Moroccan Meatball Soup with Israeli Couscous

I love this soup! Israeli couscous is my favorite kind of couscous. It is larger than regular couscous and so satisfying in a soup. This soup has all the good things… highly spiced meatballs, Israeli couscous, flavorful broth and veggies, and you top it off with a sprinkling of fresh herbs. Yum!

You can make the meatballs for this with beef or lamb (or even turkey or chicken if you prefer, although I love the meatiness the broth gets from the beef/lamb). The meatballs are spiced with coriander, cumin, curry, thyme, tumeric, chili, cinnamon and nutmeg, so no boring flavorless meatballs here. I know that cinnamon and nutmeg sound weird in a meatball, but it is a very small amount and it combines with the other spices to give a complex flavor and you don’t really taste them in the same way you do in a cookie.

I like to put onion, carrot and a little spinach or kale in this soup. You can adjust the veggie content to your own taste. This soup takes about 45-60 in total to make and is a great weekenight meal in the fall or winter.

Moroccan Meatball Soup with Israeli Couscous

hearty spiced meatballs with couscous and veggies in a flavorful broth
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Servings 6 servings


For the meatballs:

  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef or lamb
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the soup:

  • 8 oz Israeli couscous
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 shallots minced
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • a handful or spinach or kale optional
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp chicken powder
  • chopped mint and/or parsley for serving.


For the meatballs:

  • In a medium bowl, combine the spices, salt, and pepper. Mix with the spoon. Add the tomato paste and ground meat and mix using your hands. Scoop about 1 teaspoon of the meatball mixture and form small balls and fry in your stock pot or dutch oven over medium until browned all over. They will cook more in the broth so don't need to be fully cooked.

For the couscous:

  • Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When heated, add the couscous and allow the couscous to toast for just 1-2 minutes. You'll know it's done when you can smell the toastiness. Add a pinch of salt and 1 3/4 cups water, allow to come to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and allow to cook for 8-10 or until water is absorbed. Drain if needed and rinse under cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside until the soup is cooked.

For the soup:

  • In the same pan you used for the meatballs, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, onion, carrot and garlic and allow to saute for about 1 minute. Add in the chicken broth along with the remaining 2 cups of water and chicken powder and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add in the meatballs along with spinach or kale and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from heat, stir in the couscous and serve. Garnish with a handful of chopped mint or flat-leaf parsley, if desired.
Keyword Beef, Lunch, Main Dish, Soup

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