Mediterranean meatballs: a lamb meatball recipe with Tunisian spices

by Irvin on October 6, 2014 · 18 comments

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These Mediterranean meatballs are a lamb meatball made with Tunisian spices. They are easy enough to make for a quick tasty weeknight meal!

Mediterranean meatballs, a Tunisian meatball recipe. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

“What do you think about me making Mediterranean meatballs for dinner?” I asked my partner AJ. He looked at me as if I had just grown a second head and with wide eyes replied back “I’d think that would be awesome.” His expression clearly showing that I didn’t even need to ask that question. Meatballs are pretty much good anytime here in this household and AJ apparently was incredulous that I couldn’t remember that. I had discovered this lamb meatball recipe using Tunisian spices from the cookbook One Good Dish by David Tanis and it’s quickly become a staple in our household. (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Tunisian meatballs, a mediterranean meatball recipe. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

I’ve been cooking a lot more at home. Partly because I desperately needed a break from all the sugar, butter and flour that I’ve been going through developing recipes for my cookbook. Partly because I realize that my towering stack of cookbooks that are accumulating on top of my desk are just gathering dust (as well as dangerously teetering on collapse onto my computer). It was time for me to start actually using them and not just collect them. I’ve been a fan of David Tanis since picking up his book The Heart of an Artichoke a few years ago and his latest small unassuming book is a collection of one dish meals that are easy to make and packed full of flavor.

Lamb meatballs with mediterranean spices. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

His Tunisian meatball recipe made with ground lamb is pretty straightforward, despite the dauntingly long ingredient list. Luckily most of the ingredients can be found in a well-stocked pantry (such as mine, where my obsession with cookbooks is only rivaled by my obsession with herbs and spices). The few spices you don’t have can be found fairly easily at most grocery stores. The result, a punchy Mediterranean meatball meal served over Israel cous cous with golden raisins is a meal that you can make in about an hour. No wonder AJ thought my questions as ridiculous. Of course he wanted them for dinner. Why wouldn’t he?

If you like this Mediterranean meatball recipe, check out some of these other meatball recipes from around the web:
Orangette’s Falafel Spiced Lamb Meatballs
What’s Gaby Cooking’s Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Foodie Crush’s Mexican Turkey Meatballs with Avocado Smash
Gimme Some Oven’s Saucy Asian Meatballs
Skinny Taste’s Turkey Meatball Spinach Tortellini Soup

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

claudia harris October 6, 2014 at 8:22 am

I’m catering a film opening later this month (local documentary). This looks perfect! Thanks so much!


Marisa Franca @ All Our Way October 7, 2014 at 4:55 am

That sounds wonderful. I can feel the love and the flavor in that dish!! I can’t wait to try it. Thank you.


Sophia @ NY Foodgasm October 7, 2014 at 7:38 am

Oh man I love earthy foods especially where there is lamb involved, my Greek ancestors would be proud! I like the African twist on it, though really there are so many similarities in the cuisine and the spices used.


Margaret MacKenzie October 7, 2014 at 8:01 am

I share AJ’s enthusiasm. I love North African flavors. Can;t wait to prepare this. Thanks!


10 Legs in the Kitchen October 9, 2014 at 9:24 am

You wouldn’t have to ask me twice either! I have heard David Tanis mentioned a few times recently now but had not heard of him before (because apparently I live in a hole). I will have to check out his book (s) and column. Speaking of books, sounds like you are writing one? It would be great to see a post about that experience (perhaps you have done that already and I missed it since I am new to this blog).


Kevin | keviniscooking October 9, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Irvin this is right up my alley. Looks fantastic… Love me da spices!


Tonya Engelbrecht February 13, 2015 at 7:53 am

I made this last night and it was amazing! I will admit I was less a couple ingredients (saffron and ginger!) which I am sure would have made it even better, but seriously, great recipe. It was a big hit with everyone in the house :)Thanks so much! Will be making this again!


Lucia February 27, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Just finished eating them! Fantastic recipe! I wouldn’t change anything! Thank you so much for sharing! I will sure use this recipe for the rest of my life!


read carr March 9, 2015 at 6:55 pm

this looks super tasty I’m cooking it for my school project I’m representing tunisia


Sara March 15, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Made this tonight. Soooo good! Don’t hesitate to make this. It’s really a great dish!


linda April 23, 2015 at 5:37 am

This dish is fall down on the ground delicious. Served to company and everyone wanted seconds. I was so looking forward to leftovers. I’m making it again tonight, just for me. Thank you for posting this.


Irvin April 28, 2015 at 12:06 am

Thank you for letting me know you liked it! I’m thrilled!


Haley August 4, 2015 at 3:03 pm

This was fabulous!!!!!!!


Annella Wheatley October 1, 2015 at 2:26 am

I’ve made this twice and it’s so delicious. The spices create a complex flavour that give so much depth to this dish. It’s a bit time-consuming but well worth it. Only problem is I always eat too much of it! Thank you.


Erica January 22, 2016 at 7:22 pm

I just made a batch of these……the kitchen smells amazeballs, and I had to scoff a couple to make sure that I got my share before the boys arrive……YUM!


Kelsie March 5, 2017 at 5:59 am

I found and saved this recipe in the summer of 2015 and it has become a staple in my household. My husband is absolutely in love with the recipe and whenever I cook for friends and family they’re always asking for it!
When I first tried it, I remember thinking the ingredient list was daunting and so, so very long. You can imagine my surprise when I found this much easier to recreate than I first imagined it would be.

This recipe is truly amazing and 100% worth the effort. In fact, it was the recipe that really helped develop my love of cooking and gave me the courage to experiment with food!

Thank you, so very much for putting this recipe up!


Taryn June 19, 2017 at 2:25 am

Delicious & warming recipe, perfect dinner to make in the middle of winter! My 6 year old loved it too, great meal for my fussy little eater! Thank you for posting this great recipe.😁


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