Lamb Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

Lamb meatballs with yogurt sauce are richly spiced–but not spicy–and they make a terrific appetizer or even as part of your main meal. Served with a cool yogurt dip, they’re easy to make and even easier to pop in your mouth.

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

Your ground lamb or beef 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


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. Maghrebi (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia) cuisine is famous for their merguez sausage–a deep red, spicy, fresh mutton, lamb, or beef sausage. This recipe borrows the flavors common to that dish, like cumin, garlic, paprika, and coriander. You can also serve harissa on the side to really highlight the Maghrebi culinary traditions.

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

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.)

Serving: 1meatballCalories: 76kcal (4%)Carbohydrates: 1gProtein: 5g (10%)Fat: 6g (9%)Saturated Fat: 2g (13%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 17mg (6%)Sodium: 103mg (4%)Potassium: 68mg (2%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 101IU (2%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 24mg (2%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Originally published January 21, 2004

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