Little Lamb Meatballs in a Spicy Eggplant Tomato Sauce Recipe -
Little Lamb Meatballs in a Spicy Eggplant Tomato Sauce Recipe
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Lamb Meatballs in Spicy Eggplant Tomato Sauce
See how to make mini lamb balls in a spicy tomato and eggplant sauce. See more
  • READY IN ABOUT 2 hrs

Little Lamb Meatballs in a Spicy Eggplant Tomato Sauce

Recipe by  

"I love lamb, and once in a while I enjoy it in small, spherical portions."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    25 mins
  • COOK

    1 hr 30 mins

    1 hr 55 mins


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  3. Combine eggplant, olive oil, salt and black pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until eggplant begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Mix in minced onion and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium; cook and stir until onion softens, 4 minutes.
  5. Stir in chicken broth and marinara sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce mixture has reduced by half, about 30 minutes.
  6. Whisk bread crumbs, egg, and Greek yogurt in a large bowl until the bread crumbs absorb all the liquid, about 3 minutes.
  7. Mix onions, garlic, Kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and coriander into the bread crumb mixture.
  8. Crumble lamb into bread crumb spice mixture; stir in cayenne pepper.
  9. Form lamb mixture into small meatballs and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Place baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake until browned, but still pink inside, about 10 minutes.
  10. Remove meatballs from the oven and stir into simmering sauce. Simmer over low heat until sauce begins to thicken, 30 to 45 minutes.
  11. Garnish with chopped fresh mint.
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  • Cook's Note:
  • Add more stock or water to sauce if it appears to be getting dry while simmering.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Apr 29, 2012

This just became my favorite recipe on the site. I'm a new cook and a big fan of Chef John's recipes. If you're looking for something different, this is truly outstanding. Check out his video for this recipe on which really helped me through it. I couldn't find any coriander so I minced some cilantro for the meatballs. It is a bit time consuming but WELL WORTH IT.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Aug 20, 2012

This was pretty good....took an awful lot of time to make and I liked it, just didn't love it for the amount of time it took me to make. I made exactly as written and thought it would have been better if the sauce was a bit thicker. Maybe if I make again I will try adding more marinara sauce and less chicken broth.


52 Ratings

Jun 05, 2012

I never use a recipe when it has only 1 review, but I had ground lamb and some eggplants and 2 hungry boys. So I gave it a shot. I have to say that I forgot to add the yogurt, and the garlic even though I had both. Everyone in my family liked this one, even the kids who don't like eggplants, and even asked for it for lunch the next day. I thought it would take longer to make than it actually did, but to speed up the process for next time, I'll make the meatballs ahead of time and put them in the freezer for a quick meal. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

Sep 30, 2012

I am in the last stages of making this dish and my husband is going CRAZY! The smell that is filling our house is incredible! He's been over here sneeking bites and "hangin' around" while I am trying to get this thing done and on the table! He can hardly wait! I decided to take a bite of one of the meatballs and OMG! I am transported back to the time I lived in Turkey. I am THRILLED because THIS captures the taste of our Adana kebab that I loved so much! I have said this before and I'll say it again...Chef John is THE MAN!! Well done, Sir!

Aug 26, 2012

We really liked the taste. Nice flavor. Next time I will add more marinara sauce and broth. Unless I did something wrong, I had a lot of meatballs and not much sauce.

Aug 13, 2012

This recipe was a great way to use up the eggplant from my garden! I loved the method of browning the meatballs in the oven. They were browned like the would be in a pan but I didn't have to fuss with them. The only thing I changed was that I used beef hamburger instead of lamb. (It was what I had in the freezer.) It is a great recipe it will be using again.

Aug 12, 2012

Wow, Chef John, you are my new HERO. Dinner tonight was probably one of my best and I am a woman that LOVES to cook. I didn't make it too spicy, but everything else I did as written. I paired it with your perfect mashed potato recipe, wonderful by the way, and some grilled sweet peppers tossed with olive oil and butter pecan infused balsamic vinegar. All three of my kids have had seconds. I quadrupled the recipe making 1/2 of it now and freezing the meat mixture for another time. WOW, can't wait to try more of your recipes. You're AWESOME :-)

Jul 25, 2012

Wow this was fabulous. I loved the rich, fragrant sauce and the meatballs were perfectly flavored. Because I find lamb a little greasy, I mixed half ground lamb, half ground beef together. I also cut the salt by 1/3 and did not miss it.


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  • Calories
  • 426 kcal
  • 21%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 21.9 g
  • 7%
  • Cholesterol
  • 125 mg
  • 42%
  • Fat
  • 26.6 g
  • 41%
  • Fiber
  • 6.6 g
  • 26%
  • Protein
  • 25.3 g
  • 51%
  • Sodium
  • 1605 mg
  • 64%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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