Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Green Goddess Dip


Inspired by merguez, a North African lamb sausage, these meatballs are loaded with cumin, garlic, and paprika for the ideal one-bite nosh. Harissa gives them a fiery heat that's tempered by the herby dip. Not a fan of lamb? Try preparing these make-ahead meatballs with ground beef or a plant-based meat alternative, such as Impossible.

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 50 mins
6 to 8


  • 3/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 3/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 medium scallions, chopped

  • 2 drained canned anchovy fillets

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • Black pepper, to taste

  • Canola oil, for greasing baking dish

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons harissa (such as Mina)

  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

  • 1 pound ground lamb

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1/3 cup minced shallot

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated

  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian hot paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel


  1. Process parsley, basil, sour cream, mayonnaise, scallions, and anchovies in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture into a medium bowl; add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with canola oil. Whisk together 1/4 cup water and harissa in a medium bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs; let stand 5 minutes. Add lamb, cilantro, shallot, egg, garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, fennel, and 2 teaspoons salt; stir well to combine. Shape mixture into 24 meatballs. Arrange meatballs in prepared baking dish so they are touching slightly.

  3. Bake in preheated oven until meatballs are browned and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of meat registers 160°F, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve with dip.

    Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Green Goddess Dip
    Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Make Ahead

Meatballs can be prepared through step 2 and frozen up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in refrigerator, and let come to room temperature before baking.

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