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Thai Turkey Meatballs with Peanut-Soy Dipping Sauce

There’s nothing better than challenging yourself to make something good with whatever is in your fridge.  I was supposed to meet up with a few girl friends for a glass of wine last week at another friend’s house.  When I found out that my husband would be not be home that evening to be with the kids, I requested that we change the location to my house.  I wanted to throw together a few good snacks but I didn’t have anything planned.  I told myself just to throw out some cheese and crackers, pretzels, nuts etc and that’d be enough for everyone.  But that little bugger in my head who loves to cook and be creative couldn’t help looking in the refrigerator at what ingredients I had on hand.  The bugger was pushing me to come up with a more fun appetizer to share with my friends.  We were getting close to our vacation so my refrigerator and pantry were not as stocked as normal.  But, to my surprise I had half of a loaf of french bread, some good cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, greek olives and basil for some brushcetta.  IMG_2385

I also noticed some ground turkey, some fresh veggies, some leftover cilantro and fresh ginger.  I jumped into creative mode….”Thai Meatballs,” I thought.   “Peanut Dipping Sauce too,” I thought.  I used some of same ingredients for both the meatballs and sauce to get them to go nicely together.  This was one of those tiny victories that makes me so happy….no grocery run needed and two quick, easy but delicious appetizers created in just 30 minutes or so.  This is also one of those recipes that you do not need to follow precisely.  Play around with the amounts or add other Thai ingredients.  You could even serve these meatballs and sauce over some rice noodles and dice up the cool veggies to throw on top (sort of like the Dragon Noodle Salad).

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Peanut-Soy Dipping Sauce (Makes about 20-30 mini meatballs)

Ingredients:

Meatballs

1 lb ground turkey

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 Tbsp Thai Spice (I used CaJohn’s Thai Spice from The North Market in Columbus, OH)

1/4-1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Peanut-Soy Dipping Sauce

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp oil

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp white vinegar

dash of siracha or other hot sauce (start with no more than 1/2 tsp and alter to taste)

handful chopped fresh cilantro

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Directions:

In food processor, combine all sauce ingredients except cilantro. Puree until smooth.  Adjust any of these ingredients to taste.  Add cilantro and use pulse or chop mode to combine.  Chill in refrigerator.  In large bowl, combine ground turkey, fresh ginger, Thai spice, panko and cilantro.  Mix thoroughly with clean hands.  Roll in 1 inch balls.  Sprinkle a little more Thai spice on outside of meatballs before cooking. In large oven safe skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add meatballs to brown the the outsides.  Roll them around until most of the outside is browned.  Place in 350 degree oven for another 5-10 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove and place on paper towels to get excess grease off.  Serve immediately alongside crisp cold vegetables with Peanut-Soy dipping sauce.