Moroccan meatballs for a chilly winter’s day

I’ve discovered a healthy fast food restaurant, Leon, which was under my nose the whole time. I’m now addicted to their meatball lunchbox which consists of meatballs, a tomato sauce, brown rice, a few seeds and some aioli. It’s pure comfort food. When I can, I go to Leon in Spitalfields Market, London. Further down in this post is a great recipe for Moroccan meatballs.


500g lamb mince

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 bunch chopped parsley

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp ground cumin

Salt and pepper


1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

400g tinned tomatoes

Chopped parsley, mixed seeds and aioli to serve

Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl and use your hands to mix well. Roll golf size meatballs. Heat some all in a saucepan big enough to fit them all. Brown off the meatballs and set aside.

Mop up any excess fat in the pan and add the onion and garlic. After a couple of minutes add the spices and stir well before adding the tinned tomato’s. Also fill half the tin of tomato’s with water and add this as well. Stir to combine and put the meatballs back in the saucepan with the sauce. Allow to simmer gently for 25 minutes covered.

Top with chopped parsley and serve in the saucepan at the table with some brown rice, a couple of tablespoons of aioli and a few sprinkled seeds.

Serves 4

If you haven’t been to Spitalfields, it’s a great place to spend a day.  There is every sort of food you could imagine, a great market and lots of little boutique shops with one of my favourites being Bohemia, a vintage furniture shop.  Also check out the Spitalfields Rabbits and the Spitalfields Goat.

  1. I’m Moroccan and just wanted to say the recipe looks authentic (except we’d add some olive oil). From the picture it looks like you also cracked a few eggs into the meatballs, also very traditional.

  2. Amy said:

    I love Leon! There’s actually quite a few Leon restaurants around London, including the (I think) original on Carnaby Street 🙂 Just thought you might want to know for when you’re out and about!

    Do you have the Leon cookbook? It’s gorgeous!

    • Thanks for the tip about the Leon cookbook. I’ll definitely be getting it as I love their food.

  3. Looks way too good. To bad I’m in the US and not in the UK where this place is located. I’d love to try it out!

  4. Denis Pombriant said:

    Good recipe. Add a half teaspoon of cinnamon to the sauce. Also what’s the white stuff on the sauce in the picture?

    • In the recipe I use aioli but traditionally a couple of eggs are thrown in. I would have added the eggs to the recipe but I was trying to recreate the meatball meal I usually have in Leon. Cinnamon sounds like a good tip. I always add it to spag bol.

  5. Moroccan Meatballs are delicious! I ate lots of ’em this summer when I was in … well … Morocco! I had spicy ones, but your version looks real good too!

  6. smalltowngirl said:

    This post has made me really fancy some now! May have to pinch the recipe!

  7. The London restaurant photo and Moroccan meatballs recipe make the world a very small place. I write about scientific tested health values of ingredients and your meatballs have cilantro which I still have to write about cilantro but is an ancient ‘must include’ spice plant in many Indian recipes. Do visit my site and leave a link to your recipe for my readers.

    • It’s always a bonus when something so delicious is also good for you. I’ll mosey over to your site.

  8. elizabethsalaam said:

    Meatballs and giant rabbits. Fun post! I’m going to try the recipe. Fingers crossed.

    • The giant rabbits are great. Not sure why the goat is so high up (about 15 foot the in air) but I love that he’s there. Let me know what you think of the recipe.

  9. Christopher said:

    I agree with the first commentator, most Moroccans would add a bit of olive oil and definitely a couple eggs (I live in Morocco with a Moroccan roommate, and that’s how I’ve always seen him and his family making this dish). It’s a nice dish to munch on when you have a light hunger – simple and pleasing.

    In reality you can make anything “Moroccan” though by adding cumin, paprika, and parsley. Not terribly original nor exceptionally tasty (in my personal opinion there are definitely better cuisines out there), but it isn’t bad either.

    Nice post, worth a try for those interested.

    • Thanks for your comments, really interesting to read and I think it’s worth everyone trying the recipe with a bit of olive oil and the eggs.

  10. Looks yummy! I know the lamb is primarily what makes the dish Moroccan, but do you think one could substitute ground beef or turkey? Just can’t quite wrap my head around the lamb — and yes, I realize I’m a hypocrite since I’ll eat the cow or the turkey…


  11. 4myskin said:

    That is a random goat statue. lol! I’m sure there’s a reason for it. 🙂 The meatballs sound delicious too! Thanks for the post.

  12. Olive oil and eggs are surely a part of Moroccan cuisine! That and delicious fresh bread that can be bought on nearly every corner, mmmm fresh Moroccan bread!
    Thanks for the post, though I never ate the meatball dish with rice, (mostly scooped into my salivating mouth with warm bread), I do remember the blend of spices, oil and varying proteins filling my belly.
    When I land back in the great city of London, I’ll make sure to try out Leon’s. If they have a bean dish that’s refered to as Lluvia, do give it a try as well! That or their onion filled crepes, so yummy!

    • The meatball recipe would be wonderful with flat bread which is it’s normal stable mate but the brown rice works quite well. Crepes are always good!

  13. lizibit said:

    I’m loving every bit of this recipe and post. I’m trying to eat healthy and this will help me out a lot!

    • I’m trying to go down the healthy route as well with the odd treat : )

  14. eva626 said:

    this stuff looks great! awesome pictures!!!!

  15. Y’know… i have walked be a Leon countless times… and never ventured in… I even used to work on Regent Street and there was one directly opposite my office! Those meatballs look seriously delish…

  16. Yummy! I’m going to give these meatballs a try tomorrow. Thanks. Congrats on being freshly pressed. Love your blog name.

  17. This looks so tasty, can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the pictures of the bunnies. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  18. Great pictures, I’ll have to give the meatballs a try.

  19. Sounds wonderful and I want to make it, but how much meat in pounds? And how many ounces of tomatoes? Sorry, I’m in the U.S. And what aioli recipe do you use? Lovely pictures!

  20. gabriellemarielopez said:

    These semm delicious. I make Mexican albondigas soup which is probably a close relative of these meatballs. I will need to give this recipe a go. xo

  21. Liv said:

    Ayeayeaye! Those looks delicious…. bookmarking the recipe! Love your photos as well.

    • Thanks so much! I look forward to posting more recipes as I’ve only just started this blog.

  22. TweeCo said:

    thanks for the recipe, I replaced the lamb to minced beef, still yummy
    but i do think that lamb will be taste richer in this dish

    Thanks for sharing… also, nice picture, cozy place.

  23. Lauren Y said:

    These look so good. I’ll have to try them sometime. Thanks for sharing.


  24. Gaby B. said:

    That sounds delicious! And your pictures are beautiful!

  25. Thursdays With Wanda said:

    yum, that combination of parsley, cumin, and paprika would be wonderful as a vegan meatball!

  26. jeannie said:

    I love Moroccan food and the pictures of the meatballs look absolutely delicious! Will have to make my own!

  27. Now I know what we’re having for dinner tomorrow night. Thank you so much! The pictures are killing me, I’ve been on a three day fast. I know! Why did I even click on your blog? I’m a glutton for punishment I guess.

  28. Oh and I LOOOOVE that I found finally a site not being American…nothing against Americans and the Americas…but: the pound/cup/oz part in cooking recipes is very hard for a metric European girl… So: thanks for sharing some metric information! 🙂

  29. C said:

    I love Leon – yummy yummy food, and really reasonably priced

  30. nonserviam87 said:

    Oh wow, they look amazing! I will be trying. I have a really earthy, oily bag of grounf chillis from Turkey that would be amazing in them… To the kitchen!!

  31. Drooling – looks delish, thanks for sharing and congrats on FP:-)

    • Thanks so much! I’ve loved being on Freshly Pressed and I’m pleased about all the new subscribers!

  32. love this post! Just discovered your blog, now following 🙂

    • I absolutely loved your blog. Great blog design with lots of beautiful photos. I’m following you back.

    • Hi Elizabeth, I loved everything on your blog especially the photography and the things you’ve written about. I’ve added you to my blog roll which I am trying to keep limited with great links. I’ve also followed you on bloglovin and twitter. Keep in touch!

  33. Wow, I never heard of a healthy fast food restaurant but these Moroccan meatballs look simply delish! Great Post.

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