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Moroccan Meatball Lettuce Wraps are an easy way to shake up your weeknight dinners. Meatballs are infused with smoky, fragrant spices and paired with refreshing tabbouleh in this take on Moroccan cuisine.
I go through ethnic phases with my food cravings. Sometimes all I want is Southern-style food with it’s cheese and greens and bacon grease. Sometimes all I can think of is Mexican flavors, with loads of jalapenos and cilantro and juicy tomatoes. Same goes with Asian flavors or Italian flavors, but recently I’ve been leaning more towards Moroccan and North African flavors. It doesn’t make much sense to crave these flavors. I know almost nothing about that region of the world except that it’s probably hot (hotter even than we are in the middle of August), and the food of the region is full of interesting smoky spices paired with refreshing ingredients like lemon, mint and yogurt. It’s a fascinating combination of flavors that speaks volumes about the people and the climate.
While, the southern United States is probably far and away more humid than any region in North Africa, we still have the heat in common. And because of our constant battle with the oppressing Summer months that will be here before you know it, I see no reason not to take a little inspiration for dinner from another part of the world that struggles with the oven-like temperatures that we have.
So, if I were going to be really authentic about these Moroccan Meatball Lettuce Wraps, I would make them with ground lamb. If you can find ground lamb (and afford ground lamb) by all means, please use that instead! I think that ground pork would also work for these meatballs if for some reason you are against ground beef. The ground coriander and cumin work wonders for the meat here, adding a hint of fresh and smoky along with the parsley and mint. I know mint sounds weird in a meatball, but it won’t make this taste like a peppermint patty, I swear. The tabbouleh is pretty traditional here, a parsley salad is found all over the Mediterranean and it goes well with just about anything. You don’t have to do lettuce as a vessel here. Warm up some fresh pitas and serve these meatballs with that instead, but whatever you do, have plenty of cold plain yogurt at the ready. It makes all of the flavors sing.
This Recipe has been inspired by Better Homes and Gardens Calorie Smart Meals
- 1.25 pounds ground round
- ½ small onion , minced
- 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh mint
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Lettuce leaves (to serve)
- Non-fat Yogurt (to serve)
- 1 (14.5 oz) can Garbanzo beans, drained (to serve)
- 2 cups fresh chopped parsley
- 1 large tomato , diced
- ½ English cucumber , diced
- ½ small onion , minced
- ½ cup olive oil
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, combine the ground round and the next 8 ingredients (through the pepper) with clean hands. Form into 12-14 meatballs about the size of a ping-pong ball. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and brown on each side the meatballs until cooked through, 8-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the tabbouleh in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Remove the meatballs from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
- Serve 2 meatballs on top of whole lettuce leaves, topped with tabbouleh, yogurt and garbanzo beans.