Ginger, Lemongrass and Mint Turkey Meatballs

For one of my more recent Monday Night Dinners, I decided to make it an appetizer night.  I was itching to host a party and other than my regulars, it just seemed that everyone I knew was busy with holiday gatherings and obligations, which happens.  But, instead of wallowing, I chose to make a party out of Monday Night!  I always forget how much more time goes into hosting an appetizer event.  You have multiple courses and many more ingredients to work with.  I must say it is fun experimenting and the outcome was quite delightful!

I have a crush on William Sonoma.  I just love the quality of the products they sell and the fact that their staff is so well versed on their product makes it a joy to go into the store.  Okay gushing is over.  Anyway, I took inspiration from the Chicken Meatball Appetizer they have on their site and tweaked it a bit.  They didn’t have any binding, so I added egg and breadcrumbs.  Also, ground chicken isn’t as easy to find as ground turkey, so that was an obvious substitute.  Finally, I added fresh mint and the addition of a Dilled Cucumber Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce and voila a protein appetizer was enjoyed by all.  The dipping sauce is Greek influenced, but the coolness of the cucumber and lemon really tie this in together.  If you want to keep to an Asian sauce, maybe a Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce would be great too!  I think you can turn this into a meal by adding some couscous or coconut cilantro lime rice (hmmmm…I will have to write down that recipe for you one day).

I love how the lemongrass, mint and ginger just makes these meatballs so light and fresh tasting.  Lemongrass is tricky to find sometimes, but I can usually always find it at Whole Foods.  It does have such a unique flavor all it’s own and while this isn’t the greatest substitute, I think if you zest a lemon you will get the general idea of lemongrass.  It won’t taste the same, but it will add that citrus undertone that makes these meatballs so delightful.

Lemongrass, Mint and Ginger Turkey Meatballs

 Ginger, Lemongrass and Mint Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 lb 93% Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Asian Fish Sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced Lemongrass (white part only)
  • 1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped Mint
  • 1/2 tbsp grated Ginger (a microplane is awesome for this)
  • 1-2 tsp of Garlic Chili Paste (optional if you want to add spice.  Sriracha works too)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 cup Plain Breadcrumbs (although the seasoned would be fine too)
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 4 Green Onions thinly sliced
  • 1 Iceberg or Butter Lettuce, cut into taco bowls
  • 2 Limes cut in eights for serving
  • 1 serving of Dilled Cucumber Greek Yogurt Sauce (recipe below)
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl place the ground turkey, soy sauce, fish sauce, lemongrass, cilantro, mint, ginger, optional chili garlic paste, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper in it.  Mix until well incorporated.  If still very sticky mix a few more (@1-2 tbsps worth) of breadcrumbs into the meat mixture.
  3. Roll the meat mixture into small meatball shapes and place on a greased sheet pan.  You should get around 15-20 meatballs.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatball is 165 degrees.
  5. To serve, place one meatball into a lettuce “taco” cup, sprinkle a few chopped onions on top and squeeze some fresh lime juice.  You can also spoon @ 1 tbsp of the Dilled Cucumber Greek Yogurt Sauce on top of the meatball if you wish.

Dilled Cucmber Greek Yogurt Sauce

 Dilled Cucumber Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce

  • 1 (6oz container) of Greek Yogurt (your choice of fat content)
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh Dill, minced
  • 1/8 cup fresh Mint, chiffonade
  • 1/2 peeled and de-seeded cucumber, grated on a box grater
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine all the ingredients together and taste for the salt and pepper making adjustments as needed.  Put into a bowl, cover with Saran Wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving so the flavors can “meld” together.

These are an obvious appetizer, but they would also be great for a light lunch.  If you ditch the lettuce cups and dipping sauce, you can make an Asian chow mein and serve the meatballs with it like Asian spaghetti and meatballs.  Now go and make a family night dinner of your own…Clink!

 

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