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!
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!
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.
- 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)
- Position an oven rack in the center of your oven, and preheat the oven to 500°F. Grease a 9x13-inch glass baking dish.
- 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.
- 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.
- Baker for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
- 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.
- Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish. Drizzle the meatballs with 1 tablespoon of the sauce and sprinkle with the ¼ cup cilantro sprigs.
- Serve the meatballs with the remaining sauce, rice, and side salad, if desired.