Apparently, there are some people in my state who are really happy right now because of some kind of football game coming up in a couple of weeks. I know this almost makes me un-American, but I have to admit that I have zero interest in football or any other professional sport. I’ve never really learned the rules or the vocabulary of football. And my teacher self has always been bitter about the pay difference between someone who plays ball versus someone who changes and sometimes even saves lives. I’m kind of a Debbie-downer I guess when it comes to sports. I do, however, have a LOT of enthusiasm for things that give me an excuse to feed people delicious food. The Super “Bowl” is really all about making the most super bowl of appetizers or dip, right?
These Asian Turkey Meatballs would be a great protein-packed appetizer for your Super Bowl party, or they are delicious as part of a meal. I really like these meatballs–so much so that I will get a craving for the specific flavor every now and then. I have to be honest, though, not everyone has loved them as much as I do. My kids have some kind of anti-meatball mentality. I have tried several different recipes and types over the years, and they do not like any of them. How can that be? I am not sure that I have met a meatball that I haven’t liked. Kids!? They will lick a grocery cart and think nothing of it, but put a meatball on their plate and they gag. Oy.
These meatballs come together really quickly. I’d say you could prepare and cook them in about 30 minutes total. If you don’t do a lot of cooking, a couple of the ingredients may be unfamiliar to you–panko crumbs, fresh ginger, and sesame oil–but they are all usually easy to find at a regular grocery store.
The meatballs are not at all dry, and they are packed with flavor, especially if you make the dipping sauce as well. I am at a loss for words to describe the flavor–tangy maybe? Sesame oil is found in many Asian foods, and it has a distinct smell and taste that stands out. The fresh lime juice and ginger also add strong flavor. If you are ready to be adventurous and try something different from the standard barbecue meatball, I encourage you to try these. And I hope our team gets a home run or wins the Stanley Cup…or whatever it is, and please pass me the meatballs and the chicken wings and the potato skins. Football might not be so bad after all…
Asian Turkey Meatballs
For the meatballs
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 and 1/4 pounds 93% lean ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced or 1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
For the dipping sauce
- 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 chopped green onion
(Ingredient notes: Sesame oil can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores near the soy sauce and teriyaki marinades. Panko crumbs are just crunchier bread crumbs that will be found near the other boxed bread crumbs, usually in or near the baking aisle. Fresh ginger will be in the produce section; it is a large root-looking thing, usually near leeks, green onions, and fresh herbs. You will not buy the whole root; you just break off a small piece the size that you will need. It is not usually advised to substitute ground ginger for fresh ginger. I also just recently learned that you can store any leftover ginger you have in the freezer and just grate it as needed for other recipes.)
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- Prepare your green onions, ginger, and cilantro. Add ground turkey, panko bread crumbs, egg, salt, green onions, ginger, cilantro, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil to a large bowl. Mix well with your hands.
- Use your hands or a cookie scoop to shape the mixture into appropriate-sized balls and place in a baking pan. (Tip: I used my cookie scoop that holds 1 and 1/2 tablespoons and got 23 meatballs from the recipe. I baked mine in a 7 and 1/2 x 11 inch glass baking pan.)
- Bake for about 13-15 minutes, depending on the size of your meatballs. If in doubt, the meat should register 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.
- While the meatballs are cooking, whisk together the dipping sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Serve meatballs on a platter with toothpicks and dipping sauce for an appetizer or serve as an entree with a little sauce on the side and other side dishes such as a vegetable or rice. (I drizzle a little of the dipping sauce over rice, and it is delish.)
[Note: You can also mix these up ahead of time, form the meatballs, put a lid on the baking pan and refrigerate until ready to cook. Try to set them out of the refrigerator for a little while before baking–to at least get the chill off.]