I’m back with another dinner that features easy cleanup and some really delicious flavors.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I love a good meatball – and a baked one at that. You can flavor them in so many different ways AND you can put together the rest of the meal while they’re in the oven – a true weeknight win!
These meatballs feature ground chicken – a completely blank canvas – flavored with the spice of harissa paste, the sweetness of dates and the brightness of fresh herbs. The key, if you can, is to use ground chicken that is made of dark meat – it really makes for the best texture and juiciness.
They’re paired with a lemony yogurt sauce and pearl couscous, also known as Israeli couscous – tiny little balls of pasta toasted and scented with a hint of cinnamon. DELISH!
Sheet Pan Meatballs with Pearl Couscous & Yogurt Sauce
1 lb. ground chicken
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Harissa powder or 2 Tbsp. harissa paste
½ tsp. Kosher salt
½ c. panko breadcrumbs
3 medjool dates, finely chopped
¼ c. cilantro, chopped
¼ c. mint, chopped
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. pearl or Israeli couscous
1 ½ c. water
½ cinnamon stick
¾ c. Greek yogurt
Zest of a lemon
2 tsp. Olive oil
Large pinch of kosher salt, to taste
Plus – Fresh salad greens
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- To make the meatballs, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Roll into 12-14 balls and place on the parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating them around, occasionally, so they get nice and golden on all sides.
- While the meatballs are baking, make the couscous by heating the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the couscous and toss around until it is toasted and golden brown.
- Add the 1½ cups of water, a large pinch of salt, and the cinnamon stick. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until the couscous is tender and the water is absorbed.
- While the couscous is cooking, make the yogurt sauce. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon zest, olive oil and salt and whisk well.
- When everything is ready, plate by schmearing the bottom of a shallow bowl with the yogurt sauce. Place a handful of greens on one side of the plate, and then fill the rest with the couscous and the meatballs. Top everything with a drizzle of olive oil, any remaining chopped herbs you might have left, and a squeeze of fresh lemon. ENJOY!
- You can substitute different herbs if that’s what you have – parsley, dill, thyme and tarragon would all be good.
- Want to substitute ground turkey? Sure – that works Best if it’s dark meat, as it keeps the meatballs nice and juicy.
- Want to substitute beef or lamb? Yep, you can do that, too!
- Can you substitute a different grain? You sure can – just be sure to cook it according to the package directions. Some great options would be farro, wheat berries, regular couscous, or even rice.
Hello, I’m Natalie! I’m a professionally-trained chef, culinary instructor and recipe developer living in Ann Arbor. A career change, a trip through culinary school 20 years ago, and being a lifelong Julia Child enthusiast has led me to a career doing my very favorite thing: making food and cooking approachable to home cooks of all ages!
My passion for creating great food experiences and getting people excited about learning and having fun in the kitchen is always at the heart of what I do. You can find me at NatalieMarbleCooks.com. And on social media you can find me at @NatalieMarbleCooks. Sign up for my bi-weekly email newsletter here, where I share family-friendly recipes, tips & tricks, new class information, and hopefully a little inspiration!