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Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

Turkey is probably not the first meat that comes to mind when you think of of Asian food, but these tasty turkey meatballs with an Asian-style dipping sauce prove that they are actually the perfect pair.

For the basis of these meatballs, we chose turkey, which is rich in immune-system boosting nutrients like iron, potassium and zinc.. and because it is the perfect flavorful, healthy protein alternative! Another bonus — the lean protein in turkey will fill you up and keep you fuller longer than many other party snacks and appetizers.

These meatballs are juicy and tender and loaded with plenty of sticky, sweet sauce. We used fresh ingredients, like ginger, garlic and authentic sake to create a sauce that is full of delicious Asian flavors. We then combine it with meatballs made with only 6 ingredients — such as freshly-ground turkey, onions, garlic and sesame oil.

There are no fillers, preservatives or other weird ingredients that you will usually find in frozen, store-bought meatballs here! The meatballs are then coated in a thick glaze of our sweet and savory sauce and then baked to a golden brown perfection. These meatballs are low in fat but full of flavor; they taste so great, nobody will think of them as a health food!

You can bake up a bunch of these quickly which makes them a great appetizer for a potluck dinner, cocktail party or to be enjoyed while watching the big game on TV. You can also add some rice, noodles, vegetables or zucchini noodles and serve these as a main dish.

If you are pressed for time on the big day, you can make your meatballs in advance and freeze them and then toss them in your sauce before serving. If you like a little extra kick, add some Sriracha sauce or chilies to your glaze. Skewer these up and garnish them with sesame seeds and a sprinkling of green onions, and these will look as great as they taste!

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Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce


Turkey meatballs with Asian dipping sauce

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup dry sake
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons rice vinegar, plus more for seasoning
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground turkey (white meat)
  • 1 pound ground turkey (dark meat)
  • 3/4 cup white onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

For serving:

  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally

Instructions

  1. In small saucepan, whisk together soy sauce, sake, sugar, vinegar, ginger and hot pepper flakes. Bring mixture to boil and allow to cook over high heat until thickened into glaze, approximately 5 minutes.   
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Set aside half of sauce in small bowl for serving with finished meatballs. Keep remainder of sauce covered with aluminum foil until step 6.
  3. In large bowl, mix well-ground white and dark turkey, white onion, ginger, garlic, sea salt and 1-1/2  teaspoons sesame oil.  
  4. Using hands, form meat mixture into generous 1-tablespoon round meatball. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat process until all meat is made into meatballs.
  5. To large skillet, add 2 teaspoons sesame oil.  Add half (about 20) of meatballs to skillet and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Turn meatballs over, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Brush half of set-aside covered sauce over meatballs. After 1 minute, flip each meatball over with tong, and brush other side with sauce. Cook another 1 minute, or until glazed and cooked completely through. If sauce darkens too quickly, reduce heat.  
  7. Insert bamboo skewer into each meatball and place on serving platter.
  8. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.
  9. Serve immediately.

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