014 Reply
  • Your new site looks fabulous! I am such a fan of yours. Given the weather, I need to make the meatballs in the oven. What temp and how long? I like the idea of running them under the broiler at the end.

    - Karen Oshry on June 4, 2014 Reply
    • Thanks, Karen! I’d cook them at 350 in the oven for 15-20 minutes, then flash them under the broiler at the end.

      - Jenn on June 5, 2014 Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! Love the spice in the meatballs!!!

    - Rachelle on May 21, 2014 Reply
  • 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!

    - Gayle Brown on November 8, 2013 Reply
  • 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.

    - Julie on October 24, 2013 Reply
  • 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

    - Penny on September 27, 2013 Reply
  • 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.

    - Liz on September 23, 2013 Reply
  • 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 .

    - Taruna on September 19, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Mary on September 19, 2013 Reply
    • Great idea to put those together, Mary. So glad you enjoyed!

      - Jenn on September 19, 2013 Reply
  • 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

    - Izard on September 14, 2013 Reply
    • You’re welcome, Ziad. So glad you enjoyed!

      - Jenn on September 14, 2013 Reply
  • Just made these for dinner tonight. Delicious!!! Thank you for the recipe!

    - Jennifer on September 12, 2013 Reply
  • PS, I’ll be tossing some feta cheese into the sauce!

    - madeline on September 12, 2013 Reply
  • 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 on September 12, 2013 Reply
  • 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.

    - Jules on September 12, 2013 Reply
  • This sounds really good! will give it a try and let you know. Thank you

    p.s. I love Once upon a Chef.

    - Rose on September 12, 2013 Reply
  • 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.

    - Jalee on September 12, 2013 Reply
    • 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 :)

      - Jenn on September 12, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Judy on September 12, 2013 Reply
    • Judy, You don’t need couscous…they are delicious on their own or with a chopped vegetable salad dressed in lemon and olive oil.

      - Jenn on September 12, 2013 Reply
  • 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?

    - Tanya Pritchard on September 12, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Tanya, Yes, that would work fine…you might broil them at the end to get nice color.

      - Jenn on September 12, 2013 Reply
  • Hello! This looks delicious! Unfortunately, I don’t have a grill in my apartment :( Could I make these in the oven?

    - Diana on September 12, 2013 Reply
    • Absolutely, you might just need to flash them under the broiler to get that nice color.

      - Jenn on September 12, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Shannon on September 12, 2013 Reply
  • If I don’t have a grill, could I bake or saute the meatballs instead?

    - Mimi on September 12, 2013 Reply
    • 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.

      - Jenn on September 12, 2013 Reply
  • Do you have the nutritional info for this dish? I am currently logging all my food on loseit.com
    Thanks in advance!

    - Stephanie on September 12, 2013 Reply
    • Sorry, Stephanie, I am not set up to provide nutritional info. I am working on it.

      - Jenn on September 12, 2013 Reply
    • 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

      - Kristen on September 12, 2013 Reply

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