Spiced Meatballs with Sriracha Sauce

A merguez appetizer, Paris and David Lebovitz.  This is my special recipe to celebrate Fiesta Friday’s First Anniversary, or FF #52.  I was rather busy until mid-week co-hosting Fiesta Friday #51 along with Jhuls  so I was a little limited on time coming up with a new appetizer or beverage recipe to share.  I have quite a few beverages and a bunch of appetizers already posted so I needed to find a new one or a different version of a favorite one.

A recent feature on Fiesta Friday  was one of David Lebovitz’ recipes which gave me the idea to look through his new book,  “My Paris Kitchen”  for a possible recipe.   I was hoping to make one of his fantastic desserts first.  However, I needed to bring an appetizer to the party  and this meatball recipe stood out, Boulettes De Merguez A La Sauce Sriracha and I looked no further.


Another book of David’s, besides his dessert cookbooks, is “The Sweet Life In Paris”, a New York Times bestseller which is the first book I bought by this popular chef who was a pastry chef for a long time.  A great little book which includes his experiences living in Paris and of course some of his great recipes.  I highly recommend it as it is a “deliciously funny, offbeat, and irreverent look at the City of Light, cheese, chocolate, and other divine confections”.


I just love meatballs and feel it is one of the best finger foods for entertaining.  In addition meatballs in a sauce make a great dinner served over some rice or egg noodles or even in a sandwich.  I already have 7 meatball recipes posted ranging from Lasagna, WW meatballs in the slow cooker to Win Schuler’s two recipes.  Search meatballs for other recipes.

Meatballs have been around a long time dating back to Roman times and have varied through the years to accommodate different tastes, available ingredients and even religious traditions. There are a zillion ways to fix them using all kinds of ingredients and they are easy to make  ahead and freeze until your party whether it is a small or large crowd.

I am not alone as there are lots of other people who like meatballs; Food and Wine just posted 19 favorite restaurants who serve their own version of meatballs.  I know there are a number of bloggers, who like me, have a file just on meatballs!  There is one special blogger who I hope reads this post 🙂

This recipe originated out of David’s love for merguez sausages and he came up with  a meatball or boulette form that he could make at home.  So what is a merguez sausage?  It is a fresh sausage of North African cuisine made with lamb, beef, or a mixture.  It is popular in the Middle East and Europe, becoming increasingly popular in France.  It is heavily spiced with cumin and chili pepper or Harissa, which gives it its piquancy and red color letting you know that this sausage is hot.  Other spices include sumac, fennel and garlic.

Then there is Sriracha Sauce – David said Parisians squirt it on everything and it is almost de rigueur, or trend,  on American tables.  It is a type of hot chili sauce made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt.  Yes, there is a bottle on my table frequently!

These meatballs are so flavorful and full of great seasonings and ingredients and I hope everyone tries them.  I even made these meatballs twice as we liked them so much; I froze the second batch for future use.  Two sauces, Sriracha Mayonnaise and a Yogurt-Tahini Sauce are served alongside the meatballs.

I am bringing these mouth watering appetizers to Fiesta Friday #52 where Angie @The Novice Gardener is celebrating her first anniversary.  Thanks to the co-hosts Hilda @Along the Grapevine and Julianna @ Foodie On Board.   A little bit of Paris (I have been there and it is a city full of life), a recipe from David and me and a popular trend in France, merguez sausages but in meatball form!

Spiced Meatballs with Sriracha Sauce

  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

Merguez Meatballs:

  • 1-1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1-1/2 coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp.  cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika (Hungarian paprika)
  • 2 tsp. Sriracha, harissa or Asian chile paste (I use Sriracha)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. sumac (optional but I added it as it adds a fruity tang and an exotic lift to the meatballs)
  • you can use either 1 pound of lamb, or beef or combine the two which is what I did – do not buy meat that is too lean or the merguez can be dry

In a small hot skillet, toast the fennel, coriander and cumin seeds for a minute or so, until you can smell their fragrance.  Remove and let cool, then grind them up with a mortar and pestle or a spice mill if you have it.  I toasted the coriander seeds separately as they do take a little longer to cook.

Add the spices to a large bowl and add the fresh cilantro, garlic, paprika, Sriracha, salt, cinnamon, allspice and sumac.  Add the ground meat and mix well.  The mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before using.

Form your meatballs – I like to use a 1-1/2-inch stainless steel scoop and make them into the size of an unshelled walnut.  Then I roll each one between my hands to get them smooth.  You can heat them in a little oil on the stove, on the grill or bake in a 350°F for about 15 minutes.  I always prefer to bake them; I spray a wire rack inside a sheet pan with non-stick cooking oil and place each meatball on the rack.  They cook better and are not cooking in their grease as you are not using lean meat.

Makes about 28 1-inch meatballs

Sriracha Mayonnaise:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (I chose not to make David’s homemade version)
  • 1 tbsp. Sriracha, or to taste

Combine the two ingredients and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Yogurt-Tahini Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp. fresh parsley, minced
  • 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Combine all of the ingredients and blend well.  Adjust seasonings if desired.  Serve with the meatballs.

Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com 

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57 thoughts on “Spiced Meatballs with Sriracha Sauce

  1. love this and meatballs are so easy to eat. One can end up eating too many lol. I had not heard of that chef so have looked him up now, so thank you for that 🙂 Happy FF so glad to have met you and are you having a fab party? x


  2. Pingback: First Fiesta Friday Anniversary (Part 1) | The Novice Gardener

  3. I say “Oui, oui” to your delicious meatballs, Judi! The sriracha mayo sounds like the perfect accompaniment too. 🙂 This is a fabulous, scrumptious contribution for the FF Anniversary. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merci Nancy (I did take French in college)! I like this recipe a lot and froze a batch maybe for the Super Bowl. David’s savory recipes are excellent too, not just his desserts. Happy FF to you. You have a big job next week and I know you will be busy but having fun. ❤


  4. I love merguez sausage, and the idea of making a merguez meatball is especially appealing. I have Lebovitz’s sweet book, so am happy to see more inspired by his savoury recipes. I hope to get around to making these soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merci Hilda – I just loved that “Sweet” book of his and knew his cooking/baking would be fantastic. This is the first time I have had merguez and so glad it is in meatball form so I can make it any time. Happy FF #52 and thanks for co-hosting 🙂


  5. Hey Judi! Well this was a very good call! Who doesn’t love a good meatball? And yours have made my mouth water big time! I hope you have a second round of your meatballs stashed somewhere because they are literally flying off the table…don’t tell anyone, but I’ve gone back for seconds…a few times…oh I guess that means thirds and fourths? Really don’t tell anyone… :/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great meatballs Judi, great minds really do think alike! I love all the flavors going on in yours, I expect there will be plenty of meatballs at today’s celebration. I hope you’re enjoying yourself, I’ve arrived rather late to the party, but enjoy seeing everyone’s creations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merci Loretta – and great cooks/chefs also think alike ! For me, meatballs are the perfect make ahead appetizer, lunch and or dinner. With 8 recipes now I guess I like them. I am looking forward to trying yours – chicken and sausage – yum 🙂


  7. Bonjour Judi 🙂 This recipe is fantastic, I’m a huge fan of Merguez, they are so popular in my country. Your Meatballs look perfect and the two sauces look delicious. Thank you for sharing, merci 🙂


    • Merci Linda – I really do appreciate it. Soon as I read David’s recipe I knew it would be a hit. This is my first experience with merguez and definitely a good one. I love all of the seasonings in his version and then the sauces… 🙂


    • Thanks Michelle – you know that looking at 100 recipes is very time consuming as you have been a co-host. I lucked out when I chose David’s book from my library because as soon as I saw the recipe I knew that was what I was going to make. Having a much harder time for FF #53, I have over 765 recipes posted so it is a little harder to choose something different 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good luck thinking of something for next week, I’m sure whatever you come up with will be yummy!
        I’ve decided what I’m making, just having some trouble with the ingredients – I need gelatine but I do my grocery shopping online and they sent me yeast instead of gelatine, not quite the same thing haha! Need to see if I can hunt any down in the local shops x


      • Thanks – no luck so far. I bet I know what you’re making – one of your fabulous desserts! That’s awful to get yeast instead of gelatin. I buy a lot of specialty items online tooMy grocery stores sell it and I can also buy sheet gelatin at my local baking store. Good luck to you as well – I am hoping to find a simple recipe, but worthy of the celebration 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • How did you guess I was going to make a dessert? Haha!
        I have some sheet gelatine in the house as that’s more common over here in the UK, but I was hoping for powdered – plus I don’t quite have enough sheets left. Hopefully I’ll figure something out though


  8. Judi, j’adore Monsier Leboviz et son blog aussi! He used to be the pastry chef at Alice Waters’ famed restaurant, Chez Panisse so you just know that he has a great palate. And I also love merguez – those flavours are just so delicious. I tend to buy mine from the Moroccan butchers who make their own, but I am so going to try this recipe for them now. I’m slightly addicted to siracha – this post, pretty much has my name all over it! Happy Fiesta Friday to you!


    • Merci Selma – wish I could answer you in French – I did take a year of French while I was in grad school and it came in handy when we were in France, at least enough to get us around! This recipe is really, really good – from first toasting the seeds I knew that I had found a delicious recipe. I like Sriracha too – need to use it more. Happy FF to you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did French in high school so it’s pretty rusty to be honest – comes back in floods whenever we visit France but otherwise it’s all a bit comme ci comme ca!! x


  9. What a delicious idea to make merguez meatballs. Perfect party food and the recipe sounds mouthwatering 🙂


    • Merci Petra – I enjoyed cooking with all of these wonderful ingredients. I did not realize how many people know about merguez sausages. I am so happy to share a way to bring that flavor into an appetizer 🙂


  10. I really like the meatballs made from beef
    so sweet and fun
    your recipe is perfect for dinner

    delicious felt when closed eyes


  11. Judy, your meatballs are absolutely delightful. I love both the sauces too. And I loved that you made your meatballs spicy too adding sriracha and other flavors that i love. I am a huge fan of meatballs myself! Happy Partying! 🙂


    • Thanks so much Indu. This is a great recipe and seasoned just perfectly – I made a bunch and have some in the freezer for Super Bowl. Meatballs can be made so many different ways and I hope to try lots more recipes 🙂 Happy FF!


  12. Pingback: Disney Pineapple pastry cake – Beam ‘em all up Scotty | Aromas and Flavors from my Kitchen

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