Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce and Turkey Option


I love cozy dinners in the wintertime, but I also love meals that make me think of spring and summer. This Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce recipe from our archives ticks both boxes. It’s warm for winter, with the bright flavors of lime and cilantro hint at summertime. My local Aldi now has cilantro in stock all the time, so I can enjoy these meatballs in every season. They make a great meal or appetizer – perhaps for watching the big game!

Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce Recipe - dairy-free, with gluten-free, egg-free, and soy-free options + turkey option

I did substitute ground turkey for the ground pork and veal, since those ground meats aren’t always available at my local stores. These meatballs and the accompanying sauce are so flavorful that they turned out just fine with ground turkey. I do want to note that the sauce flavors were a bit too intense for some of the younger diners in our family. They dipped their meatballs in hoisin sauce and soy sauce instead.

This recipe for Asian meatballs with sesame lime dipping sauce recipe was originally from the May 2007 issue of Gourmet Magazine and was shared with us by Kristen Doyle of Paper Palate. But we have adapted it a little bit, and I took some photos of the dish!

Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce Recipe - dairy-free, with gluten-free, egg-free, and soy-free options + turkey option

Special Diet Notes: Asian Meatballs with Dipping Sauce

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, and peanut-free.

For egg-free Asian meatballs, see our Egg Substitute Guide.

For soy-free Asian meatballs, substitute coconut aminos for the soy sauce.

Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is adapted from Gourmet Magazine. The dipping sauce is very flavorful. You might want to go lighter on the lime juice if serving timid taste buds.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 4 servings
  • ¼ cup unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
  • ¼ cup dairy-free panko-style breadcrumbs (gluten-free, if needed)
  • ¾ pound ground pork + ¾ pound ground veal OR 1½ pounds ground turkey
  • ½ cup canned water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, and finely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro + ¼ cup cilantro sprigs, divided
  • 1 tablespoon + ¼ cup soy sauce or gluten-free tamari, divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten (see egg-free note above)
  • 4 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 cups cooked white or brown rice, for serving as a meal (optional)
  • 4 to 6 cups green salad, for serving as a meal (optional)
  1. Position an oven rack in the center of your oven, and preheat the oven to 500°F. Grease a 9x13-inch glass baking dish.
  2. Put the bread crumbs in a large bowl, add the milk beverage, and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add the ground meat, water chestnuts, ½ cup chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, egg, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Mix the ingredients with your hands until well combined.
  3. Shape 3 tablespoons of the meat mixture into a ball and place it in the prepared baking dish. (I used a 1½-inch scoop for this step.) Repeat with the remaining mixture, placing the meatballs about ½-inch apart in the baking dish.
  4. Baker for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup soy sauce, lime juice, water, remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish. Drizzle the meatballs with 1 tablespoon of the sauce and sprinkle with the ¼ cup cilantro sprigs.
  7. Serve the meatballs with the remaining sauce, rice, and side salad, if desired.

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About Author

Sarah is the Associate Editor for Go Dairy Free. Her previous experience includes work as a copy editor at Thoroughbred Times magazine, a content writer at, and an intern at Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Sarah was a 'mom blogger' for many years but now mostly hangs out on Go Dairy Free and Instagram.


  1. It would be great if you would add the Pinterest connection on each recipe. I save all my ‘I want to try’ Recipes there but can’t with how these are set up. Thanks.

    • Hi Sharon, we have Pinterest buttons on every recipe. Just hover over any photo, use the share buttons on the side or at the bottom, or use your own pin it plugin. We are 100% Pinterest enabled! I’m not sure what Pinterest connection is – is that some specific type of app?

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