A quick, delicious, and healthy weeknight dinner. The meatballs are made with lean ground turkey to keep them light and healthy and smothered in a delicious, sweet and spicy glaze. The rich meatballs are paired with a refreshing carrot salad and fresh avocado to round out the meal.
This is my husband and I’s new favorite weeknight meal. It’s quick and packed with flavor!
I’m slightly obsessed with Asian cuisine. I love how many different flavor profiles are packed into one meal: sweet, spicy, salty, and acidic. It makes for a fun, delicious bite.
I wanted to capture all those great flavors in a quick weeknight meal. A meatball seemed like the perfect vehicle. They are easy and inexpensive to make, hard to overcook, and a blank canvas to add spices and flavors.
I also wanted to add some freshness to the dish. The night I planned to make the meal, I saw an awesome idea on ABC’s The Chew. It was a simple carrot salad with vinegar, sugar, and oil (almost like a quick pickle). I took this idea and put my own twist on it. I knew the freshness and simplicity of the carrot salad would pair perfectly with the rich, flavor intense meatballs.
This meal has become a weeknight staple in our home. I almost always have all of the Asian condiments, ground turkey, and carrots on hand and it takes only 30 minutes to put together. Plus, it’s super yummy and satisfying!
Let’s get to cooking.
The first step is to make the meatballs. These come together in minutes. You just combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix it until it’s all combined. I like to use my hands so I can gently mix the meatball mix and do not overwork the meat (which will lead to a dense meatball).
You can use a spatula here as well, just be sure to be careful not to press down too hard on the meat or overstir. The more you work the meat, the better chance the meatball will come out tough.
Next, use a small ice cream/cookie scoop to scoop out even amounts of the meatball mixture and shape them into balls with your hand.
Place the meatballs on a coking sheet, spray with a little cooking spray, and bake for 20 minutes, flipping half way through so both sides are evenly browned.
While the meatballs cook, you can make the carrot salad and sauce.
The carrot salad is simple to make. Just combine fresh carrot ribbons with rice wine vinegar, a splash olive oil, and touch honey, and a dash fresh mint and cilantro. Oh and a little sea salt to make those flavors POP. That’s it. It seems to good to be true – how could that be it. But this simple salad has so much flavor from the acidic vinegar, robust honey, and vibrant herbs. It a beautiful bite!
Ok now for the show stopper of the meal. The honey siracha glaze. This sauce showcases everything I love about Asian cuisine: a combination of unique flavors that all marry together perfectly.
To make the sauce, combine chicken broth, soy, mirin, brown sugar, honey, and sriracha in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. This helps to flavors combine and starts to slightly thicken the sauce. Bring it back down to a simmer.
I like the sauce pretty spicy, so I added three tablespoons of Sriracha (you can add less if you want a little less heat).
To get it to a glaze like consistency, I also use a cornstarch slurry. A slurry is an equal amount of cornstarch and COLD water (here 1 ½ tablespoons each). It needs to be cold for it to activate and thicken the sauce. Add the slurry to the sauce and bring it back to a boil. It will start to thicken quickly. Once you have it to the desired consistency, remove the sauce from the meat.
Once the meatballs are cooked, throw them in the sauce and make sure each meatball is evenly coated in the delicious sauce.
The meal is done. Pile some meatballs on your plate with a side of the carrot ribbon salad. I also added an avocado to add some creamy fatty goodness. Plus, I love avocado and add it to everything!
You could also add white or brown rice to the dish. The rice would soak up all of the saucy goodness and make for a magical bite.
Either way, this meal is delicious. The meatballs are rich in flavor but light in texture, the sauce is sweet, acidic, and perfectly spicy, and the carrot salad adds a much needed bright, refreshing pop to make it a well-balanced meal.
Give it a try! I am confident it will become a staple in your house too!
Honey Sriracha Meatballs with Ribbon Carrot Salad
Sweet and spicy turkey meatballs with a healthy, fresh carrot salad.
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 beaten egg
- ½ cup whole wheat panko crumbs
- 3 green onions chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger minced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon soy
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons soy
- 2 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons sriracha
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cold water
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 carrots shaved into ribbons
- 2 ½ T rice wine vinegar
- 1 t sesame oil
- 1 t honey
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients and stir until evenly mixed. With a small ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop out about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball. Complete until all the mixture is used. Place meatballs on a greased baking sheet.
Spray the meatballs with a little more cooking spray on the tops so they brown. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping half way through.
While the meatballs cook, make the sauce by combining all of the sauce ingredients except the cornstarch in a sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then lower to a simmer.
Stir together the cold water and cornstarch to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the sauce mixture and bring the sauce back up to a boil until the sauce thickens. Once thickened take off the heat.
Add the cooked meatball to the sauce and stir until all the meatballs are well coated.
To make the dressing for the carrot salad, combine the vinegar, honey, sesame oil and fresh herbs. Pour dressing over salad. Add salt to taste.
Serve and meatballs and carrot salad and enjoy!