Lamb Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

Lamb Meatballs

Meatballs are a cocktail party standard, but this version, dunked into minty yogurt sauce, is hardly predictable. The spicing takes its cue from merguez, a type of Moroccan sausage. The meat will taste best if blended up to a day in advance, but cooked at the last possible moment or it will dry out.–Tori Ritchie

LC Made In The Style of Merguez Note

What exactly does it mean to be made in the style of Merguez? It means to be robustly and generously seasoned with an earthy heat that slowly creeps from the tip of your tongue to your toes. It’s not an overly spicy heat, and it’s not the sorta heat that has you gasping for air. It’s just a really nice heat.

Merguez Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 50 M
  • Makes about 20 servings
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • For the meatballs
  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef (not too lean)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the yogurt sauce
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves


  • Make the meatballs
  • 1. Dump the meat in a large bowl and add the garlic, cilantro, vinegar, paprika, cumin, coriander, salt, and a generous grind pepper. Mix it with your hands until well blended. (You can cover and refrigerate the meat mixture for up to 24 hours.)
  • 2. Preheat a broiler and adjust the rack so it is about 4 inches from the heating element.
  • 3. Form the meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place them on a rimmed baking sheet, working in batches if necessary. Broil the meatballs until they’re no longer pink inside, about 8 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice so the meatballs cook evenly. Transfer the meatballs to paper towels to drain.
  • Make the yogurt sauce
  • 4. Blend the yogurt, mint, and cilantro in a food processor or a blender. (You can cover and refrigerate the yogurt sauce for up to 24 hours.)
  • To serve
  • 5. Skewer the meatballs with toothpicks and serve them immediately on a platter with the yogurt sauce in a small bowl alongside. Don’t forget to set out small dishes or glasses for depositing used toothpicks.

Recipe Testers Reviews

Quick and simple to make, these meatballs are full of flavor. The accompanying sauce, cool and fresh-tasting, makes a great counterpart to the savory meat. They were devoured rather greedily.


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  1. This was delicious, and the spices do give the lamb a very sausage-y taste. I’d consider adding a little bit of heat the next time — perhaps a hotter paprika or aleppo pepper. Additionally, I really made them 1 inch in size, and found the meatballs best when cooked just under 8 minutes. They tended to dry out slightly otherwise.

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