“Dawoud Basha” or Lebanese Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

The word ‘basha’ is derived from the Turkish/Ottoman Peerage rank, Pasha, and can be roughly translated to the English “Lord”. In Arabic slang, it is more of an honorary title. Dawoud Basha was an Ottoman Lord that was evidently known to be a tyrant. None of these things have much to do with the dish, but we thought it may be helpful for you all to know what you were trying to pronounce. While this dish remains complex and flavorful, it can easily be turned kid-friendly by blending the onions & tomato broth to create a homogenous mixture.

Dawoud Basha 03

Prep & cook time: 1 hour
Serves: 4


1 pound 90/10 grass fed ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons peanut oil

Tomato Sauce

3 medium sized carrots, cut into circles
1 large onion, cut into thin half-moon slices
2 tbsp. white whole wheat flour
4 tbsp. tomato paste (find one in a glass jar to make it BPA-free!)
6 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth, heated

To be served with two cups of white or brown rice & a side salad.



  1. Mix four ingredients in bowl with hands (wear gloves if preferred).
  2. Roll meat mixture into 1 to 1.5 inch balls.
  3. Heat oil in a pot (ideally you would use a skillet, but we are making this a one-pot meal), and cook meatballs for 5-7 minutes on medium heat in one to two batches, depending on size of pot.
  4. Place meatballs on a plate and set aside.

Tomato Sauce

  1. Using remaining oil from meatballs, sauté onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add carrots and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of flour to mixture and stir very well. Continue to sauté over medium heat for another 3 minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste, and sauté mix together for a final 3 minutes.
  5. Add heated vegetable broth to mixture. Stir very well with a wooden spoon or a whisk until all tomato paste is dissolved. Once this has been achieved, cover and set on medium to medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Add meatballs to tomato mixture, and close lid once more. Allow flavors to marry on medium-low heat for a final 10 minutes.

Serve Dawoud Basha with rice & a side salad. And sahtein—or deux healths!


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