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Sheet Pan Harissa Meatballs and Cabbage

Smoky, warm, fragrant Middle Eastern spices imbue this simple sheet-pan cabbage-and-meatball dinner with big, bold flavors.

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Sheet Pan Harissa Meatballs with Cabbage

Simple and Different—Our Favorite Combo

We love to experiment with new flavors and ingredients, and love that doing so doesn’t have to be a whole thing. Meatballs are something that we return to again and again as a canvas for flavor experiments. Many cuisines around the globe have some sort of meatball in their recipe catalogue—from Swedish meatballs to kofta to classic Italian beef meatballs—so it’s not as strange as it may sound to play around with different meatball seasonings. Today’s inspiration is harissa, a North African chili paste that’s full of warm, smoky spices and has become incredibly easy to find here in the U.S. Don’t you just love it when you try something new and just like that it becomes a new pantry staple? That’s how it was for us and harissa.

Ingredients laid out for harissa meatballs with cabbage bread crumbs, eggs, olive oil parsley

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So, What Is Harissa?

Short answer? Harissa is kind of like spicy ketchup. Longer answer? Harissa is a common condiment used in Tunisia, Morocco and all throughout North Africa that is becoming more and more common here in the U.S., too—yay! It’s often sold in tubes (just like tomato paste or anchovy paste) but you can also find jarred versions. Or, if you’re feeling super ambitious, you could make your own. Recipes vary brand to brand, but harissa is always made of dried chiles that are rehydrated and then mixed together with spices like cumin, coriander, caraway and garlic. It’s spicy, but not insanely hot—mostly, it’s just wonderfully, deeply flavorful. A little jar of harissa delivers a ton of deliciousness for a modest price. Like we said, it has definitely earned a spot as a new staple in our pantries.

ingredient s for harissa meatballs in a bowl, ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs and parsley
ingredient s for harissa meatballs mixed up in a bowl, ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs and parsley
harissa meatballs on a baking sheet
raw meatballs on a baking sheet with cabbage wedges

Sheet-Pan Dinner + Meatballs for Dinner = Quite Possibly the Most TMP Recipe Ever.

Goodness knows we love a sheet pan dinner. And everyone knows about our meatball fan club membership. So really, it was only a matter of time before we put the two together. And oh boy, are they ever a winning combination. This easy sheet pan recipe is low-carb (basically no-carb, actually), satisfying, cheap and FAST. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Ground beef
  • Herbs and spices: cumin, smoked paprika, parsley and garlic.
  • Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Cabbage
  • Olive oil
  • Harissa
  • Lemon
  • Fresh mint
Harissa meatballs on a sheet pan with cabbage

How to Make Sheet Pan Meatballs With Cabbage

We echo the smoky, cumin-tinged kick of harissa in the meatball mixture, but only use harissa paste in the delicate, 3-ingredient sauce that finishes this easy sheet-pan dinner recipe. 1 sheet pan, 15 minutes of prep time, 30 minutes in the oven and dinner is DONE. Here’s how to make this healthy, low-carb, meatball sheet pan recipe:

  1. Mix the meatballs. Remember to mix with your hands, and try to have a light touch.
  2. Roll the meatballs. Wetting your hands before you roll the harissa-spiced meatballs makes this easier.
  3. Bake the meatballs! Nestle the quartered cabbage onto the sheet pan amidst the meatballs, and bake the whole lovely dinner for about 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the cabbage is nicely roasted.
  4. Make the harissa sauce! Or is it a harissa dressing? Either way, it’s delicious. Just a little harissa, fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
  5. Drizzle the harissa sauce!
  6. Gobble it all up! Feel virtuous AND delightfully full, at the very same time!
Sheet pan Meatballs with Cabbage and Harissa

Tools You’ll Need:

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Put that sheet pan to work!

Sheet pan Meatballs with Cabbage and Harissa on a plate with yogurt

Sheet Pans—Not Just For Cookies Anymore.

Remember when all you used your sheet pan for was baking chocolate chip cookies? Yeah, neither do we. If you try these harissa meatballs with cabbage, we want to hear about it! Snap a photo, and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Sheet Pan Harissa Meatballs and Cabbage

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  25 min
  • Cook Time:  35 min
  • Calories: 389

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 small head green cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup harissa
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, leaves
  • Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the center position.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, cumin, parsley, garlic, paprika and 1½ teaspoons of the salt. Mix well, then with wet hands, form golf ball–size balls (about 2 tablespoons each) and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. You should have about 30 meatballs.

  3. Arrange the cabbage wedges on the sheet pan in between the meatballs and brush both meatballs and cabbage with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle the cabbage with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the harissa, remaining 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and the lemon juice.

  5. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and brush the meatballs with harissa sauce. Place the sheet pan back in the oven and cook until the cabbage is tender and the meatballs reach 165°F on a meat thermometer, about 5 minutes.

  6. Sprinkle with fresh mint and serve with yogurt, if using.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories389
  • Protein28 g
  • Carbohydrates14 g
  • Total Fat26 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol117 mg
  • sodium568 mg
  • Total Sugars4 g

Sheet Pan Harissa Meatballs and Cabbage

Questions & Reviews

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  • ApP

    Can you use ground turkey or ground chicken instead?

    Yes, that would work fine, hope you enjoy!

  • Tom

    What can you substitute for harissa if you can't find it!

    You can make Harissa! Check out our Easy Harissa Chicken recipe, instructions for making it are there. Hope you enjoy!

  • Wendy S. Norkett

    what is harissa?

    Harissa is a red chili paste with a spicy, smoky, peppery flavor profile.

  • A Heinz

    This was really easy and good! My teenagers ate it! Yes, you do have to backtrack a recipe to make the harissa, but I had everything (except caraway seed - and I used fennel as a substitute), it didn't take long to put together and it was really tasty.

    Thanks, so happy you loved it!

  • Jenn

    I really enjoyed this, I will be making it again!

    Thank you Jenn!