Tagine of Spicy Kefta (Meatballs) and Vegetables

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Lindy's Tangine of Spicy Kefta (Meatballs) and Vegetables


While shopping at the World Market, I came across a display for tagines, along with a Moroccan cookbook called Tagine, spicy stews from Morocco.  I’ve always been interested in cooking Moroccan food, with its bold sexy spices, and I loved the idea of doing it in an authentic tagine.  The price was right, so I bought it, and off I went.




Once I got home and did a little more research, I discovered that the tagine I bought is more of a decorative serving piece.  A taglne should have the ability to be put on top of the stove to brown meats and vegetables, and this one advises that it only be used in the oven.  Another downside is it does not have a little cone or bulb on top, which, as you will see in the video, makes it a little difficult to take the top off when it’s hot.  But it did do a good job of cooking this particular recipe after I made the sauce in another pan and poured it over.

I love the way it cooked this dish, Tagine of Spicy Kefta Meatballs and Vegetables, with minimal liquid, steaming in its own juice and everything cooked perfectly with the meatballs being very tender and flavorful.  I think I ’ll get another one that is meant to be used on top of the stove.

One pan meals, should after all, only use one pan.


This is so flavorful and the vegetables are cooked perfectly.


A video of Tagine of Spicy Kefta (Meatballs) and Vegetables


Tagine of Spicy Kefta (Meatballs) and Vegetables


  • For the Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground lean beef (I used grass fed)
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1/3 cup grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup finely minced cilantro (if you don’t like cilantro, you could use parsley)
  • 1 teaspoon each – cinnamon, cumin, coriander and kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon each cayenne and black pepper
  • For the Rest

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red chili thinly sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (a good pinch)
  • 1 cup reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (canned is a – ok)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup thickly sliced carrot (about 1 inch cut on the diagonal)
  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets ( I used yellow cauliflower, I don’t think it really tastes all that different, but it’s pretty)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus additional for the garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, plus additional for the garnish
  • 5 ounces baby spinach leaves, cleaned well, tough stems removed
  • I/2 of a lemon, thinly sliced, pits removed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, optional but good!


Step 1

Make the meatballs

In a large bowl combine the beef, lamb, grated onion, ginger, cilantro, and spices. Using your hands mix very well. (To taste for seasonings and to see if the meatball will hold together, make a small one and place in the microwave until cooked, about 45 seconds, then taste and see if you need to mix more). Make about 2 inch round meatballs. Set aside.

Step 2

Heat oven to 350º F.

Step 3

In a saute pan, add the oil and butter, when hot, add the onions. Sauté until they are slightly browned ; add the garlic and chili. Sauté a few minutes more. Add the cinnamon stick and additional spices; sauté 1 minute then add the raisins, carrots, cauliflower, beef broth, tomatoes, cilantro and mint. Bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and set-aside.

Step 4

If using a tagine, layer the meatballs on the bottom then pour the vegetable mixture over; cover with the cone and place in the oven. If not using a tagine, you can use any heavy pot with a good fitting lid. You may have to add a bit more liquid.

Step 5

Place in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes; open and put the spinach on top along with the sliced lemon; close and cook 5 minutes more

Step 6

Remove from oven, stir gently and add the pine nuts. Serve over couscous or basmati rice.

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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
  • Fat
    29g (12g Sat, 13g Mono, 2g Poly)
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium

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