Moroccan Meat Loaf

Moroccan CuisineBeefLambMeatloaf

Lamb and beef meatloaf with Moroccan seasonings, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, paprika, cumin, curry powder, cayenne, cinnamon, cilantro, and mint.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

The good folks at Niman Ranch recently sent me a few lamb recipes to try from their new cookbook, the Niman Ranch Cookbook. Being huge meat loaf fans, we were immediately drawn to the Moroccan Meat Loaf recipe from Chef Monica Pope, of T’Afia in Houston, Texas.

If you like lamb, you will love this Moroccan meat loaf. If you don’t like lamb, I’m willing to bet this meat loaf will convert you. It is superb – spicy, with hints of cilantro and mint. The recipe calls for a pomegranate barbecue sauce to accompany the meat loaf.

We made the sauce, which is excellent, but honestly, the next time we make this we’ll skip the sauce. It’s just unnecessary. Its own spiciness almost competes with the flavors of the meatloaf. I’ve included the recipe below, but you really don’t need it. Plain ketchup will do, if you have to have ketchup with your meatloaf, but just the drippings themselves are sufficient and delicious.

The original recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon of saffron threads to go along with the other spices. I don’t like saffron (everyone has their preferences when it comes to food, and I have mine), so we kept it out. It is not in the following recipe listed, but feel free to put it back in there if you want to follow the recipe as its author intended.

Moroccan Meat Loaf Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8



  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped garlic (about 6 cloves)
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (3-inch piece)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups dried bread crumbs
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

Pomegranate BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 yellow onions, minced
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar


1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the lamb and beef in a large bowl. Set aside.

2 Sauté onions, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

Add the salt, paprika, cumin, curry powder, cayenne, cinnamon, and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to release the flavors. Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes.

3 Make meatloaf mixture: Stir the vegetables into the ground meat. Mix in the breadcrumbs, eggs, cilantro, and mint.

4 Place meatloaf mixture into loaf pan: Transfer to a 4x8 or 5x9 loaf pan and set in a baking pan. Pour water into the baking pan to reach halfway up the sides of the loaf pan.

5 Bake: Bake the meatloaf for 1 1/2 hours, or until firm and cooked through. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Un-mold onto a plate and slice.

Serve with optional Pomegranate BBQ sauce, ketchup, or just the drippings from the meatloaf itself. Very good served with rice pilaf.

6 Make the (optional) pomegranate BBQ sauce: Combine ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to simmer on low heat and cook for 5 minutes just to let the flavors blend. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp before serving. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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Notes: Many thanks to Niman Ranch who not only supplied the recipe, but also the ground lamb for this dish.


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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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19 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Lotra

    I use Pomegranate Craisins 5 oz
    POM juice 12 oz, 1/4 c Agave sweetener plus 1/4tsp dried onion and a twist of salt thickened it with 1 Tbsp corn starch in a bit of POM juice. I also added juice of one lime to meat mixture.

  • TJ

    This meatloaf was fantastic. My dinner guests enjoyed it, the people at work enjoyed the leftovers and I ate the last of it as meatloaf sandwiches. I liked the sauce, but did add a little more of the pomegranate molasses to make it a little sweeter due to the original comments about the spiciness of the sauce. In my opinion the sauce could have benefited from a whole pepper if not two instead of a half, but I like things spicy. The spices for the meat were perfect. I’ll be making this again for sure as I’ve already been asked how long it will be before I make another one.

  • Sana

    Hi Elise! I love your blog!!
    I tried this today and it turned out amazing!! Just a tad bit dry but soo good. I had with a chipotle tobasco and blueberry pomegranate Vinaigrette. Just YUM!!!!!!!!

  • Celine

    Hello Elise. First of all thank you so much for this amazing blog. You add colours and taste to my life! I’m a newlywed and my husband and I are real foodies, always into trying new flavours or ingredients. We actually had our honeymoon in Morocco and I brought that special spice mix called Ras El Hanout, the one that’s used in couscous and all kind of stews. Do you think I could replace the spice combination in this recipe by Ras El Hanout? Thank you!

  • Dee paz

    My boyfriend can’t get enough of it!!

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Moroccan Meat Loaf