Weeknight Sticky Ginger Sesame Chicken Meatballs.
30 minute Better than takeout Weeknight Sticky Sesame Ginger Chicken Meatballs. Easy homemade Asian inspired chicken meatballs with ginger and sesame, tossed in a sweet, spicy, and extra sticky soy pomegranate sauce. Serve over steamed rice topped with plenty of sesame seeds for a fun and healthy dinner any night of the week. And the best part…these meatballs are made quicker than any take-out meal, and they’re so much healthier too.
Every fall I tend to get stuck in a bit of a “cozy” food rut. I hate to say “rut” because I’m LOVING all my cozy, warming, hearty, creamy, and pasta filled recipes so much. BUT not every day of the week needs a bowl full of gnocchi or a creamy, cheesy soup…
Well, I mean, I wouldn’t complain about that, but the point is, it’s nice to switch things up. Which is where these meatballs come in. These meatballs are different, they’re saucy, so flavorful, and require almost no time to make. Ok, 30-ish minutes, but they’re QUICK and EASY and the sauce is addicting. I wanted to include this recipe as one of my “better than takeout” recipes. But then I wasn’t sure if Asian meatballs are really a takeout thing?
Either way, these remind me of really good takeout style food. But they’re much quicker and so much healthier than ordering out.
And, I know I’ve said this pretty much every time I share a new meatball recipe, but geez, I really cringe at the word meatball. It’s just not the best sounding word, you know?
Let me run you through the details of these meatballs
For the meat, I used ground chicken, but ground pork or turkey will work just as well. I seasoned them up with plenty of green onions, ginger, and garlic. Then oven-baked them on a sheet pan alongside broccoli and vegetables for added color. Plus, I just love the idea of a one-pan dinner. And if you can cook your meat and vegetables at the very same time, why not?
While the meatballs bake, make the sauce. Now here’s the truth, the sauce is really why you should make this recipe. It’s honestly so addicting. Sweet, tangy, a touch spicy and once boiled down, super sticky. The secret ingredient is one of my autumn favorites, pomegranate juice. I know it might sound odd, but please, don’t doubt me here. The pomegranate juice adds sweetness, tanginess, and deep dark color too. It’s one of my favorite ingredients to use within Asian inspired recipes. Plus, I always love the added pop of color, especially this time of year when the pomegranates are so pretty.
The sauce takes only a few minutes to thicken up on the stove. It’s usually ready by the time the meatballs have finished cooking.
Then just toss the sauce with the meatballs and you are done. Yes, that’s it. Nothing fancy here, just simple cooking, but very delicious (pretty healthy food).
Steamed rice, plenty of green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and pomegranate arils. Then drizzle with a generous amount of the extra sauce…because saucy meatballs are the only way to go.
Tip…double the recipe and save the leftovers for quick and easy lunches. The meatballs would also be great atop a chopped salad or served with rice noodles.
Also? These would be a really fun and delicious appetizer for upcoming holiday parties. Little sticky meatballs served on skewers? Yep, perfect finger food for a party.
And if you’re looking for something fresh and healthy…ish for dinner this week, make these meatballs. Or Invite your best friends over for Asian night and impress them with your homemade sticky meatballs.
Add a good Halloween movie and you’ll have the perfect night in!
If you make these weeknight sticky ginger sesame chicken meatballs, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Weeknight 30 Minute Sticky Ginger Sesame Chicken Meatballs
Easy homemade Asian inspired chicken meatballs with ginger and sesame, tossed in a sweet, spicy, and extra sticky soy pomegranate sauce. Serve over steamed rice topped with plenty of sesame seeds.
- 1 pound ground turkey or chicken
- 2 green onions, finely chopped, plus more for serving
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
- black pepper
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets or 1 winter squash, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch wedges
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, or extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup pomegranate juice (equal amounts of apple cider or orange juice are great substitutes)
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce (make sure to use GF, if needed)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, using more or less to taste
- steamed rice, sesame seeds, and pomegranate arils, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
2. Add the chicken, green onions, ginger, garlic, and a pinch of pepper to a bowl. Mix until just combined. Coat your hands with a bit of oil, and roll the meat into tablespoon-size balls (will make 15-20 meatballs) placing them on one side of the prepared baking sheet. The mix will be wet, but it will firm up in the oven. Add the broccoli or winter squash (see notes) to the other side of the baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp and cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, combine the 1 tablespoon oil, the soy sauce, pomegranate juice, hoisin sauce, honey, vinegar, and crushed red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Boil 5-8 minutes, until the sauce thickens and reduces by about 1/3. Remove from the heat.
4. Pour about half the sauce over the meatballs, tossing to combine. Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce coats the meatballs.
5. Serve the meatballs and sauce over bowls of rice topped with additional green onions, pomegranate arils, and sesame seeds. Serve the broccoli on the side.
Homemade Hoisin: in a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon molasses, 1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder, and a pinch of black pepper.
To Freeze the Meatballs: Bake as directed, then freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer for 2 hours. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or simmer in the sauce over low heat for 20 minutes, until thawed, adding water if needed to thin the sauce.
To Freeze the Meatballs in the Sauce: Spoon the meatballs and sauce into a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw overnight in the fridge, then warm on the stove until heated through, about 15 minutes, adding water if needed to thin the sauce.
If Using Winter Squash: the squash might need 15 minutes additional cooking time. I recommend roasting the squash for 15 minutes before adding the meatballs, then add the meatballs to the sheet once the squash is tender.
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