Merguez Meatballs (Keto, Paleo-Friendly, Low-Carb)
These Merguez Meatballs are a delicious shortcut to the famous North African spicy sausage! It’s SO easy to make and there’s a cheesy surprise waiting for you in the center — the perfect low-carb dish.
What is Merguez?
If you haven’t heard of Merguez before, first picture a hot dog. It’s the exact same shape but the flavor profile and texture are on another level. It’s a spicy sausage, typically made with lamb, that can be found all throughout North Africa. Harissa gives the sausage its distinct bright red color naturally.
When Shakshuka took the brunch world by storm, more and more people began to learn about the rich cuisine in the Maghreb. Now, you can find harissa just about anywhere from Trader Joe’s to Whole Foods.
Just like gadid (North African spiced jerky), Merguez originated with the intention to preserve meat. Heavily spicing, salting, and cooking meat in sausage form prevented it from going to waste. From grilling to sun-drying, there are so many ways to prepare and eat the sausage. Either way, the one ingredient you’ll always find in a recipe for Merguez is harissa.
When I visited Paris last year, I was shocked by the amount of small shops and booths I saw selling Merguez. Here in America, it’s rare to find a Moroccan restaurant and very very rare to find a Libyan restaurant (I have yet to find one sadly). After the French colonized North Africa, they decided to take the rich cuisine back with them. So now you can get Merguez in a baguette.
Making the Merguez Meatballs
The beauty in this recipe is no casing involved! The flavor of the meatballs is identical to Merguez without the hassle of stuffing sausages. It’s packed with 10 different spices. Some are spicy, others are more citrusy, and a few are more earthy and nutty. They all come together harmoniously!
To make it even better, there’s a cheesy surprise at the center of the meatball. It can’t get better than this!