“Saucy” Asian Inspired Turkey Meatballs

First, my apologies for not blogging as much as usual.  I recently had a surgery–don’t worry, nothing real serious–and to be completely honest, I just haven’t had much energy.  Instead of cooking and baking, I’ve been laying around watching absolutely too much television.

Too much Lifetime television–with my friend, Megan–to be precise.

Haha… but yeah, that’s the reason for my disappearance.  I start back to work tomorrow, so I’m hoping my life gets back to its normal routine sooner rather than later.

Saucy Asian Turkey Meatballs

Saucy Asian Turkey Meatballs

Although I haven’t really felt well the last month, I did muster up the energy to make Piyush a really simple Asian inspired dinner.
Devo Olive Oil Company had sent me some of their Japanese Toasted Sesame Oil to try, and I couldn’t wait to start creating!


I love Devo’s oils and vinegars.  There are so many fabulous flavors and I find they can turn a good meal into an incredible meal!

This particular dish was inspired by my niece, Madelyn,  actually.  One day when I was watching her she told me she wanted “nuggies.”

I didn’t have any chicken on hand and I definitely did not have any “nuggies”, but I did have some turkey.  I also had tons of vegetables.  Knowing that she loves rice, I decided we’d add some spices and seasonings to the turkey and make “Chinese Nuggies.”   I always think it’s fun to introduce her to new foods.




Madelyn had so much fun helping me make her “nuggies” and I was excited that she didn’t care what vegetables I was adding to the mixture (she’s kind of a picky eater).  As long as she could stir it…she’d eat it.

The meatballs were missing a little something though, and that something turned out to be sesame oil!


I find making meatballs with lean, ground turkey meat can be a challenge.  The meatballs tend to be quite dry…and nobody likes a dry meatball.  To combat this, I make a mixture of veggies–always including mushrooms–to give the meatball some extra flavor and some much needed moisture.


Ground up veggie mixture

I toss everything in a bowl and add in my spices, herbs and flavorings.

Meatball mixture coming together...

Adding Devo’s Japanese Toasted Sesame Oil to the meatball mixture

I added in all the remaining ingredients, stirred everything really well and then formed the balls.

Asian Inspired Turkey Meatball

Asian Inspired Turkey Meatball

Once all the meat was rolled into balls, I tossed my cast iron pan on the stove top.  I added a little bit of oil and turned the heat to medium-high.  Once the oil was hot enough, I lightly browned the meatballs.  I wanted to finish them in the oven, so cooking them through was not necessary.

Pan-Searing Meatballs

Pan-Searing Meatballs

Once they were all nicely browned, I popped them into a preheated 350 degree F oven and let them bake for about 10 minutes, until they were cooked through.

Meanwhile, I tossed some diced zucchini, beans and mushrooms into the same cast iron pan I used to sear the meatballs.  I added a little salt and pepper, covered the pan and let the veggies steam.  Once they were done cooking I set them aside and started making a sauce.

Because I knew Piyush would complain if I served him meatballs without some sort of sauce, I made a real quick  Asian inspired pan sauce.  The sauce was super easy.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take any pictures of the process.  But it’s simple, I promise.

I used the same cast iron pan that both the meatballs and the veggies were cooked in.  I added some chicken stock, a little sake, sesame oil, brown sugar, soy sauce and a tiny splash of rice wine vinegar.  I thickened the sauce with a slurry made of cornstarch and chicken broth.

Once the sauce was done, I put the meatballs back into the pan.  I thought maybe they’d soak up some of the saucy goodness…and they did!

Asian Inspired Turkey Meatballs

Asian Inspired Turkey Meatballs

Piyush was very pleased!  He told me that it tasted like something he’d order at a restaurant.  That, my friends, is the very best compliment this cook could ever expect.

Asian Turkey Meatballs

Asian Turkey Meatballs

Asian Inspired Turkey Meatballs

(Serves 4-6 as an entree)

Ingredients for Meatballs:

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey breast
  • 4 oz. mushrooms (whole or sliced)
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/8 c. zucchini, grated (you can substitute this for any other veg. you’d like)
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2″ piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • small handful fresh corriander (cilantro)
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Devo Japanese Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 2 tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds (optional)
  • vegetable oil, for searing meatballs


  • Combine mushrooms, onions, carrots, zucchini, garlic, ginger and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor. Process until everything is finely minced.
  • In a large bowl, add the ground turkey and vegetable mixture.  Stir to combine.
  • Once everything is well mixed, add soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, white pepper, bread crumbs and sesame seeds.  Mix everything together everything is well combined.
  • Form meat mixture into balls.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, preferably cast iron, add a little oil. Turn the heat to medium-high. Once the oil is hot, add a few meatballs to the pan.  Be careful not to overcrowd them.  Once the meatballs begin to brown, turn them so that all sides begin to color.  About 2 minutes.  Once the meatballs have browned, remove them from the pan and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Once all the meatballs have browned, arrange them on a baking sheet.  Bake the meatballs for about 10 minutes or until they are cooked through.
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce (recipe to follow) and enjoy!

Sauce Recipe:

(may be doubled if you prefer extra sauce)


  • 1 3/4 c. chicken stock, divided
  • 1/4 c. sake (optional.  If not using sake, substitute with chicken stock)
  • 1-2 tsp. Devo Japanese Toasted Sesame Oil, to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp. brown sugar (more if you like a sweeter sauce)
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • tiny splash of rice wine vinegar
  • salt/pepper, to taste (you probably won’t need additional salt)


  • Using the same pan that you used to brown your meatballs, add 1 cup of chicken stock, sake, sesame oil, brown sugar, and soy sauce.  Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil.  
  • While you wait for the sauce to boil, add 3/4 c. chicken stock and 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch into a jar.  Twist the lid on the jar and shake vigorously until the cornstarch dissolves in the chicken stock.
  • Once the sauce mixture comes to a boil, give the cornstarch mixture a good shake and then whisk it into the sauce.  Also add the rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  Keep whisking the sauce until it thickens up to your desired consistency.  If it gets too thick, add a little water.
Asian Inspired Meatballs in Brown Sauce

Asian Inspired Meatballs in Brown Sauce

And because one batch makes quite a lot of meatballs, here’s two other ways you could serve them:


They’d make excellent appetizers for the holidays!

Asian Meatball Sub

Asian Meatball Sub

Turn the leftover meatballs into a Meatball Sub Sandwich!

This was Piyush’s favorite… I put the meatballs and some sauce on a lightly toasted roll.  This would be awesome if you had some pickled Asian vegetables to garnish…I, unfortunately, did not.

20 thoughts on ““Saucy” Asian Inspired Turkey Meatballs

  1. daisyandthefox

    hope the surgery went all to plan! and watching TV has got to be one of the most relaxing things to do – a great way to spend recovery! 🙂
    these meatballs look so wonderfully yummy!! love all those asian flavors 🙂

    1. Shari Post author

      Thank you! The surgery went well…just took a little longer than I expected to feel “normal” again.

      I don’t think meatballs are very common in Asian cuisine (maybe they are?), but I thought…why not? haha

  2. Allison

    These sound great! And I love the story of how this recipe came about! So cute. Hope you have a speedy recovery from your surgery and get back your energy to cook again! (Although without any such excuse myself, I’ve also had less energy to cook than usual, and have been watching too much tv… maybe it’s just December! 🙂 )

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  4. Cubicle

    Wow those look really delicious! I’m always thinking of a way to “change things up” a bit and this sounds like a good recipe to try. Especially that sesame oil!

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  6. Laura Tosto

    I made these delicious meatballs tonight. My family LOVED them, my daughter said they tasted like the filling for dumplings. We ate them on a bed of stir fry..cabbage, squash, mushrooms. So yummy! Thank you for sharing something so wonderful.

    1. Shari Post author

      I’m so happy that you and your family enjoyed the meatballs! Thank you so much for letting me know you tried them! 🙂


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