Mediterranean Meatballs with Baba Ganoush and Tomato-y Harissa Sauce

I sure wish this photo looked as good as these meatballs taste! They are delicious made with ground beef or chicken, but are fabulous if it’s possible to get a hold of some lamb. While Jenn was staying with us during the COVID shutdown, she and I had a wonderful time cooking up all kinds of fun things. She came up with the idea of combining baba ganoush and harissa sauce to complement the meatballs. Truly an inspiration!

The baba ganoush is a cheat. The eggplant is roasted in the oven, not the grill, so if you are craving more of a smoky taste – add some smoked paprika.

According to you spiciness tolerance, adjust the amounts of tomato paste and harissa in the tomato-y sauce.

This would be great as part of a small plate type of spread or individual meatball appetizers besides being a really yummy main dish.

Mediterranean-ish Meatballs – Yields about 12 Meatballs


1 pound ground beef, chicken or lamb

2 good sized green onions, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely minced or put through a press

2 tablespoons green za’atar (I use Ziyad brand because I can get it at the Mediterranean grocery by my house or here on Amazon)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon cumin

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and gently mix.

Cover a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.

Shape the meat mixture into walnut sized balls.

Bake for 15 minutes. Meatballs should be lightly browned and when one is sliced in half, it should be cooked through out.

Serve with baba ganoush and tomato-y harissa sauce, recipes below.

Baba Ganoush – Makes About Two Cups


2 medium eggplants

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons tahini

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced or put through a press

If desired, something to sprinkle on top such as sumac, za’atar or parsley

Since this is baked, not grilled, add 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika if a smoky taste is desired.


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and spray with a little non-stick cooking oil or wipe the surface with a bit of olive oil.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the skin collapses inward when its pressed.

Let the eggplant cool for a few minutes, scrap out the flesh into a colander. Place the colander over a bowl. Smoosh it down and let it sit for 5 to 7 minutes. Discard the water in the bowl. Place the eggplant in a food processor. Add the lemon juice, tahini, salt and cumin.

Turn on food processor and slowly add the olive oil. Turn off processor, put the mixture in a bowl and stir in the garlic.

Garnish with smoked paprika, sumac, za’atar or parsley.

Tomato-y Harissa Sauce – Makes about 1/2 cup


2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste – adjust with regard to how spicy the harissa is, according to personal preference.

1 to 2 tablespoons harissa – according to the amount of spice desired – I love it when I can get harissa from the Middle Eastern grocery store but most of the time I use Mina brand from Whole Foods or Amazon

4 garlic cloves, finely minced or put through a press

3 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Place all ingredients in bowl and stir until well combined. Heat on stove or zap in the microwave until hot.

This is very good on roasted or grilled vegetables as well as the meatballs above.

I’d love to keep in touch – let me know if you try this!




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