Kefta (Moroccan Meatballs)

Kefta (Moroccan Meatballs)

Holy cow, you guys.

These little balls of meat are incredible. The husband and I actually fought over who got to take the leftovers to work the next day for lunch.


I just can’t seem to get enough Moroccan food lately, so I decided to use up some of the (32 lbs. of ) ground beef in our freezer to put together an easy and flavorful dinner. You could also use lamb in this recipe if you’re in to that sort of thing.

Basically, you just make some meatballs and then cook them in a fragrant sauce of onions, butter, lemon, and turmeric. These meatballs just melt in your mouth and explode with texture and spices.

One of the hardest things about blogging about recipes (in my opinion) is developing a delicious recipe and then realizing it will probably be months before you get to make it again because you are too  busy coming up with new recipes all the time. The only list I have that is longer than the “future recipes” list is the “make again recipes” list. So by my calculations I’ll be able to make these meatballs again some time in November. Sigh. Some days I wish there were just more opportunities to eat dinner throughout the day. Somewhere around six or seven would work for me.


I actually made the meatballs and browned them the night before I made this dish so I could save time on the night-of by just simmering them in the delicious sauce until they were finished cooking. But if you have all the time in the world, go ahead and make the whole thing at once.

Makes: 4 Servings


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 small onion, very finely minced (I threw mine in the food processor)
  • 2 dried chili arbols, stemmed, seeded, chopped (I buy these in large bags on the Hispanic foods aisle and keep them in a mason jar)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Moroccan spices (or 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground cumin, and 1/8 tsp. cayenne)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  •  1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro (a.k.a. fresh coriander)
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • Black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, add the ground beef, Moroccan spices, finely minced onion, minced garlic, ground ginger, zest of one lemon, salt, parsley, and a generous pinch of black pepper. Mix to combine. Go ahead, use your hands.
  2. Form the mixture into meatballs. I made mine about the size of a ping-pong ball.
  3. Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, dried chilies, minced fresh ginger, and ground turmeric. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have browned (about 3-4 minutes).
  4. Add the cilantro, lemon juice, and water, stirring to combine. Bring the sauce to a  boil.
  5. Add in your meatballs, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Let cook for 20 minutes, turning the meatballs once or twice to ensure even cooking.
  6. Remove the lid and continue cooking for another ten minutes or so until the sauce is thick. Check your meatballs to make sure they are cooked through, and taste your sauce to check seasonings. Add more salt if necessary.
  7. Serve with rice, salad, or couscous.


Nutrition (per  serving):

238 calories, 12 g. fat, 25 g. protein, 8 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 6

What are your favorite ground beef recipes? Do you have much success making meatballs with ground turkey?


8 responses »

    • I love working with spices – so much flavor for so few calories! One of the most common things I hear from people about using spices is that they are too expensive – I always buy mine in the bulk section at the grocery store and put them in my own little jars. It is so much less expensive than purchasing the bottles on the spice aisle!

      • I definitely agree with you… I buy in bulk from the grocer also, then refill my smaller containers for ease of use 🙂 I’d probably give up cooking if it wasn’t for herbs and spices. I love them!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s