Everyone needs a go-to meatball recipe, and these Moroccan meatballs or kefta are mine! Flavored with cumin, paprika, coriander, and cinnamon- meatballs simmer in a tomato gravy with onion, garlic, ginger, and dates.
Moroccan Meatballs- Kefta Tagine
For the Meatballs:
For the Gravy:
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ inch fresh ginger, minced
- 3-4 medium tomatoes, pureed
- 4 dates, seed removed, and diced
- ½ cup chicken broth
- parsley, chopped, to garnish
- Mint, chopped, to garnish
- Combine ground beef, ground cardamom, coriander, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and egg in a mixing bowl; knead for 3 minutes.
- Roll the mixture into 1- 1½ inch meatballs and set them aside.
- Warm oil in a skillet over medium heat until smoking. Then, add the first layer of meatballs; be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook the meatballs for 3-5 minutes, rotating often, to get a nice sear on all sides. Set the partially cooked meatballs aside and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- In the same pan, cook the onions until they become translucent and soften.
- Stir in the freshly minced garlic and ginger, followed by the pureed tomatoes and dates. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Return the reserved meatballs to the pan along with the chicken broth.
- Simmer the meatballs over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley or mint and serve immediately with couscous, bulgar, pita, or zaalouk.
- Refrigerate Meatballs Before Cooking: For best results, refrigerate the meatballs for 30 minutes before cooking them; this will ensure they remain intact.
- Nutrition Disclosure: The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
- Web Story: Check out our web story for kefta tagine!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
For the Meatballs:
- Beef: I use lean ground beef but use what you have. Change things up by using ground lamb.
- Spices: Season the Moroccan meatballs with ground green cardamon, coriander, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
- Egg: Bind the meatballs together with an egg.
- Oil: Used for frying, plus more oil to coat your hands while forming the meatballs.
For the Gravy:
- Onion: I use yellow or vidalia onion because they add sweetness to the gravy.
- Garlic: I suggest using three cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use – go for it.
- Ginger: The gravy wouldn’t be the same without fresh ginger.
- Tomato: Fresh tomatoes create the base for rich and flavorful gravy. I use Roma tomatoes because they have less moisture than other varieties, and I puree them beforehand using a blender or food processor because my husband and daughter aren’t fans of tomatoes. Another option is to dice the tomatoes and sweat them down over low heat; this results in a thicker gravy; however, this process may increase the cooking time.
- Dates: Dates are my personal favorite, but raisins or Craisins are a good alternative.
- Chicken Broth: Simmer the meatballs in gravy and chicken broth for juicy Moroccan meatballs every time.
HOW TO MAKE MOROCCAN MEATBALLS
Combine ground beef, ground cardamom, coriander, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and egg in a mixing bowl; knead for 3 minutes.
Roll the mixture into 1- 1½ inch meatballs and set them aside.
Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until smoking. Then, add the first layer of meatballs; be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Set the cooked meatballs aside and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
In the same pan, cook the onions until they become translucent and soften.
Stir in the freshly minced garlic and ginger, followed by the pureed tomatoes and dates.
Return the reserved meatballs to the pan along with the chicken broth.
Simmer over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley or mint and serve immediately with couscous, bulgar, pita, zaalouk, or all of the above.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are the meatballs spicy?
They are not spicy, but they do have a ton of flavor! The North African spice blend we use combines warming spices like crushed green cardamom, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, and cinnamon to season the meatballs.
How do you make Moroccan lamb meatballs?
Follow the recipe as is, but use ground lamb instead of beef; everything else stays the same!
What goes with Moroccan meatballs?
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Yogurt with Olive Oil
- Tztaziki Sauce
- Marinated Olives
- Fresh Salad
- Glazed Carrots
- Warm Pitas
Can I bake the meatballs instead?
Preheat the oven to 350°, then line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Line the meatballs onto it and bake them for 15-20 minutes.