Moroccan Meat Loaf

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

  • 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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  • 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!

    • Elise

      Hi Celine, thank you for your comment! What a wonderful place to honeymoon. I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco. I think subbing the spices for Ras El Hanout is a great idea. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you!

      • Celine

        Hi Elise, so I tried the Moroccan meat loaf with Ras El Hanout this weekend and it was just heavenly…! There was only 1 lbs. of ground lamb left at my favourite butchery so I had to switch and use it with 2 lbs. of beef instead. Last but not least I topped my meat loaf with a few drops of culinary argan oil (Moroccan oil) for an added nutty taste… Oh… oh… Bon appétit!

  • Dee paz

    My boyfriend can’t get enough of it!!

  • Jeff

    Thanks for the authentic modifications. I took your advice and made the substitutions (delete curry, replace with nutmeg, delete ginger, delete celery). It turned out fabulously. I also reinstated the 1/4 tsp of saffron of the original recipe to mix things up a bit. I had a papaya/mango chutney that I used as a condiment, and the dinner was a great hit.

  • NY

    well hello there! i just discovered this blog and i like it already!
    However, I have a comment related to this recipe..I’m moroccan and I can confirm that we do NOT USE curry. Celery never goes with meat in our kitchen and i’m sceptic about the ginger in a meatloaf as well.
    It sounds more indian inspired than moroccan.

    Nutmeg would be more logic..Unless we mean by curry the mixture of spices moroccans use which is called ” Ras-el hanout”..that has over 20 types of spices.

    I would put nutmeg and chopped parsley but no ginger or curry.dip would be harissa sauce (blend garlic, olive oil and steamed then minced hot red chili, a bit of white vinager and a dash of salt and peper).

    I hope this help.


  • Miri

    I have been an avid follower of your site for a long time now and simply love the wide variety of recipes here. Thank you for all the time and energy you spend on nurturing this place!

    I would love to make this meatloaf for a dinner party this weekend but I am not very familiar with the kind of menu plan into which it fits – there will be about 12 people. Could you suggest what would be a good pairing with the meatloaf to make a complete meal. I was thinking of a Middle Eastern theme – so would a salad, couscous and a stew go well or would you suggest something else?

    Thank you!

    Hmm. Couscous of course. How about an orange blossom carrot salad? ~Elise

  • victoria

    Hi. I make this recipe all the time and love it ! I always add in a little extra of all the spices to give it more flavor. I also substitute ground turkey. Yum!

  • Jazz

    Well, I tried this recipe “with the sauce” last night for dinner and it was just delicious. My husband & I loved how it tasted & the BBQ sauce was awesome by itself. Actually it was a little bit too much for this amount of meatloaf. So I decided to put the rest of it in a jar & keep it in the fridge. Will try my luck and see how long it will stay in the fridge before it spoils. Another thing is that I did not used Saffron for the same reason you chose not to use it. And I omitted celery sticks from this recipe. the reason was because I always use one stick in a recipe and have the rest of it after that in the fridge not knowing what to do with it. We don’t like to sack on celery as others do. I hope I did not miss a lot by not adding the celery to it. This recipe is definitely a keeper. thanks

  • Kathryn

    I made this for supper tonight. I didn’t have any beef, just 2 pounds of lamb. I also didn’t have any cilantro or mint, but the rest of the spices sounded like stuff my family would like. I have five fairly adventurous kids. Despite some of them making funny noises about “weird” stuff, they ALL asked for seconds. Even the toddler who still picks at her dinner half the time devoured every morsel and asked for more! I think this recipe would do well with venison, as the savory spices seem to pair well with meat that has a robust flavor of its own.

  • BethN.

    This meatloaf was fabulous! A wonderful mix of seasonings. I only had 1 lb. of ground lamb, so I used 2 lbs. of ground beef instead which didn’t jeopardize the lamb’s flavour. I served it to guests last night and everyone had second helpings. Instead of the bbq sauce, I paired it with my homemade hot pepper jelly which worked very well. Also, I served it with regular rice but threw some saffron in the rice water for a little colour and zest.

  • Sally Parrott Ashbrook

    I made this for dinner last night. Thanks for another solid recipe, Elise. Because I can’t have gluten or eggs, I ground up a (not very tasty) gluten-free egg-free bread hunk to use for the bread crumbs (worked nicely), and I used 1 T Ener-G egg replacer, 2 T rice milk, and 1 tsp. olive oil whisked together as the egg replacement. Perhaps because of the missing eggs, I felt the recipe could use a bit more salt. (I also felt like the recipe wouldn’t be hurt by doing 1.5 times the seasonings, but I am a girl who likes her spices.)

    I also made a sauce of 1 c. goat yogurt mixed with maybe 3 T. pomegranate juice, a small bit of sugar (1 T?), and a handful of pomegranate seeds. My guests loved the sauce with the meal.

    I’m definitely looking forward to a meatloaf sandwich today for lunch!

  • Lisa

    Loved this meatloaf. I followed the recipe exactly and it was amazing. I did not make the sauce, instead made a yogurt/cucumber/mint dip. I served it with couscous, a tomato, red onion feta chesse salad. It was a huge hit and it will definitely make it into my recipe rotation. Thanks so much for posting it!

  • Tri

    I made this recipe to accompany an Afghani pumpkin dish that my boyfriends mom passed along. It was a wonderful compliment to the sweet pumpkin. I ended up using the leftover sauce from the pumpkin dish to dip the meatloaf in. It was delicious. Thanks for this great recipe. I’m going to pass it on to my boyfriend mom and see how she likes it.

    Heres the pumpkin recipe:

    Afghan Kad Bouranee

    2 lb. fresh pumpkin or squash
    1/4 cup of corn oil

    Sweet tomato sauce:
    1 TBS crushed garlic
    1 cup water
    1/2 TBS salt
    1/2 cup of sugar
    4 oz. tomato sauce
    1/2 tsp. ginger root, chopped fine
    1 TBS freshly ground coriander seeds
    1/4 tsp. black pepper

    Yogurt sauce:
    1/4 tsp. crushed garlic
    1/4 TBS salt
    3/4 cup plain yogurt

    garnish with crushed mint leaves

    Peel pumpkin and cut into 2-3 inch cubes. Set aside. Heat oil in large pan. Fry pumpkin on both sides for a few minutes until nicely browned.

    Mix together ingredients for sweet tomato sauce in a bowl and add to the pumpkin mixture in fry pan. Cover and cook for 20-25 min. over low heat until pumkin it cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated.

    Mix together ingredients for yogurt sauce.

    Plate by placing yogurt on the bottom of plate, then lay pumpkin on top. Top with remaining yogurt and any cooking juices that are left over. Garnish with mint. Serve with chalow, naan or rice.

  • Beth D.

    I made this and it is delicious! It didn’t fit into a 1.5 quart loaf pan, however. I had to put about 1/3 of it into another pan.

  • Charles W. Stanton

    I have long made my meatloaf with lamb for the great taste! The other change I’ve made is to use ground bison (buffalo) rather than beef to reduce the saturated fat. I’ll have to try this variation of spices in my next batch!