Persian Meatballs in Pita with Harissa Hummus
and Moroccan carrots
Bake a big batch of spiced meatballs tonight to use in this mezze-inspired meal and in Thursday's soup.
Smarts: We stir harissa paste into hummus to give it added flavor. Harissa can vary a lot in spice level, so taste it and add more or less to fit your preference. If the harissa paste is too spicy, feel free to skip it altogether and just use plain hummus.
- Onions, medium - 1/4 cup , finely diced or grated
- Eggs - 1
- Cumin, ground - 1 tsp
- Coriander, ground - 1 tsp
- Paprika - 1/2 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
- Cinnamon, ground - 1/8 tsp
- Panko breadcrumbs - 1/4 cup
- Beef, ground - 1 lb (preferably 85-90% lean)
- Parchment paper - for baking
- Hummus - 6 oz
- Harissa - 1 Tbsp
- Cucumber - 8 oz , diced
- Tomatoes, roma - 4 , diced
- Lemons - 1 , wedges
- Parsley, flat-leaf - 3 Tbsp , chopped
- Pita - 4 rounds
- Persian meatballs (ingredients listed separately) - ~20
- Ginger, fresh - 1 tsp , grated
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Honey - 1 Tbsp
- Harissa - 1 Tbsp
- Baby carrots - 12 oz
- Foil - for roasting
- Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Onions / Ginger - (If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating first.) Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make harissa hummus - Combine hummus and harissa (portion for pita wraps). (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make honey-harissa sauce - Whisk together ginger, oil, honey, and harissa (portion for carrots). (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make meatballs - (Double if making Thursday’s meal; you can place the formed meatballs directly onto the parchment-lined sheet pan you’ll use for baking if you’d like.) Whisk together eggs, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt, black pepper, and ground cinnamon. Add panko and onions and stir until combined. Add in ground beef and gently mix with a spoon or your hands. (To keep the meatballs tender, try not to overwork the mixture.) Form into 1” / 2.5 cm balls. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
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Heat oven to 500F / 260C. Set out two sheet pans. Line both sheet pans with parchment paper (this is optional but these are two “sticky” items and the parchment will make clean-up easy.)
On the first sheet pan, spread carrots out. Cover tightly with foil. Roast, covered, for 15 minutes.
Remove carrots from oven and reduce heat to 400F / 204C.
Toss carrots with honey-harissa sauce and season with some salt and pepper. Return to oven. Continue roasting, stirring halfway through cooking, until golden brown in spots and tender, ~15 minutes more.
Spread meatballs out on the second parchment-lined sheet pan.
Transfer meatballs to oven and bake until golden brown on top and cooked through, 13 to 16 minutes.
While meatballs and carrots finish roasting, combine cucumbers, tomatoes, and parsley. Squeeze a lemon wedge or two over the vegetables and season lightly with some salt.
When carrots are done roasting, squeeze lemon juice over top.
If you’d like the pita warm, place it on top of the meatballs in the last few minutes of baking or toast in a toaster oven.
Assemble wraps by spreading pita rounds with harissa hummus and then filling with meatballs (reserve half if doubled) and cucumber-tomato salad. Or slice the pita bread in half to make pita pockets and tuck the fillings inside. Serve carrots and extra lemon wedges on the side. Enjoy!