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4 from 1 vote
Exceptionally delicious merguez meatball flatbreads layered with red cabbage slaw, herbed yogurt, and harissa.
Merguez Meatball Flatbreads
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
45 mins
Exceptionally delicious merguez meatball flatbreads layered with red cabbage slaw, herbed yogurt, and harissa. The lamb meatballs are made with fresh ground spices, lemon zest, and garlic, and cook up simply in the skillet. The slaw and yogurt elements can be prepped a day ahead, while the meatballs can be prepped up to 12 hours ahead of time and seared just before eating. 

Feel free to customize this dish according with available ingredients and according to your tastes. Turn up the heat in the meatballs with more harissa, ground chili powder, or minced red chilis. For a milder flavor, select a jarred harissa with red bell peppers as the primary ingredient; tubed harissa tends to be spicier.

Recipe makes 18 - 20 (2-inch) meatballs. 

Recipe Type: Dinner
Makes: 6 servings
Author: Elizabeth Stark
Red Cabbage Slaw
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled, and minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
Herbed Yogurt
  • 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/3 cup minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves, blanched and minced (*see note)
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
Merguez Meatballs
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and minced
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (**see note)
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other heat tolerant cooking oil
For Serving
  • warm flatbreads
  • lemon wedges
  • harissa
  • minced herbs
Red Cabbage Slaw
  1. To make the slaw, combine garlic, lemon juice, and vinegar in a large bowl; set aside while you prep cabbage and carrots. Add vegetables, toss with lemon juice mixture, and sprinkle with sea salt. Cover and set aside at room temp for an hour or two, or set in the fridge for 24 hours. Before serving, add sea salt to taste and toss with parsley.
Herbed Yogurt
  1. To make herbed yogurt, stir to combine yogurt, sea salt, herbs, lemon juice, and pepper. Taste and add additional sea salt or lemon juice as needed. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours ahead of time.
Merguez Meatballs
  1. Set a small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin and coriander and toast just until herbs are fragrant or begin to pop 1 - 2 minutes. Remove from skillet right away. Grind with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  2. To make meatballs, combine spices, lamb, garlic, paprika, and harissa and mix well. Form into large, 2-inch meatballs and set on a clean tray. If desired, cover and refrigerate meatballs for up to 24 hours.
  3. When ready to make meatballs, heat oil in a large cast iron or other large skillet over medium heat. Working in tow batches, sear meatballs all over – turn six times, searing 1 - 2 per side. Then move meatballs to outer edge and cook until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F (temp will continue to rise after meatballs have been removed from heat). When taking temp, use care not to piece the meatball all the way through, or the juices will leak out.
  4. Keep cooked meatballs in a 200 degree F oven.
  5. Serve meatballs with warm flatbreads, lemon wedges, red cabbage slaw, herbed yogurt, harissa, and minced herbs.
Recipe Notes

*Fresh mint leaves brown over time. To prevent this, immerse leaves in a small pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, then immediately dunk in a bowl of ice water. Pat dry with paper towels and mince. 

**Pre-made harissa is available is available at international and specialty stores. I prefer milder jarred harissas with red bell peppers as the main ingredient. Spicier harissa will have red chilies as the primary ingredient.