Moroccan Meatballs Over Couscous // The Stylist Quo

Moroccan Meatballs Over Couscous

Flavorful, tender meatballs simmered in a spiced tomato-kalamata sauce, served over bright couscous dotted with dates.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Moroccan, North African
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Author Cheryl Malik


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion , diced
  • 2 cloves garlic , chopped
  • 1 lemon , zested
  • 1/2 cup pitted and chopped briny olives
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Meatballs:
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 cup finely ground rolled oats or fine bread crumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil , for cooking
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Couscous:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried dates
  • 1 cup quick-cooking couscous
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. If baking the meatballs, preheat the oven to 350ºF. If frying, ignore this step.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine egg and tomato paste and stir until smooth. Add the cilantro, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon and mix until well blended. Stir in the ground beef and ground oats, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and combine gently after each addition. Do not overmix. Rolling with your hands, make about 32 meatballs, about 1-inch in diameter.
  3. If baking, place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake the meatballs about 15-20 minutes, or until almost browning...
  4. If frying, In a large saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat, and brown the meatballs in batches until golden on all sides. Add more oil, as needed.
  5. Now, to make the sauce! In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and olives and cook for 1 more minute. Add the white wine, deglaze the pan, and let it reduce for a 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, canned tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon, and simmer to blend flavors, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. If you baked your meatballs, once they've finished cooking, transfer them gently to the saucepan with the sauce and let simmer for 10 minutes. If you fried your meatballs, transfer them to the saucepan with the sauce and simmer for 20 minutes or until cooked through completely. Meanwhile, make your couscous!
  7. Bring the water, stock, and oil to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the dates followed by the couscous. Cover the pan tightly with a lid, remove from the heat, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Divide up your couscous into individual bowls, spoon meatballs and sauce over couscous, and garnish with fresh parsley. Nom nom!

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Melissa d'Arabian of the Food Network