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pouring-30Minute-Clean-Skillet-Thai-Turkey-Meatballs

Today is not a story day. Today is super awesome meatballs day! I got my new dishwasher that can even make Thai meatballs.:) In all seriousness, we have a deal: I make the meatballs and he does the dirty job. And he knows his job really well.

Meatballs don’t have to be smothered in tomato sauce, nor they have to be simmered for hours. They can have your favourite Thai flavours, be cooked in a skillet, within 30 minutes. Clean dinner can be really ready that fast.

They also do not have to contain eggs, bread or breadcrumbs. I found with Cumin Zucchini Turkey Burger & later on with Crockpot Italian Zucchini Meatloaf, that shredded zucchini makes any ground meat tender and juicy.

skillet-closeup-30Minute-Clean-Skillet-Thai-Turkey-Meatballs

And a little secret, use any meat you have on hand. We cook a lot of game meat, so I used venison for this recipe. But because I realize most people are normal and do not hunt, I’m giving you an option to use turkey, beef or buffalo.

These Thai Turkey (or not) Meatballs are full of your favourite Thai flavours like curry paste, fish sauce, ginger, basil, green onions and coconut milk. Both, the sauce and the meat. And the nice thing is, they take only 30 minutes.

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You don’t even need to cook the meatballs through. Just until browned on all sides.

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Then you add the sauce…

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Very simple sauce: coconut milk, tomato paste, curry paste and fish sauce. Add as many hot pepper flakes as you like. Kaffir lime leaves are optional, but give the sauce a nice sweet touch. You can find them dried, in any asian store.

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We served the meatballs with organic short grain brown rice. You can easily get away with whole wheat spaghetti or even quinoa.

skillet-30Minute-Clean-Skillet-Thai-Turkey-Meatballs

30 Minute Clean Thai Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

30 Minute Clean Thai Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

Ingredients

    For Meatballs:
  • 2 lbs ground turkey, extra lean
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded & liquid squeezed out
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk, light (canned)
  • 1/8 tsp hot pepper chill flakes
  • Cooking spray (I use Misto)
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 + 1/2 cup coconut milk, light (canned)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/8 tsp hot pepper chili flakes, or to taste
  • 5-6 kaffir lime leaves (optional)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for meatballs, mix with your hands thoroughly. Make 28 meatballs by spooning heaping 1 tbsp of mixture and rolling between your hands. Lay on a cutting board or plate. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside.
  3. Preheat large, 12" or larger, skillet on high, spray with cooking spray. Add meatballs and cook until brown, for about 2-3 minutes. No need to cook the meatballs through. Add the sauce, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Serve warm with brown rice or brown rice noodles. Add garnish like fresh cilantro and green onions.
  4. Storage Instructions: Refrigerate covered for up to 3 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
http://ifoodreal.com/30-minute-clean-thai-turkey-zucchini-meatballs/

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 28

Amount Per Serving = 1 meatball + 1-2 tsp sauce:
Calories: 47.9
Total Fat: 1.3 g
Cholesterol: 12.7 mg
Sodium: 170.4 mg
Total Carbs: 1.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 7.6 g
WW Points+: 1

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79 Responses to “30 Minute Clean Thai Turkey Zucchini Meatballs”

    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Yeah, you could easily make the meatballs vegan. What would you use? Veggies? Tofu? Imitation ground beef?

      Reply
  1. Lamia

    Hi ! I did this dish yesterday. It was one of de best meatballs I had. I replaced the coconut milk with passata+essentiel coconut oil (we don’t have this milk in light version in Brussels); green curry past, fish sauce, soja sauce, salt, red peper and a half lemon juice. I ate it with konjac noodles. It was easy, fast, tasty, delicious. The meatballs I had were made with beef, cilantro, onions, no zuccini. Conclusion: one of the BEST. DISH. EVER.

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Yes. That’s exactly what I was thinking creating these.:) Thank you.:)

      Reply
      • Jen Bareholtz

        Hi, I was wondering about the zucchini, Am I supposed to
        steam it first and then drain water. Wasn’t sure what you meant by squeezed out. Also, Do you think it is too spicy for kids? My kids like a kick but not too spicy. Let me know if you think anything should be substituted.

        Thanks,
        Jen

        Reply
        • Olena

          Hi Jen. No steaming required. Grate raw zucchini and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. These are great for kids. My kids loved these and their taste buds are similar to your kids’. Not too spicy. Enjoy!

          Reply
  2. Holly

    Olena~ Thanks for posting this delicious recipe. I tried it the other night and it was a hit with both me and my husband. I added a little bit of sriracha chili sauce on top and it added a nice extra kick (we like things spicy down here in Texas!) The meatballs were extremely moist just as promised :) We had to run a quick errand right after I finished dish so I just left it on the stovetop until we returned. A friend needed to come over and borrow something from our house so we just left our house open so he could run in and grab it while we were gone. He confessed that as he came into the house, he could smell this amazing aroma coming from the kitchen. He couldn’t resist and helped himself to a couple of meatballs while we were gone! He confessed the next day when we saw him again :) I was honored that I executed the recipe and pleased not only my family but someone else as well. Thanks again for the quick and delicious dinner recipe.

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Oh, Holly. Thank you for your story. Means I should keep cooking.:) Means a world to me! Sriracha is awesome! I try to keep the spiciness down because of kids. I have the same neighbour – we feed each other.:)

      Reply
  3. Meg

    Made this for the super picky husband tonight who requested a week of “healthy things that don’t taste like cardboard” – success! I didn’t use the lime leaves but going to add them in to the leftover tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe :)

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hey, Meg. You are so welcome. Tell your husband:”Good news, honey. There are many clean recipes that taste like real yummy food”.:)

      Reply
  4. Buttoni

    These look lovely. I’m on a meatball kick lately and can’t wait to add these to my stack of meatball recipes I want to try soon. Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Katie

    I just made these tonight and they were amazing! Thank you for such a delicious recipe! I want to make these for a friend who just had a baby…if I make it ahead of time would I cook it all the way through then freeze? And when I take it to my friend would I just tell her to reheat on the stir top? Thanks again for a great recipe!

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Yes, you got it. Cook it all the way and freeze. She can defrost it on a counter and warm up in microwave. Or defrost in a pot. Or defrost in microwave. Anything. They freeze well. Glad you enjoyed!!!

      Reply
  6. Gretchen

    I followed this recipe to the tee and it was the most tasteless meal I have ever eaten…like a dry meatloaf with no flavor. Even our dogs wouldn’t eat the meatballs…wouldn’t make again. Just my (and my family’s opinion). Sorry!

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Sorry to hear about your experience, Gretchen. Everyone has different taste and taste buds. So no worries. Maybe it was too spicy for the dogs?

      Reply
  7. sooki

    Made this last night and it was a hit! Even my very picky 7 yr old liked it. My husband and I are not big on fish sauce, so I omitted that and added salt and it was still very flavorful. I also used the regular coconut milk. Great recipe and thanks for sharing!! I’ll definitely be making this again.

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      That’s great, Sooki! This recipe can be tweaked depending what you got in hand and personal taste preference.:)

      Reply
  8. Blustar

    I made these for the first time 5 mins ago, and they are the best meatballs ever! I didn’t use any of the spicy ingredients because I don’t care for spicy food, however it still came out great!
    Thanks !

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Oh yay! Awesome! I had no doubt but after some reviews of not even dogs liking these… They must be not Thai food lovers. :)

      Reply
  9. Jay

    Just made these. They were great, but a little salty. We may try anchovies paste instead of fish sauce next time, since that’s the only possible source of salt in here, but this recipe was an absolute hit!

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      I could see that…Salt is totally up to taste. Glad you had a great meal.:)

      Reply
  10. ashley

    I found you via pinterest and made this recipe last night over some brown rice minus the chili flakes. It was delicious. The husband and 5 year old approved as well. thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply
  11. Jessica

    Just made this recipe tonight for dinner…it was absolutely delicious! I posted about it on my blog :) Thanks for the amazing recipe!

    Reply
  12. Jill

    This was DELICIOUS! Sharing with all my friends. My one yr old ate 4 meatballs and my super picky 4 yr old ate them too (after a 15 minute stare-down with the meatball because she was convinced she wouldn’t like it). This is a keeper!

    Reply
  13. Yolanda

    I’m a mexican 80 years old lady and love to surprise my daughter,husbandand two grandchildren when they come to visit me! I will make them and taste to be sure
    they will enjoy them. THANKS. !!

    Reply
  14. Sam

    Thanks for mentioning that you used venison! I’m always looking for recipes that would be great with the 50 pounds of ground venison in my freezer! Definitely putting this on the menu next week! :)

    Reply
    • Olena

      I tried venison in all my recipes calling for turkey or beef. You can so the same. I had freezer full of venison too.:)

      Reply
  15. Stephanie

    I’ve made these meatballs without the rice tonight, and they were great!! Delicious, thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
    • Tash

      Did you avoid rice because you’re Paleo??? I added grated cabbage and broccoli into the pan of sauce after the meatballs were finished cooking and then used this as a bed for the meatballs as you would rice – was wicked!

      Reply
  16. Stephanie

    These were incredible! Even my 11 y/o son loved them. We did not do the zucchini because my kids don’t like sneaky veggies and we could not find fish sauce. Still they were fabulous!

    Reply
  17. Carol Oswald

    To replace meatballs for Vegan-izing this recipe, I can HIGHLY recommend lentils. We make a YUMMY lentil loaf for meatloaf and I am AMAZED at how much the lentils remind me of ground beef. (we are not vegan, and we eat meat and even my husband liked the lentil loaf) Use a good lentil loaf recipe to mix up a lentil mixture and then form into balls and fry. YUM!

    Reply
  18. Sara

    I made this recipe tonight, and it turned out amazing! I served it with bean thread noodles. This will be a new regular for us. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  19. Dori

    Delicious! I didn’t have any ginger in the house but followed the rest if the recipe and service with steamed brocolli and basmati rice. Even my picky eater husband enjoyed it. Great recipe!

    Reply
  20. Kelly

    These were yum! How rude of the one commenter who said they were terrible. Why even say that? Some people. Did you add any salt to this recipe? I’ve been trying to cut a lot of salt out but felt like the meatballs maybe needed a little salt in the mix? I’m a salt freak so maybe not. Please let me know!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Kelly. Salt is very personal thing, I would say. I didn’t add any extra salt. I have been off any processed foods for quite a while now so my tastebuds are very clean and sensitive LOL. But feel free to adjust it. I have a friend and she loves salt like you. She adds salt to all my food although nobody else at the table does.:) P.S. I suspect someone just doesn’t like Thai food period, hence the comment.:)

      Reply
  21. Stevie

    I tried this tonight and the flavor is great! However, I had some trouble with the meatballs sticking to my stainless frying pan as I was putting them in, even though I sprayed with cooking oil. Should I have used a non-stick pan or did I just not have the heat turned up high enough? I’ve only ever baked meatballs before.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Stevie. Use non-stick skillet next time. I have 2 stainless steel pans but never use them for same reason – almost everything sticks to them.

      Reply
  22. Tash

    Hi!!
    Firstly… thank you so much for sharing this recipe – the flavours in these meatballs are to die for – A+++ !
    Secondly… I’m on a mostly Paleo diet and when I came to the bit about serving with brown rice or brown rice noodles, ass I could picture was a saucepan full of delicious sauce, and meatballs in search of a comfy bed on which to be served – this wouldn’t be the end of the world, as I do eat rice occasionally, but… at this point I was hungry and didn’t feel like waiting around for rice to cook. I’d originally planned to make a side dish of Paleo mayo-free coleslaw but didn’t feel much like putting the effort into preparing that..
    Staring at the pan full of sauce and the lonely meatballs, knowing I need to get some veg into me somehow, I contemplated making cabbage & broccoli ‘rice’, as you would typically do with cauliflower as a substitute for grains in Paleo meals… I thought it’d be a great way to soak up that tasty sauce, add some veg, and create a nice bed for the meatballs… Asian flavours and cabbage go nicely gogether – so why not!?
    Anyways, I don’t usually step outside my comfort bubble of following the recipe to the T… BUT I DID IT… I INNOVATED!! Put the cabbage & broccoli through the food processor, removed the meatballs from the saucepan and added the ‘rice’ to soak up the sauce and cook for a few minutes…
    Boy am I glad I did – turned out to be a fabulous accompaniment for this dish.. and so I just had do share :)

    Reply
    • Olena

      You are very welcome. Quite a dinner story you got. That sounds fabulous! I’m not paleo but I like veggies in all shape and form.

      Reply
  23. Erin

    Hi Olena, I have these on the menu for next week and I am really looking forward to trying them, just curious if there is anything I can substitute for the kaffir leaves. I have never used them before and I don’t know what they taste like or if there is anything similar to them in flavor. Thanks!

    Reply
  24. Amanda

    I made these last night and follow the recipe, except for the lime leaves, and they are delicious! If I were to make these again, I wouldnt use fish sauce, bc I’m really not a fan of anything fishy. Though, I only used it in the meat and not the sauce and i dont really taste it, I just know its there. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  25. Robyn

    I made these today and they taste amazing!! I stirred a little bit of apricot jam into the sauce to sweeten it a bit for my little one and picky husband! About three tablespoons and it is AMAZING!!

    Reply
  26. Ally Beechet

    These are awesome and have made it into our regular dinner rotation! I have 4 young kids who are all picky eaters and they all scarfed it down. Some even had seconds (unheard of). So thank you! We’ve found that we like them better with ground beef and a little extra salt, but other than that perfection.

    Reply
  27. Brianna

    I am curious how eating meat is “clean” . Eating meat is the oppposite of clean eating. I feel a lot cleaner since going vegan. Sauce looks good though. May try veganizing this.

    Reply
  28. Kenya

    I prepared this dish for my family. I had to be careful of the spice because they are young but other than that this was amazing. My son wanted 2nds and 3rds I was shocked but we have to leave some for tomorrow. I will definitely pass this on in my cooking group. Amazing, Magnificent, and Delicious.

    Reply
    • Olena

      I’m amazed how much kids like these. Glad they made your dinner rock. I too control how much kids eat of meatballs vs side served with them lol

      Reply
  29. Melissa

    Olena, I have made these almost weekly since I first tried the recipe. They are amazing. I use turkey and even though turkey can be dry the zucchini keeps it moist. The last time I made them I added one piece of Lemon Grass I smashed up a bit to release the oils, to the sauce while it simmered. They are so good, I make a huge batch so I can take some to work for lunch the next day.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Awesome! Lemon gras is a great addition. In fact, all Thai food should be made with it. I omitted it because not all stores carry and and many people don’t have it on hand often. Like me.:) Glad everyone is enjoying these!:)

      Reply
  30. Jessie

    Looks good and will like to try it, but on a sidenote: being that half my family hunts and I know many others that do so as well, I can assure you thet are just as normal as anyone else…

    Reply

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