Algerian-Style Garlic Meatballs

with Chickpeas

March 9: National Meatball Day

We usually eat meatballs Italian style with tomato sauce and pasta or Swedish style with gravy, mashed potatoes and lingonberries. But we wanted to try meatballs Algerian style with chickpeas which we ate with couscous. They were a deliciously different dish to try and we especially enjoy them in celebration of National Meatball Day!


(Adapted from The Washington Post)


  • 1 cup of onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced, divided use
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided use
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • Water
  • Sliced almonds, toasted
  • Fresh parsley, chopped


In a large skillet, cook the chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat until softened and lightly browned (around 10 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked onions to a plate, leaving some oil in the skillet. Set aside. In a large bowl, mince 3 cloves of garlic. Add the ground turkey, egg, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Use a small scoop to shape into 24 meatballs. In the same skillet where the onions were cooked, brown the meatballs, being careful not to overcrowd them. They do not need to be cooked through, just browned. Transfer the browned meatballs to the plate with onions. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Saute the remaining garlic in the oil.

Add 1 teaspoon ground cumin and paprika. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Return all the meatballs and onion to the skillet.

Add the chickpeas. Pour enough water to barely cover the meatballs. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium low to simmer. Cook until the meatballs are heated through (around 15 minutes). Stir occasionally. Mash a few of the chickpeas to help thicken the sauce.

While the meatballs are cooking, heat a small skillet and saute the sliced almonds for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside. When the meatballs are done, transfer everything to a serving bowl. Garnish with the toasted almonds and parsley. Serve hot.