West-African-Style Tomato Meatballs

We are truly past summer now! It’s time for warm, comforting dishes and easy meals that you can whip up in a flash after a long day – when it’s already dark outside. That’s where these West-African-Style Tomato Meatballs come into play. It’s my West African take on a true comfort classic.

Why We Love These West-African-Style Tomato Meatballs

This delicious combination of West African flavors and an Italian classic comes together in just 45 minutes when you use our Obe Ata West African Tomato Soup to get it started!

It’s a one-pan meal, and since preparing food is the fourth most energy-intensive activity in the household, one-pan meals can be a huge advantage to have on your weekly dinner rotation. It helps keep energy consumption low, and it makes for a less strenuous clean up at the end of a busy, tiring day. 

Not only that, but it’s versatile. You can serve it with bread, pasta, rice, or any of your favorite carbs. Think of it as meal prep that you can use in a thousand different ways. Save your leftovers and throw together a delicious meatball sandwich for lunch! It’s a meal you can come back to again and again because it never gets old.

Minimal cook time, minimal cleaning time, and a rich, hearty dish to keep you warm on these winter nights! What could be better?

Obe Ata Soup Makes It Easy

One of the things that makes this meal a no-brainer for me is how easily it comes together when I use our Obe Ata Soup. I love getting meals started with one of our ready-made soups or sauces.

I don’t even usually keep pasta sauces stocked in my pantry any more. I use a lot of our soups – especially the Obe Ata – as pasta sauces and to get a bunch of my meals off to a flavorful start. My soups have become a pantry staple for exactly this reason!

Highlighting West African Flavors

Two ingredients in this recipe really help us steer the flavor profile toward traditional West African flavors. One is the thyme, and the other is iru, which is a type of fermented and processed locust bean. 

Thyme is a classic herb and West African cooking staple used in this recipe just before we cook the meatballs and the sauce. By simmering fresh thyme in olive oil, we add a minty freshness to this – and any! – savory dish.

Iru is the Yoruba word for locust beans. It adds a rich, complex umami flavor to this dish, putting your favorite bouillon cubes to shame!

The use of both of these traditional West African ingredients helps us better highlight the West African flavors in our soups all the while putting a new spin on an Italian classic. Give it a try and see what you think!

How to Make West-African-Style Tomato Meatballs 

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6


  • 2 jars of Egunsi Foods Obe Ata West African Tomato Soup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package of ground turkey (usually about 1 lb.)
  • ¼ of a white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ cups of grated parmesan cheese
  • A pinch of freshly diced habanero peppers
  • ½ cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • ¼ teaspoon of fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons of iru
  • 1 ¼ cups of roughly chopped parsley for garnish
  • Challah bread or pasta for pairing/serving

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, eggs, diced white onion, minced garlic, grated parmesan, diced habanero peppers, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
  2. Use a tablespoon to portion out the turkey mixture and form into 6-10 balls.
  3. In a pan over medium heat, heat olive oil, iru, and thyme. Then, sear the meatballs until they’re browned on all sides and cooked through. When done, remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. To the same, hot pan (that still has all those delicious brown bits from the meatballs!), add the two jars of Egunsi Foods’ Obe Ata West African Tomato Soup. Add the meatballs back in.
  5. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer the meatballs for an additional 30 minutes.
  6. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with your favorite pasta or bread of choice. Enjoy!

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