These Harissa Chicken Meatballs are served on a bed of couscous with a refreshing cucumber and herb salad for the best bowl-style meal EVER! We’ve got a thick layer of hummus, feta cheese, and plenty of fresh herbs, to make these bowls even more flavor-packed and satisfying! This is the kind of dinner you’ll find in your rotation constantly, because it’s just that simple and that good!
Not sure how to even start, other than to say that these chicken meatball bowls are the BEST weeknight dinner to grace my kitchen in a long time. I can’t even stand how good they are. All of the flavors and textures are everything you’d ever want in a super satisfying bowl-style meal and I can. not. get. enough.
Listen to this:
We’ve got super flavorful chicken meatballs filled with things like harissa paste, fresh herbs, and garlic. We’ve got a bed of couscous (so good & I’m wondering why I don’t make it more often!). Next, a healthy swipe of hummus on the bottom of the bowl for a little creamy goodness in every bite. We’ve got an insanely delicious and refreshing cucumber herb salad. And last but not least, some crumbled feta, fresh mint, fresh dill, a squeeze of lemon, and a drizzle of olive oil to top it all off!
Is this what heaven looks like? Honestly can’t think of anything I’d rather eat in this very moment.
Let me tell you about these harissa chicken meatballs first!
I’ve made them an embarrassing amount of times in the past month, because they are just so incredibly delicious and EASY. They also go well with everything. I’ve been eating them in these bowls (obviously), but I’ve also been putting them on salads, dipping them in hummus for snacks (don’t judge), and chopping them up to add a little protein to random fridge leftovers.
If you aren’t familiar with harissa, it’s a north African spicy chili pepper paste that’s pretty readily available anywhere these days. It’s filled with roasted red peppers, hot peppers, a blend of spices, and olive oil. And it’s really freaking delicious. I find most of the varieties you buy in the store to be pretty mild (and I mention my favorite in the recipe below!).
This is how you make them!
- Start by chopping up your ingredients for the meatballs: garlic, yellow onion, parsley, mint, and dill. Harissa paste, salt, and pepper also go in!
- Mix up your meatballs. For your ground chicken, it’s important to use regular ground chicken with the thigh meat, and not ground chicken breast, for optimal flavor and texture in these meatballs. If you use ground chicken breast, they’ll be dry and not nearly as flavorful.
- Sear your meatballs. You want to develop that golden brown color and lock in all of that flavor!
- Finish the meatballs off in the oven. I find that this method yields the best of both worlds. You get the really great sear + flavor from pan-frying them, and you get to keep the moisture in from finishing them in the oven, while making sure the outside doesn’t get too dark!
- Serve them bowl-style with ALL the fixings. Which I’ll talk more about in a minute!
The other best component of these bowls is this cucumber herb salad. Just a handful of ingredients, but it really adds something special to these bowls. All you need is some diced seedless cucumber, lemon juice, red onion, fresh mint, fresh dill, salt, and pepper. It’s amazing how something SO simple can be so incredible. That’s exactly what this salad is!
In a bowl like this, it’s so nice to have that refreshing, cool, crisp salad to balance everything out. I like to make mine heavy on the fresh herbs.
This is exactly how I like to build my bowl:
- Start with a healthy swipe of hummus on the bottom. You can use homemade or store-bought for this – whatever your favorite is!
- Next, add your bowl base. Here I used couscous, but quinoa, rice, or riced veggies would be just as wonderful.
- Top with your harissa meatballs and a generous scoop of cucumber herb salad!
- Finally, finish with crumbled feta, torn fresh dill, fresh mint, a squeeze of lemon, extra harissa paste if you like spice, and a little drizzle of really good quality extra virgin olive oil. So much goodness!!!
The great thing is, is that these bowls are incredibly customizable and so simple. AND you can make them even simpler by adding your own subs and/or taking shortcuts! Use store-bought hummus if you’re in a pinch, prep your grains ahead of time for your bowl base to save time, and you could even use a store-bought tabbouleh in place of the cucumber herb salad if you really wanted to! We’ve got options.
I truly can’t say enough good things about them. Add them to your menu this week!
And if you’re looking for more bowl-style meals, I’ve got you covered:
Butternut Squash Green Curry Rice Noodle Bowls
Chicken Shawarma Bowls
Summer Pesto Couscous Bowls
Crispy Quinoa Chickpea Bowls with Roasted Broccoli and Meyer Lemon Tahini Sauce
Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Bowls with Romesco Sauce
Veggie Fajita Burrito Bowls with Charred Jalapeño Cashew Queso
Spicy Peanut Tofu Bowls with Quick Pickled Veggies
Don’t forget to share a photo on Instagram and tag me @spicesinmydna if you make this recipe! Nothing makes me happier than seeing what you create in the kitchen!
Harissa Chicken Meatballs with Couscous and Cucumber Herb Salad
These Harissa Chicken Meatballs are served on a bed of couscous with a refreshing cucumber and herb salad for the best bowl-style meal EVER! We've got a thick layer of hummus, feta cheese, and plenty of fresh herbs, to make these bowls even more flavor-packed and satisfying! This is the kind of dinner you'll find in your rotation constantly, because it's just that simple and that good!
For the harissa chicken meatballs
- 1 pound ground chicken*
- 1/4 cup harissa paste*
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1/4 cup packed flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, for pan frying
For the cucumber herb salad
- 1 1/2 cups diced seedless cucumber
- juice of 1/2 a large lemon
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
- tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
- salt and pepper to taste
For the bowls
- couscous, rice, quinoa, or your favorite bowl base
- your favorite hummus
- crumbled feta
- fresh dill and mint
- extra harissa paste, optional
- extra virgin olive oil
- lemon wedges
Begin by making the meatballs. Preheat oven to 400℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the ground chicken, harissa, garlic, onion, parsley, dill, mint, salt, and pepper. Mix with your hands until just combined. Wet or oil your hands to make the rolling process easier, and roll into 12-14 meatballs.
Heat a large nonstick skillet or cast iron pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Once hot, add the meatballs and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until deeply golden brown. Transfer meatballs to prepared baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.
While meatballs are baking, make the cucumber herb salad. In a small bowl, stir together the diced cucumber, lemon juice, red onion, dill, and mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To assemble bowls, spread a generous dollop of hummus on the bottom of your bowl. Top with couscous or your preferred bowl base, followed by a few scoops of cucumber herb salad and the meatballs. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and torn fresh dill and mint. Drizzle on a little harissa paste if you’d like. Drizzle bowls with a little extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Serve with extra lemon wedges.
*For your ground chicken, it’s important to use regular ground chicken with the thigh meat, and not ground chicken breast, for optimal flavor and texture in these meatballs. If you use ground chicken breast, they’ll be dry and not nearly as flavorful.
*I like the Mina brand - the spicy version, which I still find to be super mild. If you’re using the Trader Joe’s harissa, you might want to scale down to 1 or 2 tablespoons, as it’s super spicy! Make sure you taste whatever harissa you’re using before adding it to the meatballs, to gauge how much you might need.