Moroccan Meatball Couscous Soup
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A flavorful Moroccan meatball couscous soup. A flavorful broth spiced with Moroccan flavors with meatballs and Israeli couscous. This soup is so warm and comforting. It can be made with ground lamb or beef that is seasoned and baked. The pearl couscous pairs beautifully and makes this soup so rich and flavorful!
And this time it’s not only warm and comforting (what soup isn’t, right?) but it’s also loaded with little pearl couscous cuties and mini baby meatballs that are spiced to perfection. The flavors in the meatballs kind of mellow out in the chicken broth and together they make the most warm-your-soul kind of soup.
It’s the i’m-feeling-under-the-weather soup but still loaded with seasonings and such to make sure it’s also flavorful. Because, I for one, refuse to sip soup that tastes like melted cardboard. If I had to describe it in a few words, I’d say it’s really just sunshine in a bowl. The curry powder, turmeric, and thyme make the broth so warm and comforting. It feels like a little ball of sunshine just touched your heart. I live for soup like this.
As it’s already March and the weather here in Texas is still cold and we’ve had weeks of gloominess, all i’ve wanted to do lately is to cuddle up with a bowl full of soul-warming soup. We’ve been fortunate enough to not have gotten snow, but our poor friends to the north of us in Dallas have been hit with it a few days last week. Though it doesn’t snow very often in the state of Texas, when it does, the entire state is pretty much shut down. Snow days = the 2 S’s. Sleep + Soup.
If you’re looking for a comforting, yet light and flavorful meal, this is the soup for you. One bowl of this steaming hot meatball soup will leave you satisfied for hours without all the guilt. This soup is ideal to make at the beginning of the week and enjoy all week long. We had it for dinner one night, and since there’s only 2 of us, we enjoyed it twice more during the week. I have to say, I flavor of the soup developed even more by the following day and the meatball couscous soup tasted even better. <– I didn’t think that was possible.
The ingredients for this soup are quite straight forward. We season the meatballs in this meatball soup rather than the broth itself. Once the meatballs are baked, they get a chance to mellow out in chicken broth. If you’re worried about the meatballs breaking up in your soup, worry not. The baking helps ensure that these guys hold their shape. The meatballs take a total of 10 minutes to bake up. That’s a quick 5 minutes of mixing and 10 minutes of baking time.
While the meatballs are baking, you can toss the pearl couscous into a pot to cook up. Some people like to cook them up the same way you boil pasta. I like use more of the quinoa method to prepare my Israeli couscous. I like to heat up a bit of oil and sauté the couscous for a few minutes. This helps develop a little nuttiness to the couscous, which let me just say, tastes aH-Mazing!
This incredibly comforting soup is all about flavor. Soup usually has the tendency to be on the bland side if it isn’t spiced correctly. I for one, cannot enjoy flavorless soup. No way, dude. I’ve used a handful of spices to help flavor the meatballs in this soup, I encourage you to not leave any of them out. Each and every one of these spices bring something wonderful to the meatball. Trust me, the meatballs are where all the goodness hides.
Spices. I used a blend of coriander, cumin, curry powder, thyme, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder, and fresh ground salt and pepper. But what really helps these meatballs taste even better is the tomato paste. Yes! Tomato paste mixed right into the ground beef mixture. A couple tablespoons of tomato paste really helps develop the color and flavor of these meatballs. The tomato paste acts like a delivery system for the spices. It helps ensure that all the flavor is evenly dispersed throughout.
Other than the spices in the meatballs, the only thing that flavors this meatball couscous soup is some garlic cloves and a few shallots.
It’s a delicate chicken broth with lots of itty bitty pearl couscous and mini meatballs that will be fun for the little ones to eat (and the big ones too). This Moroccan meatball couscous soup recipe is sure to keep you nice and warm, with happy, full bellies.
Bring on the chilly nights!
- 1 teaspoon EACH: ground coriander AND ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon EACH: curry powder AND dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon EACH: ground turmeric AND chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon EACH: ground cinnamon AND nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 lb. ground lamb or beef
- 8 oz Israeli (pearl) couscous
- 3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 shallots, minced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 ¾ cups water
- Chopped mint or parsley, for serving
- Meatballs: Position a rack near the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. 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 a ball, place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the meatballs for about 10-12 minutes or until baked through.
- Couscous: While meatballs are baking, heat 2 teaspoons 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.
- Soup: In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and allow to saute for about 1 minute. Add in the chicken broth along with the remaining 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add in the meatballs along with couscous and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from heat, garnish with a handful of chopped mint or flat-leaf parsley, if desired.
slightly adapted from Williams Sonoma
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