A bowl of gluten-free coconut harissa meatballs in a white bowl sitting on rice garnished with fresh corriander leaves.

This gluten-free coconut harissa meatball stew uses two of my favourite ingredients, coconut milk and rose harissa, creating a spicy sauce in seconds. The

Gluten-Free Coconut Harissa Meatballs

Recipe by John Gregory-Smith | Photograph by Nassima Rothacker
This meatball stew uses two of my favourite ingredients, coconut milk and rose harissa, creating a spicy sauce in seconds. The flavours work so well together and I love this with brown rice. Now, I have not gone all worthy on you, I just think in this instance the nuttiness works so well with the other flavours. Feel free to use white basmati if you like. After all, it’s your dinner.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Servings 4


  • 600 g lean minced lamb
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 3 tablespoons rose harissa
  • 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • juice of ¼ lemon
  • sea salt
  • a small handful of coriander leaves
  • boiled rice to serve


  • Put the lamb into a mixing bowl with plenty of salt. Roll into 24 walnut-sized meatballs.
  • Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add the meatballs. Cook for 2–3 minutes on two sides until a little golden. Remove from the pan and set to one side.
  • Chuck the onion into the same pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4–5 minutes until golden. Watch the heat so it does not burn. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the harissa, coconut milk, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mix well and bring to the boil.
  • Return the meatballs to the sauce. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 6–8 minutes until just cooked through.
  • Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium and let it bubble away for 4–5 minutes until the sauce is really thick. Remember to keep basting and turning the meatballs, so they stay super-juicy. Some brands of rose harissa can be fairly oily, so I like to skim off the excess fat once the sauce has reduced. Sprinkle with coriander and serve immediately with rice.


For a leaner version, use turkey mince instead of lamb.
Cover of Fast Feasts cookbook by John Gregory Smith
Fast Feasts by John Gregory-Smith, Photography by Nassima Rothacker.
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