Harissa Meatballs + Life Happenings!

Dinner, Healthy (ish), Whole 30

Harissa Meatballs

GOOD GRACIOUS! Annnnd we’re back! That break felt so so good. Not gonna lie, I was way burnt out at the end of 2016. I needed a whole lot of days smushed together where I did absolutely nothing.

We went up to the bay for the holidays and then drove back down. Every day we read, hung out at our apt, went to the movies (!!) twice and hung out with a whole lot of friends. It was glorious.

AND, if you didn’t see on Instagram, Joshua and I are engaged! WHAAAT! Yes. On a cliff off the coast of California, near San Francisco, Joshua asked me. It was so sweet and perfect and I cried tears so of pure joy. Josh kept trying to get me to go on a hike that day and I fought it HARD because I was wearing my new boots and I didn’t want to get them muddy and it was sort of rainy. Luckily he convinced me to go on a “light” walk.

Harissa Meatballs

The thing they don’t tell you when you get engaged is the next question…like literally seconds after you tell someone is the annoying question: WHEN/WHERE/HOW R U GETTING MARRIED? And the girl who had to be bribed to wear a bra and cried when she got her period because she couldn’t go to the water park with her dude friends, wants to SCREAM, I DONT FUCKING KNO.

And please no one force me to go to my own bridal shower because I can’t.

So the answer is: who knows. I’m not sure yet but I’m sure it will be figured out. The one thing I have thought a lot about is cake planning! Because I’m that human that wants to make her own cake. Maybe I should figure out the cake part and then go from there. Like when you get dressed and start with your shoes first.

Harissa Meatballs

Right now I’m not eating cake. I started Whole 30 yesterday (!!) and I ate SO terribly in the month of December that I’m actually, genuinely excited about this Whole 30 thingy.

If you’re unfamiliar, it’s super similar to Paleo except that there is absolutely no cheating. There are no cheat days, no straying. I’m going to try my best because I will have to recipe test non Whole 30 recipes throughout the month but the list of what I can eat is so long that I think I’ll generally be ok (or at least I think I will *gulp*).

I’m starting with something cozy and comforting: meat-a-balls!

They’re spicy and flavorful. Whenever I’m eating healthy, I need food to still be super flavorful and well seasoned so I don’t miss sugar or carbs so much.

I made these with ground chicken but you could use beef or lamb or turkey—all of them taste great!

I spooned them over some spaghetti squash that I prepped on Sunday and called it my favorite, feel-good lunch!

Happy 2017!! It’s our year, I can feel it.


Harissa Meatballs

Harissa Meatballs + Life Happenings!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serving Size: 20 Meatballs



  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • Salt
  • 3 garlic clove, 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 salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoons 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.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen
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  • Avatar
    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

  • Avatar
    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 🙂

  • Avatar
    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

    • Adrianna Adarme
      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 😉

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

    Congratulations :)! This recipe looks delicious!

    Rachael xx.

  • Avatar
    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!

  • Avatar
    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!

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

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

  • Avatar
    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.

    • Adrianna Adarme
      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

  • Avatar
    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 🙂

    • Adrianna Adarme
      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

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

    Congratulations! And Best Wishes! Sincerely, Mary

  • Avatar
    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!!!!

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

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

  • Avatar
    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..

  • Avatar
    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 🙂

    • Adrianna Adarme
      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

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


  • Avatar
    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

  • Avatar
    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

    • Adrianna Adarme
      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

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

    Wow, I want to be eating this right now!

  • Avatar
    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!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      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!

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

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

  • Avatar
    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!!

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

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

  • Avatar
    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.

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

    Congratulations!! So happy for you!!

  • Avatar
    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!


  • Avatar
    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!!

  • Avatar
    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!

  • Avatar
    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!

  • Avatar
    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 […]

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

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

  • Avatar
    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!!

  • Avatar
    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!

  • Avatar
    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. […]

  • Avatar
    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 […]

  • Avatar
    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 […]

  • Avatar
    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 […]

  • Avatar
    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. […]

  • Avatar
    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!

  • Avatar
    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 […]

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

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