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Meatball Shakshuka

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Calories: 315
spiced meatballs in a shakshuka in a ban with feta and pita bread

Ground beef is mixed with the same herbs and spices used in the classic North African shakshuka and then simmered in a smoky, tomato-y shakshuka sauce for a one-pan dinner that everyone will love.

Shakshuka! As Fun to Say as It Is to Eat.

Whether you’re already in love with shakshuka or still part of the uninitiated, we promise you’re going to love this meatball shakshuka as much or more than the egg-y original. Shakshuka is kind of the OG one-pan meal, and you know we’re into that (and we know you are, too). Shakshuka meatballs might sound like a big departure from the original recipe, but it makes a lot of sense if you stop to think about it. Shakshuka is a dish of eggs simmered in tomato sauce—albeit one flavored with Middle Eastern spices—and traditional Italian meatballs are simmered in a simple tomato sauce. All we did was put two and two together! Boom—smoky, spicy, shakshuka meatballs!

ingredients laid out for meatball shakshuka ground beef, eggs, bell peppers, olive oil
ingredients laid out for meatball shakshuka ground beef, eggs, bell peppers, olive oil in a bowl
raw onions green and red bell peppers in a sauce pan
onions, green and red bell peppers sautéd in a pan with spices

Meatball Shakshuka: Simple Ingredients = Extreme Deliciousness

This easy meatball recipe is all about taking familiar techniques and basic ingredients and creating a wildly delicious, one-pan, weeknight dinner that’s so good it’ll make you re-think your whole entire life. Or, will at least just make everyone around your table really happy. We bet you’ve got most of these spices and veggies on-hand already. AND, because the flavors used in the meatball sauce (the shakshuka sauce) are the same as the ones in the meatballs, there’s a lot of overlap between the meatball ingredients and the simmer sauce ingredients. In addition to the basics (olive oil, salt) here’s what you’ll need to make this easy meatball recipe:

  • Red bell peppers
  • Onion
  • Cumin
  • Smoked paprika
  • Canned whole tomatoes
  • Ground beef
  • Garlic
  • Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
Hand crushing canned tomatoes into a pan with onions, bell peppers and spices for shakshuka
tomatoes onions bell peppers in a pan for shakshuka
ground beef mixture for meatballs with shakshuka
meatballs on a baking tray

How to Make Meatballs

Are we the most meatball-obsessed people on the internet? It’s hard to say. Possibly. But, lucky for you because we’ve got this meatball-making stuff down to a science. Here are our very best tips for making the best meatballs EVER:

  1. Start with high-quality ground beef. This might seem like an obvious one, but it really does matter. We like to use a classic “80/20” ground beef, which means 80 percent lean beef to 20 percent beef fat. Having some fat in the mix ensures that your meatballs stay nice and moist.
  2. When it’s time to mix seasonings into your meatballs—in this case, smoked paprika, cumin, and lots of garlic—mix the ground beef with a light hand. Gently fold in the beaten eggs and breadcrumbs with your hands until the mixture is just combined. This helps the meatballs stay fluffy and moist instead of dense or rubbery.
  3. Keep a small bowl of water nearby when it’s time to roll the meatballs, and lightly wet your hands as you roll. This will keep the meatball mixture from sticking to your hands and make the whole process faster and tidier.
  4. Roll them evenly to ensure even cooking. This is related to our last tip, which is....
  5. Don’t overcook the meatballs! One of the wonderful things about cooking the meatballs in liquid—in this case, simmering them in a smoky shakshuka sauce—is that it’s harder to overcook them. But still, keep an eye out for doneness. After 20 minutes of simmering, pull out a meatball and check for doneness by simply cutting it in half.
baked meatballs in a tomato sauce with spices in a braiser pan
meatball shakshuka in a saute pan with feta and parsley

Tools You’ll Need:

Meatballs Rule Everything Around Me

We really do live the M.R.E.A.M. life here at TMP. And nobody’s mad about it. Here are 5 easy meatball recipes that fuel our obsession:

Meatball shakshukah with feta and parsley in a pan with pita bread

Shakshuka for Dinner!

So, did you try it? Did you love it? Let us know! Snap a photo of your shakshuka meatballs and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

meatball shakshuka in a large skillet topped with fresh parsley and crumbled feta

Meatball Shakshuka

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Calories: 315

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers, we used red and green
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 28 oz can whole stewed tomatoes
  • feta for serving

meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef (80/20)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup bread crumbs

Method

  1. In a large lidded saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add in peppers and onions, stirring often until onions are almost caramelized. About 10 minutes. Add in cumin, smoked paprika and salt and stir until fragrant.
  3. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes one at a time and add to the pepper and onion mixture followed by the remaining liquid from the pan. Bring mixture to a simmer and allow to cook until thickening begins. (about 15 minutes) Adjust seasoning as needed.
  4. While the sauce is thickening combine the ground beef along with all of the meatball ingredients and stir using your hands being careful not to over mix.
  5. Using your hands shape meatballs roughly the size of golfballs.
  6. Carefully arrange meatballs into the sauce and bring back to a simmer. Cover pan and continue cooking on low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 10 minutes. The meatballs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165° F on an instant-read thermometer
  7. Top meatballs with fresh feta and cilantro. Serve with toasted bread or pita bread.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 315
  • Protein 22 g
  • Carbohydrates 24 g
  • Total Fat 16 g
  • Dietary Fiber 3 g
  • Cholesterol 109 mg
  • sodium 768 mg
  • Total Sugars 7 g

Meatball Shakshuka

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Matt

    Does the type of bread crumbs matter?

    Just plain breadcrumbs Matt. Hope you enjoy!

  • Robynne Alexandra Rosser Leipo

    What is a good side dish for this dinner?

    We recommend serving it with toasted bread or pita!

  • Kristy Esterhay Arango

    Could you use ground turkey or chicken?

    Yes! It wouldn't be quite as rich, but would probably still be delicious—especially with dark meat. Let us know how it turns out!

  • David

    First, let me say wonderful dish. Best meatballs ever, so much flavor in each bite.Any recommendations on increasing the amount of dippable sauce? Is it as simple as adding maybe another can of whole tomatoes (or maybe even a 14-ounce can)? Made this last night for the family and they loved it, but they wanted more broth to soak up the bread. (My small one's pretty picky and wouldn't eat the delicious veggie mix, opting instead for only the meatballs and sauce.)

    Hi David,Thanks for this comment. Next time I make these I will fiddle around with increasing the amount of sauce. For now I would say that you could add a 14 oz can of tomatoes!

  • Bridget Welker

    Made this tonight for the family and it was a big hit. Next time I have to remember the bread as that would have been perfect. I loved the feta cheese with it. Will definitely make again.

    Thanks Bridget! So happy the whole family loved it!

  • Joe

    I never leave recipe reviews however this one knocked me and my wife's socks off! I'm not too keen on making meatballs but the detailed directions made me feel confident enough to try. Only thing we did different was seared the meatballs a bit and everything was PERFECT. So simple yet bursting with a yummyness I think most palettes aren't used to tasting (don't let that scare you off!). Can't wait to make it again. I had never heard of shakshuka the day before yesterday, stumbled on the recipe yesterday, and now it will be a staple in our home.

    Thank you so much Joe! We are so happy that you and your wife loved this so much and that it's become a staple! We love to hear stories of people trying something new and keeping it around forever!

  • Kathy

    Great flavors. I didn't change a thing. Used a combo of yellow, red and green peppers. Maybe used a bit more garlic in the meatballs because we love it.
    Such a nice change in flavors from the usual Italian and Southwest Tex Mex.

    Thanks Kathy, we are so happy you enjoyed it!

  • Heather C

    Loved this recipe! Always looking for ANYTHING new for my teenaged boys and husband that they will actually eat. Since they are squeamish about eating their vegetables I threw the vegetable tomato sauté in the blender and pulverized it before adding the meatballs. The boys didn't even realize how healthy it was for them and they loved the flavor. I'm so glad I took a chance and doubled the recipe because now I have some to share or freeze for later. Thank you for sharing!

    Thank you Heather, we are so glad the whole family loved it and that you snuck some veggies into them! We won't tell!

  • Emily

    This recipe was fantastic! I have been wanting to try shakshuka for a while now, but hesitant to dive in. Meatballs instead of eggs was the game changer. I knew I could get my husband interested by the mere mention of meatballs! The layered scents of spice and sauce and herbs as I cooked it had me dying for the last timer to go off. The flavors didn’t disappoint! I am so excited to add this to my regular rotation.

    Thank you Emily! So happy you loved it so much and that you got your husband on board!