Harissa Meatballs with Whipped Feta

17 reviews / 5 average

Here’s a stunner for you.

You are looking at a big ol’ bowl of store-bought wonders such as hummus, olives, and pita bread, topped with a pile of meatballs (also store-bought! SOS life) that have been coated in a quick harissa / lemon / olive oil paste and baked to juicy-crisp perfection, roasted peppers and zucchini, and a super tangy, salty, whipped garlicky feta to add a little creamy punch to every bite.

It sounds fancy when I write it all out, and actually, every bite really does feel very complex and so delicious. But in reality, almost everything can be store-bought, and then you just have two tasks: roasting a meatball and veggie sheet pan, and whipping up a block of feta.

What You’ll Need To Make This Happen

Here’s our shortcut-friendly ingredient list:

  • meatballs
  • harissa paste (it usually comes in a jar and is often sold in the “global foods” section at many grocery stores)
  • bell peppers
  • zucchini
  • hummus
  • pita
  • feta

And assuming you’ve got olive oil, S&P, and garlic…this big bowl of goodness is yours for the taking.

Close-up of Harissa Meatballs in a bowl

How To Make This Bowl Come Together

Essentially what is happening here is the meatballs, peppers, and zucchini get roasted on one single pan.

I know technically this isn’t the correct way to do it because you want each veggie to be cooked to its own perfection. And if you are particular about your zucchini, feel free to give it its own pan for optimal zucchini-specific roasting. But I found it most efficient (and 100% delicious) to just add the zucchini on the same pan – not for the whole time, but just for the last few minutes of roasting. If there’s an easy way to do something that still gets the same super-yum end results, you know I’m all over that. And in this case, everybody-on-one-pan is the way.

Cooked ingredients on a sheet pan for Harissa Meatballs with Whipped Feta

The Whipped Feta Is a Must-Make

The only other really “active” cooking step here is blitzing up a block of feta cheese in a food processor or mini chopper (I love this one) until it becomes a creamy, spreadable, dollop-able wonder that you might be tempted to put on, like, everything from here on out.

This recipe, this combo of flavors, this textural heaven? This one is for those of us who like to go big. Lots of color, lots of puckery zip, lots of salt, and a good amount of heat from that harissa paste… more of all, please.

In terms of eating this, you can just fork-and-knife it, OR you can get right up in there with your pillowy pita and swoop it directly into the hummus, top with a meatball and some veggies, and do a final dunk into that whipped feta to just take this day right over the top. (10/10 would recommend.)

Close-up of Harissa Meatballs with Whipped Feta in a bowl

Harissa Meatballs with Whipped Feta: Frequently Asked Questions

What type of store-bought meatballs do you recommend?

Any kind! I’ve tried pork, beef, chicken, and turkey meatballs – and I think veggie meatballs would also work really well as a vegetarian option! This recipe is very forgiving – it can work with meatballs that are pre-cooked, and I’ve also enjoyed this recipe with the pre-made, UNCOOKED meatballs that you can often buy in the meat department. For a specific brand, I really enjoyed these with the ALDI pre-made uncooked Italian style meatballs (I know, wrong flavor profile, but it worked just fine and the meatballs were amazing). I just brushed them with the harissa sauce before baking.

I have some extra time. Can I make my own meatballs for this recipe?

Sure can! These baked chicken meatballs are perfect in this recipe, and major bonus – they’re freezer-friendly if you wanted to prep these ahead of time. Doubling the recipe is not a bad idea!

Is harissa paste spicy?

It’s not terribly spicy, but harissa paste does pack some heat. I would rate it as mild+ or medium- level heat. I left a few meatballs un-sauced for my toddler just to make sure it wasn’t too spicy for her.

I can’t find harissa paste. What else can I use?

Chili oil or even sriracha could work here instead! Just adjust the amounts as necessary so that you don’t make it too spicy.

Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

Source Notes: Harissa paste is “a Tunisian hot chili pepper paste, the main ingredients of which are roasted red peppers, Baklouti peppers, spices and herbs such as garlic paste, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, cumin and olive oil to carry the oil-soluble flavors.” (definition from Wiki!) It reminds me a little bit of curry paste – it’s packed with flavor and vibrantly red in color. In the US, you can find it at many grocery stores that have a solidly stocked “global foods” section. It’s usually is sold in small jars. If you want to dabble with making your own (and I am actually tempted to after reading Suzy’s description), here is a recipe for homemade harissa paste.

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Harissa Meatballs with Whipped Feta


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Description

These Harissa Meatballs with Whipped Feta are perfect for an easy SOS dinner! Store-bought meatballs, bell peppers, zucchini, harissa, and whipped feta all in one bowl. YUMMY!


Ingredients

Scale

Meatballs and Such:

  • one 22-ounce bag of store-bought frozen meatballs (or homemade, if you’ve got them / got the time)
  • 2 bell peppers (yellow and red), sliced
  • 12 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • olive oil, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt

Whipped Feta:

  • one 6-ounce container feta cheese
  • 12 ounces cream cheese or sour cream or I’ve used plain yogurt in a pinch
  • 1 clove garlic

Extras:

  • hummus
  • pita
  • olives / lemon wedges 

Instructions

  1. Sheet Pan, Part One: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the peppers on one side of a large sheet pan. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Mix the harissa with a little bit of olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic powder until you have a nice spreadable red paste. Coat your meatballs with the sauce (you can do this by tossing the meatballs in a bowl with the sauce if they’re pre-cooked, or just brushing the meatballs directly on the sheet pan if your meatballs are raw). Add meatballs to the center of the sheet pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Sheet Pan, Part Two: Add the zucchini to the pan with some olive oil and salt. Roast for another 10 minutes. For extra browning on everything, broil for about 5 minutes.
  3. Whip That Feta: In a food processor, chopper, or blender, whip up the feta, cream cheese, and garlic until a thick and creamy sauce forms. 
  4. Serve: Serve meatballs and veggies with a dollop of hummus, your whipped feta, pita wedges, and anything else you like (olives, lemon, etc.). And now DEVOUR. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

Equipment

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sheet Pan
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: harissa paste, meatballs, whipped feta

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Recipe rating

66 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Joe Fitzpatrick

    I saw this when I woke up this morning and immediately knew what we were having for dinner. I didn’t have meatballs so I made some with leftover chicken. It was the nicest meal I’ve had in months. Thank you.






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Kristen T

      Made this for dinner…and my husband said it’s definitely in his top 10 dinners! He loved it so much he asked if we could have it again this week! 😆 Not only is it tasty, it’s so fun to eat! The whipped feta is also a must!

      Used Trader Joe’s harissa, Kidfresh Chicken Meatballs + Homemade Eggplant Meatballs and roasted red pepper hummus

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Ann

    I have trouble finding harissa paste but my local Walmart has a harissa salsa. Do you think I could toss the meatballs in the harissa salsa after baking them??? Thanks!!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Em

    I am a longtime fan and ALL FOR the SOS recipe idea, but that sodium content is actually out of control high. There’s gotta be a better way that’s still fast.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Em! The majority of the sodium here comes from the store-bought meatballs and a bit from the feta. You could look for low-sodium meatballs or try making your own to reduce the sodium a bit.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Nancie

    I know your site has been around for a long time and you have a large following. Can you please stop communicating with people like they are children. It has gotten really old.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Tara Whitaker

      Here’s a thought Nancie…find recipes from someone else then and maybe keep your useless, ugly comments to yourself. I find her demeanor upbeat and bright in a world full of negativity.






        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Sarah

          Blogs take a lot of hard work and dedication. Keep your negativity to yourself Nancy. And I hope you find something that brings you joy (because you are clearly lacking it).






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Clo

      Trader Joe’s sells Harissa paste for about $2.50 tasty stuff. Once opened it doesn’t last long but can be frozen.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Beverly K Linkhart

        dangit – i just bought a jar for $3.99 – i knew I should have checked TJ. Thanks for the info

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Terry! In addition to Trader Joe’s, we know you can find it at Whole Foods or Kowalski’s. You can likely also find it at Cub and Byerly’s but that is a guess!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kaitlin

    This looks awesome and like it requires the exact amount of energy I have when I need an SOS meal. Any non spicy ideas for the meatballs? I love harissa, but there’s no way I could get my toddler to eat it. What else could I use to spruce up frozen meatballs before roasting?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      You could try romesco sauce! Here’s a great romesco recipe from Pinch of Yum. You might be able to find store-bought red pepper sauce too. Other options: Greek salad dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, or simply keeping a portion of meatballs un-sauced!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Megan

    I have Harissa in a spice jar…could I make a paste? Or how would you suggest using the spice vs the paste? This looks sooo good!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      I believe you can make a paste by simply adding olive oil to the spice mix. But here’s a recipe for homemade harissa paste. Depending on what’s already included in your spice mix, it looks like, in addition to olive oil, you could also blend the spices with roasted red peppers, tomato paste, and lemon juice.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Stretched the rules a bit because there are so many amazing add-ins for this recipe!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lisa

    Can I ask which little food chopper/processor you are using? I’ve been considering buying a smaller one for dressings/dips/etc. Would love to know which you would recommend. Thanks in advance!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Yes! I believe we have the Ninja Express Chop, which you can find at Target!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Erica Cox

    This looks delish, thanks for sharing! This will sadly never be an SOS meal for me (slicing the veggies alone would take about all the time I have on one of those nights), but will save it for a more relaxed night 🙂

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I hear you! I often buy pre-sliced veggies in the produce section to save time, but yes, it’s one of the higher-time-commitment recipes on our SOS recipes list. Thanks for the comment! ♡

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this last night, and it was great! I used vegetarian meatballs (for the first time) and loved them. I’d add more harissa paste next time and be sure to go easy on the oil, as the veggies came out a little too oily. Definitely a great weeknight meal!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lisa

    Lindsay, I want you to know that I absolutely adore you and your blog! Your positive upbeat attitude and fun writing style are the things that attract me the most! And your recipes are ALWAYS out of this world! I got my family addicted to them too and we all are always raving about you! Don’t ever stop being you! Thank you for sharing your gift with all of us!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Lisa! I will be sure to pass this message along to Lindsay!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Miriam

    Loved it! It was quick, very easy and delicious. This whipped feta is a dangerous new favorite..!






  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Beverly K Linkhart

    ohhh my gosh! this is a keeper! I’ve actually been making a lot of the baked chicken or turkey meatballs, so I just incorporated those into this recipe. Super yum! I love the simplicity of your (most) of recipes., I was drawn to your website by how you write. I love your upbeat writing and how I feel like you are just having a conversation with us.






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Thanks so much for the comment, Beverly! We are so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Cat! It’s hummus drizzled with olive oil with a dollop of the whipped feta.

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Melissa Rearson

    This was super easy and absolutely delicious. I used frozen Turkey meatballs & hummus from Wegmans and pillowy soft naan from Sam’s Club 🤷🏼‍♀️. Couldn’t quickly find harissa paste, so made the recipe from the Mediterranean Dish. Amazing!!!!
    Subbed colorful cauliflower for the zucchini. Served exactly as you suggested but added chopped cucumbers! The fresh herbs from my garden amped it up a notch!

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    PJ

    Thank you for helping me use the jar of harissa languishing in my fridge! I loved this recipe because it is so adaptable for whatever proteins and veggies you have on hand (we did Aldi veggie meatballs and bell peppers with snap peas, but could easily see using chickpeas or chicken another time). I had feta, but could also imagine a sauce made with Greek yogurt, lemon, garlic being delicious if I didn’t remember to add feta to my grocery order. And Aldi flatbread was perfect for this but honestly any bread would work! Yay for recipes as guidelines!






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Awesome! So glad you were able to pull together what you had on hand to make the recipe!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Bevin Marsek

    I have been wanting to make this since I saw it the other day. I’m 27 weeks pregnant and have been having a hard time wanting to eat, let alone cook. As soon as I saw this recipe I started drooling. Everything is currently oven and it was crazy easy to prep. Cannot wait to dig in! This monster baby and I are so grateful for your recipe!

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    AshleyD

    This recipe was the epitome of SOS perfection! We were able to put this together very quickly and were blown away by the flavors. This will be a great recipe to use when we have veggies we want to use up or extra quinoa or cous cous leftover. We made a double batch of the whipped feta so we can use on sandwiches and as an appetizer later in the weekend w/ pita chips! Such a GREAT meal! Thank you






  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kelsey

    Just wondering if you can use Harissa sauce. I couldn’t find the paste in my area?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Taylor Angulo

      This is a fantastic recipe! I am so in love with the SOS series and this is an incredible dish. I shopped and made it on a Monday night after work and it was so easy! I bought the harissa powder and mixed it with the olive oil and garlic powder. Perfection. Also I could eat that whipped feta with a spoon. Make sure you don’t skip the broil with the meatballs and veggies! Worth the wait. Thanks Pinch of Yum team!






      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Krista @ Pinch of Yum

        Glad to hear that you’ve been enjoying the SOS series! Thanks for the comment!

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lindsay

    Made this last night and it was delicious! I had some ground chicken so made my own meatballs and tossed a harissa spice mix into the meat. (I can never find harissa paste where I live.) I think next time I would follow one of the suggestions in the comments and mix the spice mix with some roasted red peppers and olive oil and blend it up to make a sauce. But love the idea of hummus, roasted veggies, feta, and protein, and can think of a bunch of ways to adapt it to what I have in the fridge. Thank you for the inspiration!






  19. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Krista

    Just made this and it is DIVINE! Easily best way to jazz up some frozen meatballs and have a flavorful, veggie loaded dinner! I used Trader Joe’s harissa paste and turkey meatballs. Also used TJ’s new Ajika Georgian seasoning blend on the peppers and zucchini and it perfectly complemented all the other flavors in the dish! The whipped feta is a game changer. Will making again and again, thank you!






  20. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Ashley

    Followed this recipe yesterday and it was a great meal idea! I will definitely make my own meatballs next time but everything else was great!