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Algerian Kefta (Meatballs)

Rated as 4.41 out of 5 Stars

"This simple meatball dish is delicious, rich, and fresh. It was taught to me by my Algerian husband, one of his favorites from home. The tomato sauce can be used for anything and the amounts of flavors can be adjusted. I like a lot of garlic and pepper. I have also found halal hamburger to be much leaner and lighter than regular. You can find it at international food stores and halal butcher shops in bigger cities. Serve this dish with a French baguette."
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1 h servings 424
Original recipe yields 3 servings (12 patties)


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  1. Combine the ground beef with half of the minced garlic and a tablespoon of chopped onion. Mix with your hands until fully incorporated. Shape the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch oblong patties; you should have 12 to 14 meatballs.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the patties in batches until they are crispy on both sides and are no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes. Set the meatballs aside in a rimmed serving dish and repeat with the remaining patties.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the remaining chopped onion. Add salt and pepper. Cook the onions in the drippings, stirring constantly, until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining half of the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in the roma tomatoes, dried parsley, ras el hanout, and water. Cook until the tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs and serve.


  • Editor's Notes
  • Halal beef is butchered according to religious law, similar to Kosher beef. You may use regular ground beef in this recipe.
  • Ras el hanout is a spice blend common throughout North Africa. It's available from some grocers and specialty purveyors, or you may try this Ras el Hanout recipe.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 424 calories; 31.5 5.3 27.8 114 111 Full nutrition

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  1. 51 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

These meatballs put inside a French baguette make a pretty good meatball sandwich. However, I think I would throw a little ras el handout into the ground beef if I made it again to give the meat...

Most helpful critical review

This was good, but I didn't find that the meat had enough flavor. The flavor was mostly in the sauce.

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Least positive

These meatballs put inside a French baguette make a pretty good meatball sandwich. However, I think I would throw a little ras el handout into the ground beef if I made it again to give the meat...

Wonderful dinner! I served it over rice and substituted a few pinches of cumin and lemon zest for the ras el hanout, and fresh parsley for dried. Also left out the water as the tomatoes made it ...

I loved these. I made them exactly as called for - but used minced onion instead of chopped. For the tomato sauce - I got creative and added: 1 can rotel, 1 can of italian stewed tomatoes, sofri...

These were very tasty! I followed the recipe exactly, except I didn't have any ras el hanout, so I checked AR for what it's made of and simply sprinkled said spices over the tomatoes towards the...

Good meatballs and a nice change from the "run of the mill" meatball recipe. I used a few sprinkles of cumin in place of the ras el hanout and served them in hoagie rolls since we've had a lot ...

The recipe is perfect and even better with ground goat or lamb! I happened to have all the ingredients for the ras el hanout spice/herb mixture- I think you really do need at least some of these...

Fantastic! Made as directed. I did put a little flour in the sauce to thicken it up a bit. I served it over white rice. Even my picky eater went back for seconds! Next time I will double the sau...

Awesome, we liked this recipe and my husband is picky when it comes to trying different dishes. I would add a little more ras el hanout next time, this is the first time using that spice we r...

Delicious. Followed the directions except that I took the advice of another, and added the Ras el hanout to the meat as well. Delicate and distinct flavors make this dish a simple, clean, culina...