Spicy meatballs are boldly flavored with garlic, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. The sauce is awesome, so serve these meatballs over rice or cauliflower rice.
These delicious, middle-eastern-style spicy meatballs are boldly flavored with garlic, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. The meatballs and the sauce are very flavorful!
Meatballs are awesome!
I make lots of meatballs. I find them delightful! Little morsels of meaty goodness that the kids love and the adults don’t object to. Plus, ground beef is very affordable. Even grass-fed ground beef.
As a result, I have lots of meatball recipes on this blog (these cheese-stuffed meatballs, for example, are awesome). But this recipe is definitely one of the best.
The ingredients you’ll need
The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need when making these spicy meatballs:
- For the tomato sauce:
- Olive oil
- Minced garlic
- Kosher salt
- Spices: paprika, cumin, and cayenne
- Pomi chopped tomatoes
- For the meatballs:
- Lean ground beef
- Kosher salt
- Spices: onion powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne
What brand of tomatoes to use
Note that I recommend using Pomi tomatoes in this recipe. This Italian brand is sweeter and tastier than local U.S. brands. You can find it on Amazon, at Whole Foods and in a growing number of supermarkets.
However, if you can’t get Pomi tomatoes, you can use diced tomatoes instead. Petite diced tomatoes are best, or use regular diced tomatoes and give them an extra chop.
Lean ground beef is best in these spicy meatballs
In terms of the ground beef I use, I like to use lean ground beef (85/15) in this recipe. You could probably use extra lean, but I don’t think it will be as flavorful.
And although I haven’t tried it, I’m pretty sure that ground lamb would work with this recipe too.
No need for breadcrumbs!
I don’t add an egg or breadcrumbs to the meatballs. I find it’s unnecessary. The meatballs come out perfectly tasty and juicy with no egg and with no breadcrumbs. And without refined-flour breadcrumbs, they are also healthier.
How to make spicy meatballs
It’s so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
- Start by preparing the tomato sauce: Cook the garlic and spices in olive oil, add the tomatoes, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, mix the meat and spices, and form into 24 meatballs.
- Add the meatballs to the sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
How to serve these spicy meatballs?
The sauce is amazing. In days past I would have served this saucy dish over brown rice. These days I serve them over cauliflower rice, and it’s just as good!
What about leftovers?
If you have any leftovers, they keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for about 3 days. Reheat them gently, covered (to prevent splashes), in the microwave on 50% power.
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- 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Prepare the tomato sauce: In a wide, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 10 minutes, while you’re preparing the meatballs.
- Prepare the meatballs: In a medium bowl, use your hands to mix the meat and the spices. Divide into 24 equal portions (each weighs about 20 grams) and shape into small, 1-inch meatballs.
- Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then lower heat back to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.