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Moroccan Meatballs in a Sweet Tomato Sauce – Middle Eastern Recipe

For a change of pace tonight, let’s make some Moroccan meatballs.

Who can resist meatball recipes? Today, instead of spaghetti and meatballs, we’ll be travelling to another part of the world for a new taste sensation.

This recipe takes Italian meatballs to a whole new level, by combining Middle Eastern spices and fresh herbs with a sweet, rich tomato sauce.

Chutney adds a delicious sweetness to the tomato sauce which comes together in just minutes.

The Middle Eastern flavor is spicy and exotic. It reminds me of both daoud basha –  a traditional Levantine dish – and also Kofta meatballs.

Moroccan meatballs with couscous and pita bread on a red plate.

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Let's head to the Middle East with today's variation on meatballs in a tomato sauce. Chutney, fresh herbs and exotic spices take these Moroccan meatballs to a whole new level. Click To Tweet

What is chutney?

Chutney is a savory condiment made from fruits and vegetables that have been slow cooked and then combined with spices and vinegar. 

The condiment originated in India, but is now used in many different types of international recipes.

Chutney in a green jar with a gold spoon with mint, spices and raisins.

The herbs and spices n the condiment create a sweet and spicy flavor. When we mix chutney into the sauce, we get a sweet taste that compliments any meatball beautifully.

Variations on the sweet tomato sauce

There are all types of chutney varieties that you can purchase. I used a peach flavor, but mango, apple or any fruit flavored chutney would work well. The main flavor that you want to add to the sauce is a sweet fruitiness.

This recipe calls for ground beef, but ground pork would also be work well in it and ground lamb would give it even more of a Moroccan feel.

Making the Moroccan meatballs meal plan

Middle Eastern cuisine is characterized by bold flavor and rich tastes. Common ingredients are chickpeas, dried fruit, olives, hummus, mint, rice and parsley. Pita bread is a common accompaniment.

This recipe has a long list of ingredients but that does not mean that it is difficult to make. I’ve included ingredients for the meatballs, the sauce, and two side dishes. It is really a meal plan, not a recipe!

All those ingredients build great flavors but the actual cooking process is quite easy:

  • form and bake the meatballs
  • make an easy tomato sauce
  • cook some couscous
  • make some minty cucumber Greek yogurt
  • add some warm pita bread

And you have a complete meal in less than a hour rivals the flavor of your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant meals.

Bottles of spices with fresh herbs, parsley and chutney to flavor the Moroccan meatballs.

The meatballs are flavored with exotic spices like cumin, cinnamon, coriander and mint, and then simmered in a homemade sweet tomato sauce for an exotic-tasting dish that pairs beautifully with couscous.

I always try to keep the fat content down on my recipes, so the meat balls are baked, instead of fried, while the tomato sauce is prepared on the stovetop.

Ground beef in a bowl with fresh herbs, spices, oats and egg.

Preheat the oven and place all the Moroccan meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into balls.

Moroccan meatballs and mint on a narrow cutting board over a checked tea towel.

Place on a baking sheet lined with a baking rack over a silicone mat and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Making the sweet and savory tomato sauce for the Middle Eastern Meatballs

The sauce comes together very quickly for a delicious International recipe that treats the taste buds to some unexpected flavors. I make it at the same time that the meatballs are in the oven and the couscous is on the stove.

This way everything comes together at about the same time for serving.

Making the couscous

Boil some beef broth and add the couscous. I used a tri-color pearl couscous.

Tri-color pearl couscous spilling from a jar over a checked tea towel.

Use a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. 1 cup of dry couscous makes just over 4 cups of cooked couscous. Add 1 1/2 cup of liquid for each cup of dry couscous.

Cook gently for 10 minutes, tightly covered, toss with a fork and let it sit for 5 minutes more while the sauce finishes.

Making the sauce for the Moroccan meatballs

While the meatballs and couscous are cooking, sauté the onion in butter with the thyme and mint until the onion is lightly browned. 

Onion and butter in a Dutch oven with thyme and mint.

Stir in the rest of the tomato sauce ingredients and cook over medium low heat for about 15 minutes.

Add the cooked meatballs and cook gently for about 10 minutes.

Middle Eastern meatballs in sweet tomato sauce with couscous.

Serve over a bed of couscous and garnish with parsley. Be sure to add some pita bread to lop up the last of the sauce!

Tasting these Middle East meatballs with a sweet tomato sauce

The basic meatball takes a journey to the Middle East in this Moroccan-inspired recipe.

This recipe uses home grown herbs for a delightfully fresh taste. The meatballs are tender, juicy and succulent with a delicately spicy flavor that is so different from a normal meatball.

The star of the Moroccan meatballs recipe is the amazing tomato sauce, flavored with chutney, more herbs and Worcestershire sauce. It is rich and sweet, but not too sweet. My husband just loved it!

Moroccan meatballs in a sweet tomato sauce with pita bread and Greek yogurt

To make the meal even more Middle Eastern, Greek yogurt is flavored with some fresh mint and diced cucumber adds a nice cooling effect. With just one meal plan, you’ll be transported to another world.

Pin this recipe for Moroccan meatballs

Would you like a reminder of this recipe for my sweet tomato sauce with meatballs? Just pin this image to one of your cooking boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

Red plant with meatballs and couscous and pita bread with words Moroccan meatballs with a sweet tomato sauce.

You can also watch my recipe for making these meatballs in a sweet tomato sauce on YouTube.

Yield: 4 servings

Moroccan in Tomato Sauce

Moroccan in Tomato Sauce

These Middle Eastern meatballs take the traditional Italian favorite to a whole new level.

The sauce is sweet and savory and comes together in just minutes.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


For the meatballs

  • 1 pound of ground beef,
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt.

For the sauce

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • I can of diced tomatoes, 14 ounces
  • 1 can of tomato sauce, 14 ounces
  • 1 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons of chutney
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of evaporated skim milk

For the couscous

  • 1 cup of dry tri-color pearl couscous
  • 1 1/2 cup of beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

To garnish

  • Fresh parsley
  • Greek yogurt flavored with cucumber and fresh mint (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the meat ball ingredients together and roll into balls.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until done and set aside. (about 15-20 minutes.)
  4. While the meatballs are baking, bring the beef broth to a boil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook the couscous for about 10 minutes.
  5. Toss with a fork and stir in one tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of parsley.
  6. Set aside and rest for 5 minutes, covered, to keep it warm
  7. Meanwhile, sauté the onion in butter with the thyme and mint until the onion is lightly browned.
  8. Mix in the rest of the sauce ingredients.
  9. Stir well and cook for about 15 minutes. slowly.
  10. Add the cooked meatballs to the mixture.
  11. Heat gently for about 10 minutes.
  12. Served on a bed of cooked couscous.
  13. For even more Middle Eastern flavors, serve with some Greek yogurt flavored with diced cucumber and fresh mint.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 660Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 1530mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 9gSugar: 17gProtein: 46g

Nutritional information is approximate due to natural variation in ingredients and the cook-at-home nature of our meals.

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