Sweet & Spicy Sesame Chicken Meatball Bowls
Delicious one pan sesame chicken meatballs with crispy broccoli and a sweet and spicy ginger sesame sauce. These flavorful, protein-packed sesame chicken meatball bowls make the best weeknight dinner served with coconut rice, brown rice or quinoa! Customize these bowls with your fav sides & garnishes.
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We’re combining a few of my favorite dinner recipes into one today and I couldn’t be more excited. If you’ve been making AK recipes for a little while you know my love for super unique, flavorful meatballs runs deep (UM HELLO, the best ginger chicken meatballs in peanut sauce) and today I have a new meatball recipe that will knock your socks off.
These sesame chicken meatballs are super juicy and absolutely delicious paired with crispy broccoli. Everything is simmered in a wonderful sweet and spicy sesame ginger sauce that’s lick-the-plate good. There are hints of fresh ginger and herbs, plus some red chili paste in every bite for a little spice. Add your fav sides like my fluffy coconut rice for the perfect sesame chicken meatball bowls that make the best meal prep!
This recipe combines all of the best parts of a stir fry with flavors from this yummy noodle dish and throws it in an irresistible bowl of flavor that you’ll come back to time and time again. I’ve included tons of different ways to serve these meatballs so that no two times will be the same! What are you waiting for?! Cook everything up in one pan and enjoy the perfect weeknight dinner.
What you’ll need to make these sesame chicken meatball bowls
There’s something so satisfying about a warm bowl of delicious flavors that all come together. These protein-packed bowls have juicy sesame chicken meatballs, crisp stir-fried broccoli, an incredible sauce and your fav grains to tie it all together. OH and you’ll just need one pan for the meatballs and veggies! Here’s what you’ll need to make them:
- For the sweet & spicy sauce: you’ll need soy sauce, some water, sesame oil, sesame seeds, fresh ginger, red chili paste, garlic, brown sugar and arrowroot or cornstarch to thicken it up.
- For the meatballs: we’re using some lean ground chicken, an egg, panko breadcrumbs, diced up cilantro & green onion, fresh ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper to get super flavorful, juicy meatballs. You’ll also need toasted sesame oil to cook them.
- For the broccoli: all you’ll need is chopped up broccoli and sesame oil!
- For serving: we love to serve these meatballs with my famous coconut rice and garnish the bowls with scallions, cilantro and chopped roasted peanuts. SO GOOD.
Customize your meatball bowls
The ginger sesame chicken meatballs and the bowls themselves are easy to customize with what you have on hand. Here’s what I can recommend:
- Make them gluten free: feel free to use gluten free breadcrumbs or 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flour to keep the meatballs gluten free. Be sure to also use gluten free soy sauce, coconut aminos, or tamari.
- Swap your veggies: we love these bowls with broccoli, but green beans or brussels sprouts would also be delicious! Feel free to add more veggies, too, like red bell pepper, carrots, snow peas, and mushrooms.
- Go paleo and/or grain free: use the above method for making the meatballs gluten & grain free, and then serve everything with cauliflower rice, sweet potato noodles or zucchini noodles! You’ll also want to use coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar, and coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce to keep the sauce paleo.
More protein options
If you’re out of ground chicken feel free to use ground turkey or even cubed chicken breast in this recipe.
Make this recipe vegan or vegetarian
To keep it vegan or vegetarian, use extra firm tofu and follow this method:
- Remove all excess water and liquid from the tofu by pressing it out.
- Cube the tofu and use it instead of chicken in step 3. You’ll want to get it nice and crispy and golden as much as you can.
- Follow the rest of the recipe as written!
Get extra saucy
feel free to double the sauce mixture in the recipe. We’ve had comments that readers felt like there wasn’t enough sauce, but this is likely due to the fact that the heat was too high and evaporated/cooked down most of the sauce quickly.
How to make sesame chicken meatball bowls
You’ll just need one pan and a few simple steps to put these delicious bowls together!
- Make your sauce. Start by whisking together the sweet & spicy sauce until it’s well combined.
- Shape the meatballs. Add all of the ingredients for the sesame chicken meatballs to a large bowl and use clean hands to form 16 golf ball sized meatballs. See our tip below for preventing any sticking!
- Cook the meatballs. Next, cook all of the meatballs completely in a little sesame oil. You may need to do this in batches depending on how large your skillet is.
- Cook the broccoli. Remove the cooked meatballs from your skillet and crisp up the broccoli in a little more sesame oil. Make sure it still has a bite to it but has some nice golden char in places!
- Mix in the sauce. Add your meatballs back to the skillet with the broccoli and pour over that sweet & spicy sauce. Cook everything on low for a couple minutes to let the sauce thicken up a bit.
- Make your side & serve! Finally, add your meatballs and broccoli to a bowl with some cooked rice (or any of the sides we love below) and top with scallions, cilantro and chopped peanuts, if you’d like!
Don’t forget this trick when forming meatballs
If you’re using your hands to form meatballs, I recommend wetting your hands, coating them in a little olive oil or spraying them with a little nonstick cooking spray to prevent the mixture from sticking. So easy!
Try adding these to your sesame chicken meatball bowls
As I mentioned, these meatballs are incredible served with my go-to coconut rice recipe, but they’re also amazing served with:
- My homemade green rice
- Black rice (or forbidden rice)
- Sweet potato or zucchini noodles
- Cauliflower rice for a grain free, low carb option
- Fluffy quinoa
- Rice noodles — try adding the meatballs & broccoli to this recipe!
Make-ahead chicken meatballs
Looking to save a little time? You can actually make these meatballs ahead of time and cook them up when you’re ready.
- Mix and form the meatballs as directed in the recipe.
- Cook them as directed and store them in the fridge for up to 2-3 days until you’re ready to continue with the recipe, OR place them raw on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Tightly cover the meatballs with plastic wrap.
- Put the raw meatballs in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. You can prep these meatballs 1-2 days ahead of time.
- Once ready to cook, simply follow the recipe as written. Start at step 4 of the recipe if you’ve already cooked your meatballs ahead of time.
Freezer-friendly meatballs 2 different ways
- Cook first, then freeze: simply place your ginger sesame chicken meatballs, sauce and broccoli in a freezer-safe, airtight container or bag and freeze it all for up to 3 months. *Be sure to not overcook the broccoli when freezing. When you’re ready to enjoy, let your container of meatballs, sauce & broccoli 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 cooking: 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 your skillet as directed in the recipe.
More one pan meals you’ll love
- One Pan Sazon Skillet Chicken
- Sheet Pan Moroccan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Cauliflower
- One Pan Ginger Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce
- One Pan Creamy Thai Peanut Chicken Couscous
- Firecracker Chicken Meatballs with Cilantro Coconut Pineapple Rice
Get all of our delicious one pan meals here!
I hope you love these sweet & spicy sesame chicken meatball bowls! If you make them be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!
Sweet & Spicy Sesame Chicken Meatball Bowls
Delicious sesame chicken meatballs with crispy broccoli and a sweet and spicy ginger sesame sauce. These flavorful, protein-packed sesame chicken meatball bowls make the best weeknight dinner served with coconut rice, brown rice or quinoa! Customize these bowls with your fav sides & garnishes.
- Sweet and Spicy Ginger Sesame Sauce:
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon red chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch (or sub cornstarch)
- For the meatballs:
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 pound lean ground chicken (or sub ground turkey)
- 1 egg
- ½ cup panko or gluten free breadcrumbs
- 2 green onions, finely diced (about ¼ cup green onion)
- ½ cup finely diced cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the broccoli:
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 3-4 cups broccoli florets
- For serving:
- Coconut rice or brown rice
- Chopped roasted peanuts
In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, water, sesame oil, sesame seeds, red chili paste, ginger, garlic, brown sugar and arrowroot (or corn) starch.
In a large bowl, add the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, green onion, cilantro, 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 and cook until done and the meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F. This should take about 10-12 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 the meatballs are done cooking, transfer them to a plate and set aside. Keep the heat in the pan.
Wipe the skillet clean and add in 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Next add in broccoli florets, and cook, stirring frequently, for 6-8 minutes or until broccoli is slightly tender but still has a bite. The broccoli should get somewhat charred and slightly golden and crispy in places. Yum!
Add chicken meatballs back to the pan with the broccoli and pour the sauce over, simmer on low until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2-5 minutes.
Serve over rice of choice (we love my coconut rice!) and top with scallions, cilantro and chopped peanuts if desired.
Tip: to keep the ground chicken/turkey from sticking to your hands, wet your hands or spray them with nonstick cooking spray or coat them in a little oil before forming the meatballs.
To make paleo and/or gluten free: sub 2-3 tablespoons coconut flour instead of using breadcrumbs.
If you like it extra saucy: feel free to double the sauce mixture in the recipe. We've had comments that readers felt like there wasn't enough sauce, but this is likely due to the fact that the heat was too high and evaporated/cooked down most of the sauce quickly.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
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