Eastern-Mediterranean Meatballs with Turkish Grains & a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Our Turkish Couscous & Grains with mint, parsley and lemon work perfectly with the spices of the Levant in these more-ish meatballs. The tangy and spicy tomato sauce adds a lovely kick!


Place the beef into a large bowl, add all of the other meatball ingredients and season with salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Mix with your hands, ensuring that everything is well combined. With slightly damp hands take a walnut size piece of the mixture and roll into a ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Place the meatballs on a tray, cover and chill for half an hour if you have the time.

Make the sauce. In a frying pan over a medium-low heat add the onion and fry for a couple of minutes then add the garlic and chilli and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened. Raise the heat to medium and add the red pepper paste stir through then add the tomatoes and stock. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the pomegranate molasses and sugar to taste. Season and reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Add the parsley and stir through.

Meanwhile heat one tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry the meatballs on medium heat for about 8-10 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Roll the meatballs over every couple of minutes to prevent them burning and also to help keep their shape. (You can also bake the meatballs at 180C for 10-12 minutes if you prefer).

Cook the Ainsley Harriott Couscous & Grains according to the packet instructions and fluff with a fork.

Serve the meatballs and grains with the spicy tomato sauce, sprinkled with parsley and a good drizzle of plain yoghurt.



  • 1-2 pouches of Ainsley Harriott Turkish Couscous & Grains
  • For the Meatballs
  • 500g minced beef or lamb
  • ½ red onion, minced or grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 thick slice of day-old white bread, crusts removed and made into breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • ½ tsp Pul Biber or dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp sumac
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • For the Sauce
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
  • ½ tsp Pul Biber (or chilli flakes) - optional
  • 2 tsp of Biber Salcasi (red pepper paste) or harissa paste
  • 350ml crushed tomatoes or passata
  • 150ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • ½ tsp of sumac or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley, plus extra to serve
  • To Serve
  • plain yoghurt and lemon wedges