Spicy Harissa Meatballs With Cucumber Salad

Time35 minutes
YieldsServes 4
Spicy harissa paste adds heat to these meatballs served with cold cucumbers and yogurt.
(Danielle Campbell / For The Times)
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Harissa, the spicy chile paste from Morocco, flavors these tender meatballs, along with fresh mint and warm cumin. A bright cucumber salad adds freshness and crunch to the meatballs; serve them on yogurt and warm pita bread. Feel free to use flour tortillas, toast or any flatbread you like as a substitute for the pita.


Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.


In a large bowl, add the beef, 3 tablespoons yogurt, the harissa, mint, cumin, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix with your hands until evenly combined. Pinch off golf ball-size bits of the meat mixture and roll into 1 1/2-inch-diameter meatballs (you should get 20 to 22), moving each to the prepared baking sheet as you work. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until browned on top and cooked though, 8 to 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, make the cucumber salad: In a medium bowl, add the cucumbers, red onion and lemon zest and juice, then drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Divide the pita among serving plates and spoon 1/4 cup of the remaining yogurt onto each. Top each with meatballs and the cucumber salad and garnish with more mint leaves. Serve with extra harissa on the side to swipe through and mix with the yogurt, if you like.