I have eaten amazing foods from all parts of the Mediterranean, including spinach pies made by villagers in Crete, Tortilla Espanola eaten at a street cart in Spain, and chocolate croissants in France. But regardless of how many different cuisines and recipes I have tried, Tagine Kefta remains in my top five list of Mediterranean favorites. This dish is also known as Spiced Moroccan Meatballs and Veggies. Kefta, (or Kofta) is a meatball, usually made of lamb or beef, that is eaten in most Mediterranean countries and is a staple of the diet. The spices are what give this recipe its unique Moroccan flair. The mix of fresh cilantro with cumin, chili powder, and paprika impart a delicious savory flavor. Some Moroccan Kefta recipes also call for cinnamon and nutmeg.
This recipe comes from our friend Hafid Assab who hails from Morocco and owns the wildly popular Mosaic Cafe in our hometown of Northampton, Massachusetts. Almost everyone who works there knows me by name as I eat there at least twice a week!
Don’t let the long list of ingredients (mostly spices) fool you into thinking that this is a difficult recipe. It consists of chopping veggies, making meatballs, and then mixing everything together and letting it stew. Even though this recipe calls for a Dutch oven, you can cook it on the stovetop with any heavy pot with a good tight cover. I have also made this recipe many times in the crockpot.
- Cook the meatballs for a few minutes in a frying pan with olive oil. This helps create a crust that holds them together when cooking in the crockpot for such a long time.
- Add the meatballs and the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot and cook on high for four hours.
Serve with a Greek salad or our Apple, Walnut and Gorgonzola Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette.
– Bill Bradley
Spiced Moroccan Meatballs and Veggies (Tagine Kefta)
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef For Kefta
- 1 tsp Black pepper
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro
- 2 tsp garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Main Tagine
- 2 big onions, cut into quarters
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic, chopped
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 zucchini, cut into thick round
- 2 green peppers, cut into thick slices
- 2 carrots, sliced rounds
- 2 tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 1/4 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 potatoes, cut in 8ths (slices)
- 1 cup green beans, ends snipped
- 1 cup green peas, frozen or fresh
- Begin by making Kefta:
- Mix all Kefta ingredients well with your hands until well combined.
- Make ping pong sized meatballs (around 1")
- Next start with the Main Ingredients:
- In a thick pot, add ½ cup olive oil.
- Saute onions until soft and then add 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 1 ½ teaspoons chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon chili powder, 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Saute for 5 minutes.
- Add Kefta balls to middle of pot. Add rest of vegetables around kefta.
- Add all vegetables except for green beans and green peas.. Cover tightly and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add green beans and green peas. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Make sure it is still moist. (add a little water if needed).
This was terrific. I left out the tomatoes, green beans, and peas due to a sparse pantry and this was still an impressive meal to serve my guests. We were all pleased.
This is such a perfect meal for when the cold weather comes. The liquid must be completely mopped up as the satisfying completion of the entire experience.
Warm, tasty, and a crowd pleaser with the entire family.
It was so good! It tastes like comfort food and my husband who hates vegetables loved it. Thank you for an amazing, and flavorful recipe.
Making this tonight in the pressure cooker and using lamb instead of beef. Can’t wait until dinner is ready and I can try it! Smells amazing!
Hope you enjoy it!
Misty–how did it work? I love my pressure cooker, but wondered if this would be appropriate for it…. Thanks!