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Asian Turkey Meatball Lettuce Wraps


I love meatballs - the movie and the type of food. Asian pork style, Italian beef style, Mediterranean lamb style, it doesn’t matter. There’s just something amazingly delicious about the texture of juicy ground meat rolled up into a ball and slathered in sauce. I love sausages too. But there’s no summer camp movie called Sausages.


I found this turkey meatball recipe on Food & Wine. I tweaked the recipe a bit and added a Vietnamese dipping sauce to go with it. Packed with delicious Vietnamese flavors, these lettuce wraps are easy to make and fun to eating an Asian taco. Best of all, it looks complex enough to impress dinner guests. Don’t let them know that it’s easy to make. Just sit back and enjoy their praise.      



  • 1 ground turkey (preferably no less than 7% fat)

  •  1/3 cup of panko or gluten free breadcrumbs

  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

  • 3 small shallots, finely chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 stalk (roughly 4” piece) of fresh lemongrass, tender white inner bulb only, finely minced

  • 3 T chopped cilantro, plus 1/3 cup leaves for serving

  • 1 T finely chopped mint, plus 1/3 cup leaves for serving

  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

  • 1/2 cup raw granulated coconut sugar

  • 1 egg white from large egg

  • 1 head Boston or red leaf lettuce, leaves separated

  • 1 small seedless cucumber—peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced



  • Preheat the oven to 400°. Position a rack in the top third of the oven.

  • Place turkey in large bowl and add the breadcrumbs, fish sauce, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, chopped cilantro and mint, cornstarch, egg white, salt and pepper and mix with your hands.

  • Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Spread the sugar on a plate. Using slightly moistened hands, roll the turkey mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Lightly roll the meatballs in the sugar or sprinkle sugar on until they are evenly coated. Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet and bake them for 15 minutes, until they are lightly browned and cooked through.

  • Meanwhile, arrange the lettuce, cilantro and mint leaves, cucumber and onion on a platter. Transfer the meatballs to the platter and serve with Nuoc Cham and Sriracha sauce.



Nuoc Cham - Vietnamese Dipping Sauce



  • 2 T fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar

  • 1 1/2  Tablespoons Raw Coconut Sugar

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1 1/2 T  fish sauce (most are gluten-free, but check to label to make certain)

  • 1  small Serrano chile pepper, sliced into thin rings

  • 1 cloves garlic, smashed with the blunt side of your knife, then minced



  • Combine all ingredients, including the smashed garlic clove, in a medium bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar.

  • Taste and adjust amounts, if necessary, to get your desired balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet.

  • After 10 minutes you can remove the smashed clove.  


Servings: 4

Time: 45 mins


HEARTFUL RECIPE - Using arrowroot powder and gluten-free bread crumbs - One of our real food recipes that focuses on veggies, protein, healthy fats and/or healthy carbs and doesn't include gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, corn or peanuts.


Write-up by Mark.




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