Today’s mouthwatering recipe is sponsored by my friends at Ontario Apple Growers —local growers of high quality delicious apples, helping us all eat, snack and live healthy! Make sure to look for the Foodland logo so you know you’re buying Ontario grown apples! If you’ve been shying away from chicken meatballs because of their lack of flavor, well now you don’t have to! These Thai Chicken Meatballs with Apple Peanut Sauce are a burst of flavors, textures and super quick to make.
So much going on here today. I probably am one of those who shy away from ordering chicken meatballs, chicken burgers and anything involving ground chicken. Yes, I admit. However, I can’t resist these. Lots of ginger and garlic infuse the chicken meatballs which are seared till crisp, then a sweet, spicy apple peanut sauce coats the chicken meatballs. 30 mins start to finish, these are certainly a no miss recipe!
One of my good friends inspired me to make these actually and I’m super thankful she did! I certainly love Thai food like many people do, and almost every peanut sauce I tasted was pure lush. Likewise today’s sauce is purely luscious. And while it has a touch of honey, it also has a magical secret ingredient. Apples. Sweet and tart shredded apples that melt in the sauce with plenty of garlic and ginger. They add texture and even more sweetness and flavor to the peanut sauce.
You can absolutely chose your favorite type of apple to use, and refer to this wonderful Apple Guide for info on all types of Ontario apples and how best to use them. I picked the Crispin apple today because they’re sweet and tart so it’s the perfect combo. Also, I love their firm texture which is perfect for topping my wraps.
For the sauce, I find that apples are best used shredded. This makes it melt beautifully into a smooth, sweet sauce along with the ginger and garlic. Then a mixture of peanut butter (smooth or chunky), honey and soy sauce go right in. This finishes off the sauce as they cook for just a couple of minutes. Chicken meatballs aside, this apple peanut sauce is finger lickin’ good!! Toss it with pasta, cool it for a salad dressing, use it as a dipping sauce..you name it!
Now let’s talk some chicken meatballs. Ground turkey works great here too, so feel free to use that. Now you’ll add in lots of garlic, ginger, some soy sauce, Sriracha hot sauce, a touch of turmeric and lots of minced cilantro and mint are mixed in. You can shape the chicken meatballs as big or little as you prefer, I went with golf size balls since I wanted to wrap them in lettuce wraps. Smaller size meatballs would be too little for my wrap.
While I made those chicken meatballs today wrapped in lettuce wraps with so many fresh ingredients, they’re also great served with rice and noodles. It’s one of those recipes you can make in 30 minutes and have it as a back up when you feel like a rice/noodle meal or salad, or something fresh like those lettuce wraps.
Now let me quickly walk you through the recipe steps. First of all, you’ll mix the chicken meatballs with all the flavoring ingredients and shape into your desired size. My favorite way of cooking meatballs is by searing them in a cast iron pan with oil until crispy and then placing the pan in the oven for 10-15mins until cooked through. At that point I find it best to remove the chicken meatballs to plater while you make the sauce.
You can certainly move the meatballs to the side of your pan while you make the sauce, but I prefer removing them. The sauce is magic. Again, you’ll add some oil and sautee garlic, ginger and a large shredded apple until it softens and blends in. At that point you pour the peanut butter mix and just give it a boil. So easy, so simple yet SO GOOD!
To assemble the chicken meatballs into wraps, I break up a Boston lettuce head. Layer your favorite fresh ingredients. Think crunchy, sweet, fresh, spicy, anything works. I picked more apples, some carrot sticks, spicy chillies, fresh mint, salted cashews and cucumbers. The best thing is you don’t need a sauce to drizzle or dip the wraps into since there’s the delicious apple peanut sauce.
Enjoy this fabulous twist on classic Thai food and once you try the apple peanut sauce, you’ll never go back! Be sure to look for Foodland Ontario Apples as you shop for ingredients!
Thai Chicken Meatballs with Apple Peanut Sauce
For the Chicken Meatballs:
- 1 lb ground chicken or turkey lean or extra lean
- 2 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger
- 3 garlic cloves grated or finely minced
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce more or less to your taste
- 1/4 cup combined of minced fresh cilantro and mint leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of neutral tasting oil
For the Apple Peanut Sauce:
- a drizzle of sesame oil
- 1 large Apple grated
- 2 tablespoons of ginger grated
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1/3 cup of peanut butter smooth or chunky--I used chunky
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
- 1 Boston head lettuce broken down into lettuce cups
- Apple sticks
- Carrot sticks
- Sliced Scallions
- Fresh mint leaves
- Cucumber sticks
- Salted cashews
- sliced chillies
- Fresh lime for squirting
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. For the chicken meatballs--mix all ingredients together except the oil. Heat the oil in a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Take golf size pieces of the chicken mixture and roll into a golf size meatball, then cook it in the hot pan. Sear the meatballs on all sides turning after 1 minute each time until they're crispy.
- Remove the pan from the stove and place it in the oven for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your chicken meatballs until they cook through.
- In the meantime prepare the lettuce wraps ingredients.
- Once the chicken meatballs are cooked, remove them from the hot pan into a plate. To the same pan, add the sesame oil. Start sauteeing the ginger, garlic and apple to make the sauce. Keep sauteeing that for about 3 minutes until the apples break down and start to blend into a paste. Then add in the remaining sauce ingredients and start mixing the sauce. Add water to adjust the thickness of the sauce to your taste.
- Then drop the chicken meatballs and give them a quick toss in the sauce.
- Assemble the lettuce wraps by placing one lettuce cup on your work surface and add a chicken meatballs with sauce over it. Top with your favorite toppings and a squirt of lime juice. Enjoy!