Moroccan Meatball and Vegetable Ragout

5 from 3 votes
1 hour 10 minutes
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Moroccan Meatball and Vegetable Ragout is serious meatball and vegetable goodness going on all at the same time!  It’s sure to spice up any night with the tender spiced meatballs and onions, bell peppers and eggplant blanketed in a zesty tomato-based sauce.

Photo of Moroccan Meatball and Vegetable Ragout in saute pan on blue background with three small spice bowls in the background.

It’s the “Big Game” weekend.  Obviously, our Green Bay Packers tanked in the playoffs, so we’re meh on the whole thing.  Hubby and I will just relax and watch the game by ourselves.  The older you get the more you appreciate and savor quiet evenings.  We’re old fogeys and proud of it!  If you’re Super Bowlin’ it, have fun and be safe!

There’s nothing old fogey about this Moroccan-inspired dish!  Tender spiced meatballs along with onions, bell peppers and eggplant are blanketed in a zesty tomato-based sauce.  Sure to spice up any night!

Tips for cooking eggplant for Moroccan Meatball and Vegetable Ragout:

  • Rather than cooking the eggplant in the sauce, I roast it separately.  Eggplant is a sponge when it comes to oil and it can also take a while to cook.
  • When using small eggplant, I generally don’t salt and drain it  Small eggplant hasn’t had time to develop much bitterness.  However, eggplant naturally has a slight pleasant bitterness.)
  • I used a large one here, so felt the dish would benefit from salting and draining the eggplant.
  • Keep in mind when salting and seasoning the remainder of the dish the eggplant had salt on it, so you may not want to add a whole lot more.  The meatballs need the salt, otherwise, they don’t stand up to the assertive flavors of the sauce.

Photo of Moroccan Meatball and Vegetable Ragout with close-up of one of the meatballs.

Tips for making meatballs:

  • When making meatballs, get all the ingredients except the ground meat mixed together first.  This ensures all the ingredients–especially the seasonings–are evenly distributed.
  • When I mix up any ground meat dish, I wear disposable gloves and mix with my hands to get the job done faster and more thoroughly.
  • The best way I have found to portion and form meatballs is with a cookie dough scoop.  I have several sizes and for these, I use my 1 1/2-inch scoop.
  • Grab a handful of the meat mixture in one hand and the scoop in the other.  Use the heel of the hand holding the meat mixture to level off the scoop.
  • Empty the scoop on a baking sheet then go back and clean up the appearance by gently rolling between your hands.
  • If you don’t have a large cookie dough scoop, press the meat into a rectangle shape on wax paper on your counter then cut into 24 even squares.

Serve Moroccan Meatball and Vegetable Ragout with couscous or quinoa spiked with a little curry powder.  A dollop of yogurt wouldn’t be bad either!

Photo of Moroccan Meatball and Vegetable Ragout in skillet garnished with cilantro with spice bowls in the background.

More meatball recipes you’re sure to love:

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Moroccan Meatball and Vegetable Ragout

5 from 3 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef's Kitchen
Moroccan Meatball and Vegetable Ragout is serious meatball and vegetable goodness going on!  Sure to spice up any night with tender spiced meatballs along with onions, bell peppers and eggplant blanketed in a zesty tomato-based sauce.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Beef
Cuisine Moroccan / North African
Servings 6
Calories 663 kcal

Ingredients
  

Sauce

  • 1 large eggplant - cubed
  • 1 tablespoon salt - plus more for sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil - divided
  • 1 large onion - chopped
  • 1 large yellow or orange bell pepper - chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper - chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper - or to tolerance
  • 1 can (14.5-ounce) beef broth
  • 1 can (15-ounce) diced tomatoes - undrained
  • 1 can (8-ounce) tomato sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Meatballs

  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water - broth or milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro - divided
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Cooked couscous or quinoa
  • Yogurt

Instructions
 

Sauce

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place eggplant in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and let drain 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.
  • Toss eggplant with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread out onto a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until tender. Keep oven set at 375 degrees.
  • While eggplant is roasting, heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until beginning to soften. Transfer half the onion to a bowl and let cool.
  • Add the bell pepper to the skillet on the stovetop and continue cooking another 5 minutes or until beginning to soften.
  • Stir in garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander and cayenne and cook briefly (15 seconds).
  • Add beef broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook 15 minutes or until thickened. Add roasted eggplant, season to taste with salt and black pepper and keep warm.

Meatballs

  • In the bowl with the reserved onions, combine garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, panko, egg, water (or broth or milk) and half the cilantro. Mix well then add beef.
  • Form mixture into 1 to 1 1/2-inch balls. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until 165 degrees in the center.

To Finish

  • Transfer meatballs to the sauce and adjust seasoning as desired. Simmer 5-10 minutes so all the flavors blend.
  • Sprinkle with remaining fresh cilantro and serve.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD: Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Place in a large baking dish and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees until bubbling. May also be reheated in a slow-cooker.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY: Cool thoroughly. Freeze in small portions. Thaw in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 663kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 1660mg | Potassium: 645mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1413IU | Vitamin C: 85mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 3mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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6 Comments

  1. I just made and served this recipe. It is incredible! I was craving a hearty, autumn dish and this recipe was exactly what I needed. Thank you for sharing. *note-my family can’t handle a tsp of cayenne so I reduced it to a quarter tsp.
    Will definitely make this again.