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Korean BBQ Meatballs

Korean BBQ Meatballs in a skillet with green onions and red cabbage. @ bowls of rice on the side with black sesame seeds.

Korean BBQ Meatballs in a skillet with green onions and red cabbage. @ bowls of rice on the side with black sesame seeds.

If you follow along on our Instagram page then you were well aware that this recipe was coming your way, because YOU voted for themNatalie of Guac My Life is back today sharing an epic meat + three post with us that is sure to knock your socks right off. These Korean BBQ Meatballs are packed full of sweet and spicy flavors, are super moist, and easy to make! 

Korean BBQ Meatballs in a skillet with green onions and red cabbage. @ bowls of rice on the side with black sesame seeds.
Since I am no meatball aficionado, I decide to ask Natalie all of my most pressing meatball making questions & figured you might want to know the answers too! So, here it is – our meatball making Q&A: 
1. Would this recipe work with other types of ground meat besides turkey?  Yes!! You can use beef, pork or chicken and even a combination of any of those.
2. Since you are using ground turkey and it has a lower fat content do you have any tips on how to keep the meatballs from becoming tough or dry? My turkey meatballs are actually pretty well known for not being dry so I think you will be pleasantly surprised. The key is to incorporate more “wet” ingredients like vegetables and coconut aminos to help keep the moisture in. 
3. I’ve heard rumors that overworking the meat when forming the meatballs can make it tough, is this true? If so, can you share your meatball forming tips? This is very true. I like to use a fork to mix everything together to keep that from happening as opposed to using a mixer or your hands. 
4. Any tips for storing extra meatballs? Should I cook them all first then freeze them OR form the meat mixture into meatballs and freeze them uncooked? You can do either! You can freeze them uncooked on a tray lined with parchment and then move them to a freezer bag once they are frozen solid. They should keep that way for up to 1 month in the freezer. Or you can toss cooked meatballs into a freezer bag once they have completely cooled and they will keep for up to 2 months. Either way, thaw out the meatballs completely in the fridge before reheating/cooking. 
 
So now you have your meaty main let’s talk about the 3 vegetarian main dishes that we will be pairing these Korean BBQ meatballs with! 
 
fried rice on a sheet pan with carrots, zucchini, sunny side up eggs and herbs
Sheet Pan Fried Rice || Everybody, and I do mean everybody loves fried rice. If someone were to tell me they didn’t like it. I would have a really hard time believing them. Your veg heads will be stoked about a sheet pan full of fried rice while your meat eaters will gladly devour their Korean BBQ Meatballs with fried rice as a side. 
 
 lettuce wraps with sushi rice, vegetarian mushroom, water chestnut, and walnut filling with shredded carrots, micro greens and homemade hoisin sauce
Asian Lettuce Wraps || While these vegan friendly lettuce wraps are hearty enough to be a meal on their own, the meat eaters in your clan will be stoked to add Korean BBQ Meatballs to the mix! 
 
Colorful Bánh mì Salad with carrot ribbons, thinly sliced peppers, pickled onions and lots of herbs served with Sriracha Vinaigrette || @thismessisours
Bánh mì Salad with Sriracha Vinaigrette || As far as salads go this one just might be the prettiest salad we’ve ever had the pleasure of plating. It is a vegetarian friendly adaption of Heather Christo’s Bánh mì Salad in her book Pure Delicious. This version replaces the meat that Heather used in her recipe with perfectly seasoned Adzuki beans. 
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Korean BBQ Meatballs in a skillet with green onions and red cabbage. @ bowls of rice on the side with black sesame seeds.

Korean BBQ Meatballs

  • Author: Natalie of Guac My Life
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 23
  • Total Time: 33 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop & Baked
  • Cuisine: Korean

Description

These meatballs are great with turkey, but you can use ground pork, beef, or chicken too! 


Ingredients

For the meatballs:
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey 
1 egg
1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs or ground flax 
3 tablespoons coconut aminos or Tamari
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger 
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped green onions
kosher salt and pepper, to taste 
 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil  
For the Korean BBQ Sauce:
1 cup jalapeño or serrano pepper jelly 
1/4 cup coconut aminos or Tamari 
juice from 1/2 a lime
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
To serve: 
1/2 cup green onions  
1/4 – 1/2 cup finely shredded red cabbage

Instructions

To make the meatballs:
In a large mixing bowl combine the ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, and green onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use a fork to gently combine all of the ingredients, being careful to not overtax or your meatballs may be tough. Once combined use your hand to form 1 1/2-inch sized meatballs. Place the meatballs onto a baking sheet and let them chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
Once they are thoroughly chilled, preheat your oven to 350 and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil then sear the meatballs until the are browned on all sides, this should take about 10 minutes. Once browned transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheeting bake for another 10 minutes until cooked through. 
To make the sauce: 
In a sauce pan over medium heat combine the pepper jelly, coconut aminos, lime juice, and red pepper flakes. Bring it to a simmer and cook,  stirring until the liquid reduces to a syrup, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
To serve:
Drizzle the Korean BBQ sauce over the meatballs and garnish with green onions and red cabbage if desired. 

Notes

Check out the meatball Q&A in our post for tips on storing meatballs! 

If you opt to use flax instead of breadcrumbs the meatballs will be slightly firmer but the taste does not change much.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Comments

  1. Jen Heinichen

    This was incredible. I used jalapeño jelly since regular red pepper wasn’t available and it was so yummy. This reminded me of a much better rendition my grandmas grape jelly and chili sauce cocktail meatballs!!
    I stored the meat balls in the sauce over night and they were even better. We made fried rice and the Bah Mi salad to go with and it was perfect. I received so many compliments .

    • I am so glad you love these meatballs!! They are addictive – we literally can’t stop eating them when I make them. You were right to use the jalapeño jelly, that is exactly what you were supposed to do. I love the heat! Great idea to store them in the sauce overnight, I am going to have to try that myself.

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ABOUT MEG

Meg van der Kruik is the writer, mother, photographer, designer, cook and creative spirit behind This Mess is Ours. After her infant son was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, she dedicated herself to learning to make meals the whole family would love. It’s a bit of a mess – cooking for a vegetarian and three meat-eaters with a range of gluten + dairy sensitivities, but she manages to bring them together every night around their little family table.