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Merguez Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

A platter of lamb meatballs with yogurt sauce, tomatoes, and cucumbers in bowls on the side.
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.
Tori Ritchie

Prep 30 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 50 mins
20 meatballs
76 kcal


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

  • 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.)
  • Preheat a broiler and adjust the rack so it is about 4 inches from the heating element.
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.