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. 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.