The tastiest plate of harissa baked chicken meatballs with pearl couscous, a creamy harissa yogurt sauce, and lots of herbs. This is such a fun dinner recipe to change up your weeknight routines! It makes for great leftovers, too, and is full of healthy & nourishing ingredients. Plus…I’d say it’s one of the most deliciously unique recipes to come out of my kitchen this year!
harissa baked chicken meatballs – the details
I’m so excited to bring these flavorful harissa baked chicken meatballs into your kitchens! This recipe turned out to be one of my favorites of the new year so far – healthy, satisfying, and something unique. Definitely a nice change up from a regular weeknight chicken dinner.
And of course the star is the chicken meatballs! The key is to use ground chicken thigh versus chicken breast to achieve really juicy chicken meatballs. They’re flavored with shallots, garlic, dried apricots for a little chewy bite of sweetness (the special touch), fresh parsley & dill for lots of bright herby flavor, and ground harissa – a smoky, slightly spicy, earthy blend of dried chiles and spices. You can find it at most any grocery store in the spice section.
The meatballs get mixed, formed, and then lined up on a baking sheet to bake until golden brown. I usually pan-fry my meatballs in a skillet before baking, but with the oven temperature set at 450F, they get that nice brown crust without all the hassle on the stove.
You can also find harissa in sauce form – it’s bright red and vibrant, with a bold, slightly spicy flavor. You’ll mix this with yogurt and lemon for a quick, creamy sauce to tie everything together. Serving some pearl couscous on the side that’s tossed with a little olive oil and more herbs. Top it all off with some toasted pecans, a drizzle of olive oil, and an extra spoonful or two of the harissa sauce.
It is SO very good. I’d serve it with some roasted carrots alongside to complete the meal. Enjoy!Print
Harissa Baked Chicken Meatballs with Couscous & Yogurt
harissa baked chicken meatballs with dried apricots and herbs, served with pearl couscous and a harissa yogurt sauce
- 2 oz fresh whole grain bread, diced
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup diced dried turkish apricots
- 1 ½ lbs ground chicken thigh
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 2 tsp ground harissa
- ½ tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 ½ cups pearl couscous (i used turmeric flavored)
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- ½ cup harissa sauce
- 1 lemon, zested + juiced
- ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Prepare a sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper.
- Place the diced bread in a large mixing bowl and pour the warm water over top. Let soak for at least 5 minutes. Heat a 2 qt saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the minced shallots and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes until softened. Stir in the dried apricots and turn off the heat.
- Add the ground chicken, soaked bread, 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1 tablespoon of dill, harissa, salt, and shallot mixture to the bowl. Mix until incorporated. Chill for 20 minutes. Form the mixture into approximately 15 (2 oz) meatballs, packing them tightly. Place them onto the prepared sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
- Meanwhile, wipe out the saucepan and add 2 ¼ cups of water plus a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Stir in the pearl couscous. Lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 8 minutes until tender. Stir in a drizzle of olive oil, plus the remaining parsley and dill.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, harissa sauce, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.
- Plate the chicken meatballs with the couscous and yogurt sauce alongside. Top with the pecans, any extra herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and extra harissa sauce if desired.
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5 thoughts on “Harissa Baked Chicken Meatballs with Couscous & Yogurt”
Can I use gluten free crumbs instead of wholemeal bread?
You should be able to use whatever type of breadcrumbs you normally use to make homemade meatballs.
Sorry I am lost with what happens to the diced bread mixture?
The recipe doesn’t say, but I believe that the breadcrumbs would be added to the meatball mixture right after the shallot mixture. Then mix until incorporated, chill, and form into meatballs. Most meatball recipes call for some form of breadcrumb to absorb the liquid and allow you to form them.
These may have been the best meatballs I’ve ever eaten. I did not have any ground harissa so I substituted a berbere blend and dried dill and parlsey instead of fresh herbs.