Lean Cuisine Sweet & Spicy Harissa Meatballs Review

Lean Cuisine Sweet & Spicy Harissa Meatballs

Every now and then, we stumble across a frozen meal that really sparks our curiosity. That’s true for the Lean Cuisine Sweet & Spicy Harissa Meatballs for sure — when we first saw these in the frozen food aisle of our local grocery store, we couldn’t pass them by. It’s been a long time since we had a harissa-based dish, and this looked like it might give that harissa craving a good wallop.

Lean Cuisine isn’t always generous with their meatball portions. We tried their Swedish Meatballs a while back, and we complained that there were only five tiny meatballs in the entire dish. Well, it seems they may have learned their lesson, as the Sweet & Spicy Harissa Meatballs actually have a decent amount of meat. Our dish had seven meatballs, and they weren’t too skimpy. Not bad, Lean Cuisine. Not bad at all.

These are pork-and-beef-based meatballs. Taken on their own, they actually have a pretty nice flavor to them. The beef lends some subtle meatloafy hints to the meatballs, while the pork gives the meat just a subtle hint of sweetness. These meatballs are a pretty substantial step above the ones used in the Swedish Meatballs.

Lean Cuisine Sweet & Spicy Harissa Meatballs

This particular harissa sauce seems to be the cause of much controversy. Some people love it while others think it’s bland. We found it somewhere in the middle. It wasn’t extremely flavorful, but it has a decent taste and there’s just a little bit of kick to it. We wouldn’t really call it sweet or spicy, though, despite the title of this frozen meal. It also has a plasticy smell to it, which we found a bit off-putting.

There’s a rice-and-veggie blend here too, but we found it to be a little bland. The rice is just a plain, old white rice — and white rice isn’t exactly known for its rogue lifestyle of romance and adventure. It’s the veggies, however, where we were the most disappointed. The carrots had the most flavor, while the chickpeas were a bit too dry and barely tasted like anything. We love chickpeas when they’re done right — these ones just aren’t very good. There’s also a bit of spinach and a smattering of yellow pepper bits, but neither of these is all that flavorful here.

We actually found ourselves wanting to eat the meatballs plain, while using the harissa sauce to give some much-needed flavor to the veggie portion.

This is a reasonably low-calorie meal, at only 270 calories. The sodium isn’t bad either — just 540 mg, which is a bit lower than your average frozen food. We wouldn’t go so far as to say this is a healthy food, but it’s really not going to mess up your diet.

The Lean Cuisine Sweet & Spicy Harissa Meatballs may seem like an interesting dish on paper, but it’s nothing special. While we really did enjoy the meatball portion, the rest of the meal had us shrugging our shoulders and saying, “meh.” This is a “Limited Edition” dish, so hopefully Lean Cuisine tweaks the formula a bit and re-releases it later down the road.

To learn more about the nutrition content or ingredients in these Lean Cuisine meatballs, check out our package scans below.

Lean Cuisine Sweet & Spicy Harissa Meatballs

Lean Cuisine Sweet & Spicy Harissa Meatballs