Many, many years ago, I discovered harissa. I found a jar at the market and decided to make harissa roasted chicken. Much to my disappointment, it was just mediocre. Ever since then, I’ve tried different harissa recipes and even tried the dried seasoning mix, but I just couldn’t get myself to like it. I was determined to find one that I actually liked so I decided to make my own version. With a little of this and a little of that, I finally found harissa that I’m in love with. Give these harissa chicken meatballs a try and I think you’ll love them as much as I do.

harissa chicken meatballs

harissa chicken meatballs


Serves 4


Harissa Chicken Meatballs

1 hr, 30 Total Time

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    Roasted cauliflower hummus
  • 3 cups cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 14 ounces canned cannellini beans plus 1/4 cup of the liquid
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Rice pilaf
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic, minced
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Harissa
  • 2 dried guajillo chilies
  • 1 dried ancho chile
  • 5 dried chile de arbol
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Harissa chicken meatballs
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • Remaining ingredients
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss the cauliflower with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the cauliflower and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until lightly charred.
  3. In a food processor or blender, blend the cauliflower and roasted garlic with tahini, lemon, beans, and 1/4 cup liquid from the beans. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the hummus to a bowl. Drizzle 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil on top and set aside.
  4. Make the rice pilaf. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onion until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and rice and saute for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is done. Keep warm.
  5. Make the harissa. Put the dried guajillo, ancho, and chile de arbol in a bowl and pour enough boiling water to cover the chilies. Place a plate on top to keep the chilies submerged and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain the water and remove the stems and seeds.
  6. Blend the rehydrated chilies with the remaining ingredients for the harissa (roasted red bell pepper - black pepper) in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  7. Combine the ground chicken with 3 tbsp of the harissa, dill, parsley, grated onion, cilantro, and panko. Reserve the remaining harissa for another time. Shape the ground chicken into meatballs. Drizzle oil on a baking sheet and arrange the meatballs on the sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until browned.
  8. Assemble the harissa chicken meatball bowls. Portion the rice into four bowls and top with the meatballs, cucumber, avocado, tomato, feta, fresh dill, and parsley. Serve with cauliflower hummus.


**Helpful tips and common mistakes

This recipe requires multiple steps but you don’t have to make all of the components. The harissa chicken meatballs go fantastically with the rice pilaf and cauliflower hummus but you can just stick to the meatballs. You can also make the hummus and harissa the day before to cut down on the cooking time.

ingredients for the meatballs

To make the meatballs, first, make the harissa. Harissa can be very spicy or mild, depending on your preference. This recipe makes a mild version so if you want to kick it up a notch, add more chili de arbol. Rehydrate the dried chilies by soaking them in hot water for 30 minutes. Remove the seeds and stems and blend them up with the remaining ingredients. You only need 3 tablespoons for the chicken but that just means you can save the harissa for another recipe!

meatballs ready to bake

Season the ground chicken with the harissa, fresh herbs, and a bit of panko, and bake the meatballs until caramelized. You can swap out the chicken for beef, lamb, pork, or even tofu and pan-fry the meatballs instead of baking them.

Prepare the other components including the rice pilaf and roasted cauliflower hummus. If the hummus is too thick, add more of the liquid from the can until you have the desired consistency.

ingredients for the complete meal

I like to add some freshness to the harissa chicken meatball bowl so I chose to top the bowls with cucumber, tomato, and avocado. Plus, you can’t forget about the fresh herbs and crumbled feta!

Put together the bowls and dig in! I’m not going to lie, these harissa chicken meatballs were insanely good. I was honestly surprised at how delicious they were. Give these a try and you won’t be going back to the storebought harissa!

harissa chicken meatballs


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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