Turkish-Style Meatballs with Spiced Red Pepper Sauce

The flavour and texture from our Turkish grains is fantastic in these gently spiced meatballs. Served with a red pepper sauce this meal is sure to add some spice to your weeknight meals. We’ve cooked the meatballs straight in the sauce for ease and to keep them nice and tender, but if you prefer you can bake in the oven before finishing off in the sauce for a few minutes.


Prepare the grains according to the packet instructions. Fluff with a fork to separate the grains and allow to cool.

Put the mince, grains, onion, herbs, egg, gram flour and spices into a large bowl with plenty of seasoning. Using your hands mix everything together well for a good few minutes – really squeezing the meat and grains together until well combined.

Using slightly damp or oiled hands shape the mixture into 12-14 meatballs. Cover and put in the fridge to firm up for half an hour if you have the time.

Put the red peppers, paste, 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Heat the remaining oil in a deep sided frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-6 minutes until softened, but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the passata, red pepper sauce and the water, and simmer gently for a couple of minutes. Check for seasoning.

Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover and simmer gently for 30-35 minutes, adding a splash more water if needed and spooning the sauce over the meatballs from time to time.

Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with flatbreads or crusty bread for mopping up the sauce.



  • For the Meatballs
  • 250g beef or lamb mince
  • 1 x pouch of Ainsley Harriott Turkish Couscous & Grains
  • ½ onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper or dried chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Red Pepper Sauce
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil (or use the oil from the pepper jar)
  • 280g jar of roasted red peppers, drained
  • 200g passata
  • 1 tbsp mild red pepper paste (Biber Salcasi) or harissa paste
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 100ml water or vegetable stock, more if required