Chicken Meatballs in Harissa Tomato Sauce

Harissa is an ingredient that I have seen popping up more and more lately. For those of you who like spice, this is a great addition to your hot sauce collection. It’s actually a paste that originated in Tunisia, and is made with hot chilis and other assorted spices and herbs. It’s used a lot as a marinade for meat and fish, and here I’ve stirred it into a traditional marinara sauce. I would recommend serving this over rice or couscous, but the sky is the limit!

Chicken Meatballs in Harissa Tomato Sauce

Chicken Meatballs in Harissa Tomato Sauce

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


For Chicken Meatballs

  • 0.5kg ground chicken

  • ½ sweet yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • Handful fresh parsley, chopped

  • ½ cup breadcrumbs

  • ¼ cup crumbled feta

  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Harissa Tomato Sauce

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil

  • ½ sweet yellow onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 680ml jar tomatoes passata (strained tomatoes)

  • 2-3 heaping tbsp. of harissa paste *see notes

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Crumbled feta and chopped parsley for garnish

*This is a personal preference. Add in harissa paste 1 tbsp. at a time until you’ve reach your preferred level of heat/spice


Preheat oven to 425F.

Place all ingredients “for the chicken meatballs” in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix until evenly combined. Roll into golf ball-sized meatballs, wetting your hands with water in between if they are becoming too sticky and difficult to handle.

Place the chicken meatballs on a greased baking dish, and bake for 16 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time.

While the meatballs are in the oven, time to start on the sauce. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in chopped onion, and sauté until lightly browned and translucent, approximately 5-10 minutes. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Pour in strained tomatoes and harissa paste, and stir until evenly combined. Reduce to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. 

When the meatballs are out of the oven, transfer them to the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes, and top with crumbled feta and chopped parsley before serving. Spoon over your favourite grain, noodle, bread etc. and enjoy!