Harissa Meatballs (Whole 30)

Dinner, Healthy (ish), Whole 30

Harissa Meatballs

Harissa Meatballs (Whole 30) are so delicious and flavorful and 100% Whole 30 compliant. BIG BONUS!

Have you ever tried Whole 30? I’m not going to lie, it can be tough. While I was successful with going 30 whole days and staying within the guidelines, I felt like it was a bit too much meat for me. I don’t eat an enormous amount of meat and I found it challenging. Next time, if I ever did it again, I’d definitely be prepared with more vegetarian-driven meals in my back pocket.

Regardless of whether or not you’re doing Whole 30, the good news is that these meatballs are super delicious and can be made at any time. I make them at least a couple times a month and find them super tasty with ground chicken. They’re spicy and savory and utterly delicious.

What is Whole 30?

If you’re unfamiliar, it’s super similar to Paleo except that there is absolutely no cheating. There are no cheat days, no straying. While there are a lot of things you CAN’T eat, there is a very long list of foods you can eat and a lot of them are delicious.

What Can You Eat On Whole 30?

  • Vegetables (all kinds!)
  • Potatoes (white and sweet potatoes)
  • Grass-Fed Meat
  • Chicken
  • Pork (unprocessed so no cured meats)
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Oils (like avocado oil, olive oil) and ghee
  • Coffee (thank the heavens!)

Harissa Meatballs

Ground chicken or ground turkey for meatballs?

Let’s discuss ground chicken vs. ground turkey. I definitely prefer ground chicken to ground turkey; I find it at the butcher’s counter at my local grocery store. If I’m going to eat any ground poultry, I usually attempt to look for brown meat because it’s definitely more flavorful while still being relatively lean.

What is Harissa?

Harissa is a North African paste that is made up of chiles, spices and salt. You can buy it online on Amazon OR youcan make it yourself. I found it surprisingly easy to make myself.

You can eat it on eggs, vegetables, chicken or these meatballs—the options are endless.

Harissa Meatballs

How to Make Harissa Meatballs (Whole 30)?

These meatballs are insanely easy to throw together. Here’s how:

  • You start by making the sauce with onions, salt, garlic and olive oil.
  • After it’s all softened, you add the tomato paste, harissa paste, cumin, tomatoes and water.
  • Then it marries all together and is blended. It’s a delicious sauce that can be doubled and be frozen for later use.
  • Next, comes the meatballs! I love these meatballs because they require very little preparation. Just some mixing of ground poultry, harissa paste, parsley, egg yolk, salt and cumin.
  • Using a cookie scoop, I scoop out meatballs and drop them in warm oil. No forming of meatballs or rolling them out. Super simple this way!
  • Cook until browned on both sides and then I add them to the sauce to cook and simmer until completely cooked.

Could not be more simple. I love to eat them on a bed of spagehtti squash, quinoa or with a side of sautéed spinach. I even love to eat them with paste—delicious!

Harissa Meatballs (Whole 30 Recipe)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serving Size: 20 Meatballs
Calories: 5kcal
These harissa meatballs are Whole 30 compliant. They have zero soy, gluten or dairy in them and yet are so flavorful and delicious.



  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons harissa paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 24 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water

Harissa Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 teaspoons harissa paste
  • 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley + more as garnish
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoons oliveo oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, as garnish (optional)


To Make the Sauce:

  • In a medium pot, set over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the diced onion. Add a few pinches of salt and stir; cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix in the minced garlic and stir. Add a few tablespoons of the onion/garlic mixture to a medium bowl (we’ll use this for the meatballs) and set aside.
  • To the remaining onions, add the tomato paste, harissa and cumin. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes and then transfer to a blender, along with the can of diced tomatoes and water. Pulse until smooth. Transfer back to the pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and allow to simmer, gently, while you make the meatballs.

To Make the Meatballs:

  • To the medium bowl with the onion/garlic mixture, add the ground chicken or turkey, harissa paste, Italian parsley, egg yolk, salt and ground cumin. Mix until thoroughly combined. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop out balls and form meatballs. Repeat until you’ve worked your way through all of the ground mixture. (Ground chicken is way softer than ground turkey so if you’re using ground chicken, do your best! Don’t be bummed if they’re not perfectly shaped meatballs.)
  • In a medium pan, set over medium-high heat, add a few teaspoons of oil. Add the meatballs, being sure to not overcrowd the pan, and cook on each side for 1 to 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove and set aside and then repeat with the remaining meatballs, adding more oil as needed.
  • Add all of the meatballs to the tomato sauce, cover the pot and simmer until cooked all the way through. Give the sauce a taste and adjust the salt per your liking. Garnish with Italian parsley and pine nuts. Ladle over anything you like—it’s my favorite over spaghetti squash.
  • These meatballs stay good in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Freeze them in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 2 months.


To Make Ahead: 
These meatballs are great to keep in the fridge. They keep well in the sauce for up to 5 days. Freeze in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 2 months. 
Medium OXO Cookie Scoop | Medium Dutch Oven | Silicon Spatulas | Harissa Paste 
Other Tips:
Recipe for  Homemade Harissa
CuisineAmerican, Healthy, Italian, Mediterranean, Whole 30
Keywordwhole 30, whole 30 beef recipes, whole 30 chicken meatballs, whole 30 recipes
Nutrition Facts
Harissa Meatballs (Whole 30 Recipe)
Amount Per Serving (4 g)
Calories 5 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 130mg6%
Potassium 22mg1%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 24IU0%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 2mg0%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

If you make these Harissa Meatballs (Whole 30), let me know on Instagram! 

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Leave a Reply

  • Reply heather (delicious not gorgeous) January 3, 2017 at 1:58 am

    ahhhh congrats!! the cake (and food in general) is the most exciting part of weddings, though it really doesn’t matter because you have the person to marry so all will be amazing. congrats again, what a happy way to end the year

  • Reply Karlie January 3, 2017 at 3:32 am

    AHH CONGRATULATIONS! That is so exciting. What a beautiful engagement spot. Enjoy this in between time it only happens once 🙂

  • Reply Rachael @ Rachael's Foodie Life January 3, 2017 at 3:53 am

    Congratulations!! I made own wedding cake it’s way less daunting than everyone says. And those meatballs sound incredible

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme January 3, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      i’m so excited about that part! i think the freezer will be my friend 😉

  • Reply Rachael January 3, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Congratulations :)! This recipe looks delicious!

    Rachael xx.

  • Reply Elinor Hill aka Beachhutcook January 3, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Congrats and what a corker of a recipe to start the year off!

  • Reply Melissa January 3, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Congrats on everything! That’s so exciting! We were married this past October and I feel for you. I didn’t dream and plan for my wedding either but all of your friends and family just assume you do. It’s so weird!
    Just remember to have fun. Do what you want to do and if you aren’t feeling something just don’t do it. I didn’t want to do a bunch of showers and stuff like that and I just let people know.
    I hope Amelia is excited!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme January 3, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      congrats, melissa! i know. it’s a strange thing. haha. AMELIA IS PUMPED!

  • Reply Belinda January 3, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Congrats to you both. I’ve been married nearly 11 years now and my best 2 bits of advice are 1) a wedding is an event but a marriage is a commitment. Don’t fight over stupid trivial shit that won’t matter in years to come 2) plan your wedding how you want it without other people putting in ultimatums or demands. We had a super small, chill wedding when my sister, 6 months later, had the massive do that cost a fortune full of people she didn’t really know. To this day, she regrets letting other people dictate her day.

    My one and only non-negotiable was the venue had to be dog friendly for my 2 fur-babies to attend. They’ve now both since passed but having photos of them with us is something I’ll absolutely cherish forever.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme January 3, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      awww man, yes to all of it. especially the last part. amelia has to be there. thanks so much, belinda! xo

  • Reply Melissa January 3, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Yayyy! Congrats to you! Also meatballs – looooove 🙂 can’t wait to hear more about the Whole 30.. definitely in need of some kind of clean eating right now! PS I got married a few months ago and we didn’t do 90% of what you’re ‘supposed’ to do and it was awesome. You guys do whatever you want! As soon as you’re married your uterus becomes the hot topic… So much fun 🙂

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme January 3, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      thanks, melissa! and thanks for the words of encouragement. and omg ppl need to calm down and chill out. they all stress me out with their questions. wtffff

  • Reply Mary January 3, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Congratulations! And Best Wishes! Sincerely, Mary

  • Reply Megan January 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Congratulations!! What an exciting time! My boyfriend and I got engaged over Christmas break as well and I totally feel your pain about the whole “when/where/how” BS. My go-to as of late, “IDK and I don’t really care!!!!.” Haha. These meatballs look delicious BTW!!!!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme January 3, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      awww congratulations to you! haha. i should borrow your response. 😉

  • Reply Sita January 3, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Congratulations on the engagement! What a nice ending to a winter break.
    Good luck with Whole30–looking very forward to reading about how it goes..

  • Reply Rachel January 3, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Congratulations on your engagement!!!!

    I just wanted to say that I’m so glad you’re doing the Whole 30 because I’m doing something similar too and I’m so glad one of my fav food bloggers are doing it so I can get yummy recipes! Please keep sharing 🙂

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme January 3, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      thank you!!

      yes, yesterday was so easy but today is actually kinda hard. i want chocolate! i’ll be doing a meal prep next week. i wanted to get one week down so i could properly assess what i want to eat/enjoy eating etc. more soon! xo

  • Reply Kate January 3, 2017 at 2:42 pm


  • Reply Jamie | A Sassy Spoon January 3, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Omg girl, same. I cried when I got my period because I couldn’t go to the pool. Everyone: “aww congrats, you can have babies!” Me: “WTF CARES. I’m effing 12, it’s summer, and I want to go to the pool”. LOL. Anyways, congrats!!! Wishing you all the best this year! xo

  • Reply Abigail January 3, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Congratulations!! I was excited when I saw your ring picture on Insta… *heart eyes*!! The annoying WHEN WHERE HOW questions will eventually end… and the wedding eventually happening is real life!!! I got engaged in May and am only just now starting wedding planning… I needed some months to gather myself to begin all of those shenanigans. 😉 Congratulations and good luck!! Enjoy the planning once you get there… the waiting has really helped me and I am getting more excited the closer it gets!!! <3 <3

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme January 3, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      thanks girlfriend! yes i think i need a few months just to process it all and get my bearings. also, i have a job! i can’t just drop everything to plan a party. nonetheless, thanks for the words of encouragement–and congrats to you too! x

  • Reply Tori//Gringalicious.com January 3, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Wow, I want to be eating this right now!

  • Reply Tanya January 3, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    I received this recipe in my inbox today and made it for dinner. It was fantastic! I did add extra Harissa since we like things spicy and put it over cous cous. Next time I will try it over spaghetti squash. Thanks for sharing! Yum!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme January 3, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      fantastic! yayy! yes, i love the spiciness too! it ladled over cous cous sounds awesome!

  • Reply steph January 3, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    congrats!!!!!! i’m so happy for you two (and amelia too!) sweetest story ever 🙂

  • Reply Michelle January 3, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    I really hope that Amelia is in the wedding! Congrats to you! The wedding questions make me roll all the eyes. I’d imagine you and Josh are going to have a super chill and delicious wedding. Priorities!!

  • Reply Erika January 4, 2017 at 6:06 am

    CONGRATS!!! (Yelling that like Oprah would) So excited for y’all!

  • Reply Chava of Almost Kosher January 4, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Congrats! I totally relate to the whole clueless-ness of wedding planning. You guys look like an adorable couple.

  • Reply Angie January 4, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Congratulations!! So happy for you!!

  • Reply adriana January 4, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    hi adrianna,

    i have been reading your blog for the last week or two and am really loving it and enjoying it.

    and i just want to also say congratulations!

    wishing you a loved filled year and so much more!


  • Reply Meghan B January 5, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Hello! Congratulations on your engagement!! I just got married in August and I can totally relate to being overwhelmed with everyone’s immediate questions. I would say that I never dreamed about my wedding day and was kinda resistant to a lot of the traditional notions (spend a bajillion dollars, invite everyone you know, find the perrrrfect dress). One of the best resources I used was APracticalWedding.com I felt like their perspective on marriage, their sensibility about not needing to go financially overboard and their depiction of diverse couples and traditions aligned so much with my values. Hope you and other folks can use them too!!

  • Reply Libby January 5, 2017 at 10:30 am

    CONGRATULATIONS! I got married last year and had a lot of the same feelings you did when it came to planning.
    What helped for me was to find a place where we wanted to get married (a friend’s backyard out in the country) and we went from there. It made it easier to decide on clothes, and when and what we wanted to do and what not.
    Well… and then in the end all my planning this beautiful outdoor potluck, yard games, live-music-filled party didn’t mean anything because it rained… HARD… all day long and we had no back up plan. So plan all you like but in the end you aren’t in charge and you just might get married in a big, romantic downpour. 😀

    Also I love the idea of these meatballs. They’re going on the menu for next week!

  • Reply Rebecca January 5, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Congrats!! Very exciting! I had some of those same thoughts when I got engaged, but then three weeks later I found myself making appointments to go see wedding venues…I buckled under the pressure! However, our wedding (in LA) was fabulous and just what we wanted- low key and outside under a huge tree (state parks are not only beautiful, but tax deductible). Enjoy the whole experience! Those meatballs look amazing!

  • Reply Kari January 5, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Congratulations!!! Also, that looks delicious!

  • Reply Roasted Cauliflower Turmeric Soup January 6, 2017 at 12:11 am

    […] healthy for the past few days hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been mainly consisting off of these meatballs, boiled eggs, Korean BBQ, roasted chicken and spaghetti squash. I’m going to post my meal prep […]

  • Reply Sarah January 6, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Congratulations! You are fun to read and love ALL of your recipes.

  • Reply Ashley Nathalie January 6, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Ahhhh congrats!!! Get used to those annoying ass questions and the many more that will come haha. Cheers to an awesome 2017 I’m excited to keep reading and trying out your amazing recipes!!

  • Reply Caitlin Appert January 7, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Congratulations Adriana! I did see on insta and felt ridiculously happy for you (ridiculous considering were not actually friends – but I did meet you at your cozy coloring event in Seattle over TG!)

    I was wondering if you could recommend a Harissa? Thanks!

  • Reply Holly Henderson January 8, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Congratulations! So excited for you and Joshua. : )

  • Reply Whole 30 Prep AND HI I’M DOING WHOLE 30 January 11, 2017 at 12:00 am

    […] Harissa meatballs – I eat these ALL the time. I eat them for a snack, or will eat them for an entire meal on top of the spaghetti squash. […]

  • Reply Lori January 11, 2017 at 4:59 am

    I’ve never used harissa before, but these meatballs seem like the right choice for getting started. And, congratulations! Enjoy every second of your engagement. It will be so much fun!

  • Reply Friday Favorites | A Tasty Life January 13, 2017 at 3:10 am

    […] Flavor:  Harissa Meatballs.  I have harissa paste in my fridge that’s begging for another purpose in life besides taking […]

  • Reply brittany January 14, 2017 at 7:50 am

    I planned my entire wedding theme around one pair of shoes that I simply had to have but wouldn’t wear under normal circumstances. 😉 You can definitely pick the cake and go from there! Congratulations!

  • Reply Whole 30 (A Review!) + Golden Milk Tea with Date Syrup – A Cozy Kitchen February 3, 2017 at 12:00 am

    […] was genuinely SO excited to start that I didn’t miss many foods during this time. I ate a lot of meatballs and spaghetti […]

  • Reply Dominique February 6, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    OMGawwww these look so good! Must try it…and…how did you get chef Jeremy Fox to make them?

  • Reply Roasted Cauliflower Turmeric Soup – A Cozy Kitchen April 5, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    […] healthy for the past few days hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been mainly consisting off of these meatballs, boiled eggs, Korean BBQ, roasted chicken and spaghetti squash. I’m going to post my meal prep […]

  • Reply Amanda June 2, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Just made this! So yummy! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  • Reply Whole 30 Prep AND HI I’M DOING WHOLE 30 – A Cozy Kitchen January 8, 2018 at 9:03 am

    […] Harissa meatballs – I eat these ALL the time. I eat them for a snack, or will eat them for an entire meal on top of the spaghetti squash. […]

  • Reply Liz W. January 9, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    This is amazing! We just finished the meal, and both the hubby and I love the flavors in the sauce! Super delicious recipe!

  • Reply superior cappuccino mix February 1, 2018 at 2:09 am

    Congrats !!
    Great recipe! I love meat ball. we are going to try this recipe.

    Thank you

  • Reply 5 Super Bowl party foods that are Whole30 compatible February 2, 2018 at 11:57 am

    […] 1Harissa Meatballs […]

  • Reply liquid coffee February 6, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Congrats! Very delicious and amazing recipe. Super delicious recipe!