Meatballs aren’t just for spaghetti and red sauce. These Peanut Noodles with Thai Turkey Meatballs sit on top of creamy + spicy peanut butter noodles.
Lately I’ve been testing all kinds of different meatballs – including meat-free versions. SeriousEats has a great round-up of all the different meatball varietals from around the world. Using tips from their guide to the most tender and juicy meatballs, I’ve been creating some of my own.
This one is Thai inspired and who doesn’t love peanut noodles! Yum!
How to Make Tender, Juicy Meatballs
After reading the SeriousEats guide to meatballs, the technique that I like most to keep meatballs juicy utilizes bread soaked in milk. Adding dry breadcrumbs to meatballs makes them dense. This method keep them bouncy and light – full of tender, juicy flavor.
Golden turkey meatballs sit on top of creamy + spicy peanut butter noodles. Who can resist a bowl of Thai noodles!
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- Pinch of pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp dried ginger or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- Zest of one lime
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
- 3/4 cup day old bread (without crust) cubed
- 1/4 cup buttermilk (or almond milk) added a tablespoon at a time
- 2 tsp Sesame oil to brown the meatballs
- 2 tsp sesame oil + extra to toss with kale
- 2.5 Tbs soy sauce
- 4 tsp Sriracha sauce (reduce to 3 tsp if you don't like spicy)
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 4 tsp peanut butter
- 8 oz soba noodles (reserve pasta water)
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- 1 cup kale, deribbed and sliced into ribbons (or diced red pepper)
- sesame seeds + cilantro, to top
- 1 lime, juice and zest
It is easiest to make the turkey meatballs first and prepare the remainder while they cook. Keep them warm in the oven until you're ready with the rest.
Place the ground turkey in a small bowl.
In another bowl, mix the bread cubes with the buttermilk - add just enough buttermilk that it coats all the bread cubes and has a little to absorb. Let that sit for about 5 minutes until all of the bread is soft and wet.
Add the bread and all of the dry spices, salt, sugar, cilantro, fish sauce, and zest to the bowl of a Cuisinart or mixer. Blend everything together, then add 1/4 of the ground turkey. Blend again until incorporated.
Add the blended mixture to the rest of the ground turkey and mix together by hand.
Start shaping the meatballs: Grab a baking sheet to place them on and some water to dab on your palms to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands!
Once you have nice evenly formed balls ready to cook, heat the oven to 350F and add a couple tablespoons of sesame oil to an oven proof pan over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, sear the meatballs until nicely browned on a couple sides, turning as you go. This will take about 5 minutes.
Once browned, place the pan in the heated oven and finish cooking the meatballs - about another 5 minutes. Keep warm until ready to eat.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare the kale ribbons and place in a heat proof bowl or Pyrex.
Once the water is boiling, ladle a few scoops over the kale ribbons to cover and blanch the kale for about 30 seconds (The remaining water will be used to boil the noodles.). Drain the kale. Toss a teaspoon of sesame oil and some sesame seeds with the kale. Set aside.
An alternative if you don't have kale on hand is sautéing diced red peppers.
Boil noodles according to package instructions - 3 to 4 minutes. RESERVE 1/2 cup of pasta water to loosen peanut sauce.
For the sauce: In a sauté pan over low or medium-low heat, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, Sriracha, and fish sauce. Cook for about 30 seconds.
Add peanut butter, whisk to combine, then turn off heat. The mixture will develop into a paste.
Add reserved pasta water, whisking as you go, a couple tablespoons at a time until the sauce loosens and you reach a desired consistency. Usually about 1/4 cup pasta water will be all you need.
Add cooked noodles and mix to combine.
Top with kale ribbons or diced red pepper, Thai meatballs, lime zest, sesame seeds and additional cilantro! Maybe a dash of extra fish sauce if you dare!
inspired by Cravingsinamsterdam.com + Food52.com
Another way we prepare this instead of kale would be sautéd diced red pepper.
Vegetarian? Just make these delicious noodles and top with tofu or steamed veggies!
OTHER SUGGESTED MEATBALL COMBOS:
Mediterranean Eggplant Meatballs: Roasted Eggplant + Zatar + Parsley + Walnuts + Lemon Zest (recipe here) – Serve over roasted spaghetti squash with pesto!
Italian Turkey Meatballs (same process as noted above with cubed bread): Turkey + dried Oregano + handful of fresh Parsley +2 cloves Garlic + handful of Pine Nuts + Lemon Zest, Salt, Pepper – Serve over spaghetti (or squash pictured) with red sauce!
Next on the list – Sicilian Tuna Meatballs