When Tony and I first met he ate completely different than he does now. He was into red meat, burgers, fried food, Papa John’s pizza, tater tots and anything that was cheap and easy.
He’s learned a lot through cooking with me and being exposed to a variety of healthy foods that he never really included in his diet before, such as: avocados, grain free tortillas, more whole grains, grain free granola, salmon, spinach, pears, cherries, tahini, almond butter, dark chocolate, cabbage, broccoli, squash, mangos, etc. I’m incredibly proud of how far he’s come when it come to his every day food choices.
The best part about inspiring someone to change their eating habits is that they generally FEEL better and are happier, too.
That’s exactly what I try to do here at Ambitious Kitchen: inspire you to live a healthy life that feels right for YOU.
When it comes to achieving a healthy lifestyle, we try and have a mindset that’s both approachable and attainable. We eat to feel good and nourish our bodies, but also eat for pleasure and experiences, knowing that food can bring people together and memories are often made around the table with people you love.
These ginger chicken meatballs are the most perfect combination of feel-good eating and nourishing. Plus, they’re absolutely delicious — what more could you want?!
What you’ll need to make ginger chicken meatballs
Because my husband is a big meat eater, I’m always experimenting with how to jazz up lean proteins like chicken, turkey or fish. That’s exactly where the inspiration for these ginger chicken meatballs came in. The meatballs are infused with herbs & spices and then simmered in a creamy Thai-inspired peanut sauce. YUM. Here’s what you’ll need to make them:
- For the meatballs: these ginger chicken meatballs are made with lean ground chicken (or sub ground turkey), an egg, panko breadcrumbs, green onion, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, fresh ginger, cayenne, salt & pepper.
- For the peanut sauce: you’ll simmer the meatballs in a delicious sauce made from light coconut milk (from the can), creamy natural peanut butter, gluten free soy sauce and a little chili paste or sriracha for a kick of heat.
- Veggies: this one pan meal is also packing in plenty of veggies like carrots, red bell pepper and peas.
- Top it off: make this meal extra special by topping it with honey roasted peanuts, scallions, more fresh cilantro and a little hot sauce.
Simple ingredient swaps & tips
Low or out of a few of the ingredients in these ginger chicken meatballs? Here’s what I suggest for swaps:
- You can use either ground chicken or ground turkey. Do not use extra lean or the meatballs will be dry. I recommend using right around 93% lean for best results.
- Feel free to switch up the veggies based on what you have in your fridge. Spinach or broccoli would be a delicious add-in, and so would edamame!
- To keep this recipe gluten free, you can also use coconut flour in place of the breadcrumbs. See below for instructions!
How to make ginger chicken meatballs without breadcrumbs
To keep this recipe gluten free (or if you don’t have any breadcrumbs) you can simply use 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flour in the meatball mixture. I recommend starting with 2 tablespoons and adding from there if needed to shape the meatballs. Two tablespoons always seems to be enough though. If you don’t want to use coconut flour, then I suggest gluten free breadcrumbs.
Can I use a different nut butter?
While the sauce will work texture-wise with almond or cashew butter, I’d highly recommend sticking with a good peanut butter that has lots of flavor and salt so that you maintain that rich, peanutty flavor. The dish will likely be a bit bland with almond or cashew butter.
Prep these meatballs ahead of time
These flavorful ginger chicken meatballs can easily be prepped ahead of time!
- Mix and form the meatballs as directed in the recipe.
- Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and then tightly cover the meatballs with plastic wrap.
- Put the meatballs in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. You can prep these meatballs up to one, or even two days ahead of time.
- Once ready to cook, simply follow the recipe as-written.
Freezer-friendly ginger chicken meatballs
Bake first, then freeze: simply place your meatballs and peanut sauce in a freezer safe, airtight container or bag and freeze it all for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, let your container of meatballs + sauce thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, and then empty the contents into a pan on the stovetop. Heat them in your pan until they’re nice and warm, and then serve!
Freeze before baking: you can also freeze these meatballs before cooking them! Form your meatballs as instructed, place them on a baking sheet, and put them in the freezer for 1-2 hours. This is called a flash freeze. Then, transfer your frozen meatballs to an airtight, freezer-friendly bag or container and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw them, simply place them in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight and then cook them in the peanut sauce as directed in the recipe.
What to serve with ginger chicken meatballs
Serve them with any of the following to soak up all the extra sauce:
- Brown rice or forbidden rice (aka black rice)
- Sweet potato noodles or zucchini noodles
- Rice or ramen noodles
- Cauliflower rice
- Or some garlic naan!
More healthy meatball recipes to try
I hope you love these incredible one pan ginger chicken meatballs with peanut sauce! If you make them be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!
One Pan Ginger Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce
Incredible one pan ginger chicken meatballs with a Thai inspired peanut sauce. This easy weeknight dinner is loaded with veggies & protein and is perfect for meal prep! Serve with brown rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, or your favorite spiralized veggie noodles.
- For the meatballs:
- 1 pound 93% lean ground chicken (or lean ground turkey)
- 1 egg
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs (or if GF sub 2 tablespoons coconut flour)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
- ¼ cup finely diced cilantro
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (can also use avocado oil, coconut oil or olive oil)
- For the peanut sauce:
- 1 (15 ounce) can light coconut milk
- 1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter (just peanuts + salt)
- 2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
- 1 tablespoon chili paste or sriracha
- 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- 2/3 cup frozen peas (or edamame)
- To garnish:
- Chopped honey roasted peanuts
- Diced scallions
- Fresh cilantro
- Hot sauce, if desired
In a large bowl, add the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, green onion, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, ginger, cayenne, salt and pepper. Use clean hands to mix and form into 16 golf ball sized meatballs.
Place a large deep skillet over medium-high heat and add in sesame oil. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, about 5-6 minutes total. You may need to do this in batches, depending on how many meatballs you can fit in your skillet without overcrowding them. When meatballs are done browning, transfer to a plate and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce and chili paste to the same skillet. Whisk together until well combined. Add in carrots, then add the meatballs back in and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove lid and gently stir in the peas and red bell pepper. Simmer for 5 more minutes uncovered. Serve with brown rice, quinoa or with spiralized zucchini or sweet potato. There will be lots of sauce, which makes it delicious! Garnish with chopped honey-roasted peanuts, scallions, cilantro. Serves 4.
How to bake then freeze: place your meatballs and peanut sauce in a freezer safe, airtight container or bag and freeze it all for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, let your container of meatballs + sauce thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, and then empty the contents into a pan on the stovetop. Heat them in your pan until they’re nice and warm, and then serve!
How to freeze before baking: form your meatballs as instructed, place them on a baking sheet, and put them in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Then, transfer your frozen meatballs to an airtight, freezer-friendly bag or container and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw them, simply place them in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight and then cook them in the peanut sauce as directed in the recipe.
Recipe by: Monique Volz of Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eat