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Recipe for Moroccan turkey meatballs


I have a theory about turkey meatballs: you can mix anything from your pantry with ground turkey, and create great meatballs. Okay, maybe not anything, but except for Nutella, I can't think of a pantry staple that wouldn't work. Our latest incarnation, Moroccan turkey meatballs, features ground-chickpea falafel mix in place of breadcrumbs. The warm spices of ras el hanout -- cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric -- give these meatballs the sultry flavor of North Africa, and the dark appearance of... rocks! Oh, well. Forgive the strangely yellowish-brown color, and serve these meatballs in a salad, in a pita stuffed with hummus, or with roasted vegetables and couscous.


Moroccan turkey meatballs

From the pantry, you'll need: falafel mix or dry bread crumbs, Greek yogurt, eggs, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, ground nutmeg, cardamom, ground cloves, olive oil.

Makes 12 large meatballs.


For the ras el hanout:
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp turmeric
1-1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 tsp ground cloves

For the meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey (I use 93% fat-free)
1/2 cup falafel mix or dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use 0% fat)
1 large egg
3 Tbsp ras el hanout (above)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat (silicone liner) or parchment paper, and set aside.

Mix the ras el hanout ingredients in a small bowl, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, falafel mix or bread crumbs, yogurt, egg, 3 tablespoons of the ras el hanout (you'll have a bit left over), salt, pepper, olive oil and parsley. With your clean hands, bring all of the ingredients together until well-combined, but do not overmix.

To taste for seasoning, heat 1/2 teaspoon of oil in a small frying pan. Take a spoonful of the turkey mix, and fry it in the hot oil. Taste, and adjust as needed with salt and pepper.

Wet your hands with water, and form the turkey mixture into 12 large meatballs. (I use an ice cream scoop with a release -- called a disher -- to make meatballs that are all the same size.) Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the meatballs are browned a bit on the outside.

Serve warm or cold, over couscous, as part of a salad or stuffed into a pita bread.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Curried turkey meatballs
Turkey, cranberry and basil meatballs
Turkey meatballs with pasta, spinach and tahini dressing
Greektown turkey meatballs
Chipotle turkey meatballs
Green chile turkey meatballs

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Ras el hanout rubbed beef back ribs, from The Food in my Beard
Moroccan chickpea barley salad, from Simply Recipes
Ras el hanout roasted pumpkin seeds, from Opera Girl Cooks
Saffron roasted cauliflower, from Chocolate & Zucchini
Moroccan grilled shrimp and vegetable skewers, from Steamy Kitchen

Want more meatball recipes? Get Meatballs, my e-book packed with amazing, crowd-pleasing, family-friendly low-fat turkey meatball recipes with bold around-the-world flavors, plus full-color photos and a few fun videos. With the FREE Kindle Reading App, great meatballs will always be just one click away on any computer, tablet or smart phone. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I love the sound of these, and I have some Ras-el-Hanout in the spices Effie sent me that I've been wanting to experiment with!

Nothing wrong with yellow! All that good turmeric... I'll have to try this with Gimme Lean! Sounds delicious.

I have been on a huge meatball love affair recently. These sound amazing ... I love the flavor combination. They would be great served with some warm pitas and hummus. Now I am hungry.

These meatballs look incredible, Lydia! I seriously can't wait to make them. I'll be using some gluten-free waffles turned into bread crumbs or just almond flour for mine. I think you are right with your theory, too. ;-)


I haven't used ground turkey in awhile. What a great use that is NOT the same old boring meatball. I love all the flavors you used! Thanks for not trying it with nutella :)

I think they are beautiful! I am not a fan of ground turkey - but I think I would love these!

Kalyn, you can certainly use that wonderful ras-el hanout in place of the spice mix in these meatballs. How nice to have some sent by a friend!

Susan, let me know how that works out.

Chez Us, I'm also on a meatball kick (turkey meatballs, that is). I just made a new one that I'll post in a week or so, so stick around.

Shirley, I love the idea of using gluten-free waffles to make bread crumbs. If you can find a falafel mix that's pure chickpeas (and not chickpeas mixed with bread crumbs), that should be g-free, too.

France, not to worry, I have no desire to try Nutella meatballs (though I think my husband loves Nutella enough to actually eat them if I make them)!

Lea, when they first came out of the oven, these meatballs reminded me of truffles, the kind pigs sniff out of the ground. The color was unusual, but the taste was lovely.

I bet we could work some Nutella into a mole-sauce to put ON turkey meatballs.... no?

EB, I like the way you think.

I admit it...I only eat meatballs one way. I love how you get me to think about my comfort foods in a new way. I have to try this and shake up my life a bit.

Great idea! I haven't thought much about turkey meatballs recently, but this is a great new take on a standard!

I might even be able to get turkey past my husband with this recipe! As a Boston-Irish guy he is pretty set in his ways!

We eat a lot of ground turkey cooked in various ways. This recipe sounds like a really worthwhile change-up on the meatball theme.

Wow these certainly have a lot of flavour. Trying to plough through a giant bag of turmeric I bought so I'm stoked to have found this recipe.

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