Lamb Meatballs in Spicy Eggplant Tomato Sauce

    1 hour 35 minutes

    Try this delicious lamb meatball with spicy and sweet tomato sauce recipe for a flavourful dish that takes the traditional lamb meatballs in tomato sauce to a whole new level! Serve with spaghetti, risoni or mashed potato.

    9 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 eggplant, cubed
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
    • 1 pinch dried red chilli flakes, or to taste
    • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) chicken stock
    • 1 cup (250g) tomato pasta sauce
    • 1/4 cup (25g) plain dry breadcrumbs
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
    • 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 500g lamb mince
    • cayenne pepper to taste
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

    Preparation:25min  ›  Cook:1hour10min  ›  Ready in:1hour35min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
    2. Combine eggplant, olive oil, salt and black pepper in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until eggplant begins to soften.
    3. Mix in onion and chilli flakes. Reduce heat to medium; cook and stir about 4 minutes or until onion softens.
    4. Stir in chicken stock and pasta sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, about 20-25 minutes or until sauce mixture has reduced by half.
    5. Meanwhile, whisk breadcrumbs, egg and yogurt in a large bowl until the breadcrumbs absorb all the liquid. Mix onions, garlic, salt, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon and coriander into the breadcrumb mixture. Crumble lamb into breadcrumb mixture; stir in cayenne pepper. Mix well.
    6. Form lamb mixture into small meatballs and transfer to prepared baking tray. Bake in oven about 10 minutes or until browned, but still pink inside.
    7. Remove meatballs from the oven and stir into simmering sauce. Simmer over low heat about 30 minutes or until sauce thickens.
    8. Garnish with chopped fresh mint. Serve.

    Cook's Note:

    Add more stock or water to sauce if it appears to be getting dry while simmering.

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    Reviews and Ratings
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    Reviews in English (83)


    This just became my favorite recipe on the site. I'm a new cook and a big fan of Chef John's recipes. If you're looking for something different, this is truly outstanding. Check out his video for this recipe on which really helped me through it. I couldn't find any coriander so I minced some cilantro for the meatballs. It is a bit time consuming but WELL WORTH IT.  -  29 Apr 2012  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    I never use a recipe when it has only 1 review, but I had ground lamb and some eggplants and 2 hungry boys. So I gave it a shot. I have to say that I forgot to add the yogurt, and the garlic even though I had both. Everyone in my family liked this one, even the kids who don't like eggplants, and even asked for it for lunch the next day. I thought it would take longer to make than it actually did, but to speed up the process for next time, I'll make the meatballs ahead of time and put them in the freezer for a quick meal. Thank you for sharing this recipe.  -  05 Jun 2012  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    I am in the last stages of making this dish and my husband is going CRAZY! The smell that is filling our house is incredible! He's been over here sneeking bites and "hangin' around" while I am trying to get this thing done and on the table! He can hardly wait! I decided to take a bite of one of the meatballs and OMG! I am transported back to the time I lived in Turkey. I am THRILLED because THIS captures the taste of our Adana kebab that I loved so much! I have said this before and I'll say it again...Chef John is THE MAN!! Well done, Sir!  -  30 Sep 2012  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)