Pasha's Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

These mini meatballs made of minced lamb are delicious, easy to make, and full of wonderful spices!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Resting time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 3 minutes

Serves 4 to 6 people

Gluten/Soy free

These Middle Easter meatballs are found anywhere from Afghanistan to Egypt and all the way into European countries like Macedonia. They are named after Dawood Pasha, a governor in the Ottoman Empire that lived in the 17th Century. It is rumored he favored them served over rice and in a rich tomato and onions sauce.

What I like about this particular dish is how simple it is... just a few ingredients. What I enjoy about is how easy it is to make. But, what I truly love about this dish is how much flavor those simple ingredients, combined together, produce.

What is the flavor profile?

Exotic, notes or cinnamon and allspice in the meatballs which is accentuated by the sweetness of the tomato sauce.

What will I need to make the meatballs?

Minced lamb, cinnamon, allspice, gluten free flour for coating, vegetable oil for frying, salt, and pepper.

What will I need to make the sauce?

A large sweet onion, crushed tomatoes, cinnamon, sugar, olive oil, and butter.

Can I make any substitutions?

Yes. You can used minced beef instead of lamb, ghee or margarine instead of butter, and sunflower oil instead of vegetable oil.

Can I make the meatballs in advance and freeze them?

Yes. Just make sure that you place them in a freezer bag to avoid freezer burn. Thaw in the refrigerator when ready to cook them.

What else will I need to make this dish?

A mixing bowl, a plate, a small bowl, a sauce pan, a skillet, parchment paper, paper towels, a slotted spoon for frying, a knife, and a cutting board.

Let's Make It!


  • 1 pound og minced lamb

  • 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon of allspice

  • 1 large sweet onion (peeled and sliced)

  • 1/2 cup of gluten free flour

  • 2 tablespoons of butter, ghee, or margarine

  • Olive oil

  • 1 15oz can of crushed tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

  • vegetable oil for frying

  • Fresh parsley and lemons for garnishing


  1. Line a baking tray or plate with parchment paper. Place the flour in a small bowl. Set both aside.

  2. Mix the lamb, 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper until full incorporated.

  3. In order to roll the mini meatballs, wet your hands and make grape-sized balls with the minced lamb. Place the meatballs on the baking tray or plate lined up with the parchment paper.

  4. Once you have used all the minced lamb, roll each meatball in the flour to coat. Place the meatballs in the refrigerator and let them rest for 10 minutes while you work on the sauce.

  5. For the sauce, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter begins to bubble add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.

  6. Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, the crushed tomatoes, and the sugar to the onions. Stir well, reduce heat to simmer, and cover.

  7. Add 1 cup of vegetable oil to a skillet over medium high heat.

  8. Remove the meatballs from the refrigerator. Once the oil is ready, fry the meatballs in batches. This should take 3 minutes to sear them well in the outside. Place meatballs in a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess grease. Once all the meatballs have bee fried, add them to the tomato sauce and let them simmer for another 10 minutes.

  9. Serve hot over rice and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and lemon quarters.


Printable PDF Recipe File below:

Pasha's Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
PDF • 38.40MB

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