Incredibly flavorful Thai meatballs made with chicken or pork, and spiced with ginger, garlic and cilantro. It all comes together with a slightly spicy red curry peanut sauce served over noodles. Thai Spaghetti and Meatballs is a fun way to transform a classic!
Several years ago I tried some Thai meatballs which first gave me the idea for this dish. It’s a fun play on the Italian classic. I used my love for chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce as the basis for my Thai spaghetti and meatballs.
When I think of meatballs, I immediately think of the many sauces simmering around savory bites of meat. In my opinion, meatballs are made for sauce – tomato, cream, grape jelly – almost any kind of sauce! They go together like peas and carrots.
The sauce is a cross between Thai red curry and peanut sauce. It’s dairy-free but creamy thanks to coconut milk, it has flavor and spice from red curry paste, plus the toasted nuttiness of peanut butter. This sauce is so good it can stand on its own!
But today’s feature is all about the meatballs. They’re made with ground chicken so they are naturally lean. You could also use ground pork, or a mixture of the two. I added some pork to mine so they wouldn’t be too dry, but it depends on the fattiness of the chicken you’re using. Thai turkey meatballs is also an option!
The meatballs are seasoned with ingredients that are traditional Thai flavors, yet should be easy to find. So no lemongrass or fish sauce here. Instead, plenty of fresh cilantro (I fall more in love as I grow older), green onion, garlic and ginger!
I am a ginger fanatic. That zippy, fresh flavor just can’t be beat. Too much, however, and it can really burn your sinuses.
A couple months ago my husband added several LARGE chunks of ginger to a smoothie, thinking that he was adding frozen peeled bananas. Wow, what a surprised when we slurped down that first taste! That kind of spice will put hair on your chest!
But don’t worry, there’s no fire in these Thai meatballs. Only perfectly balanced flavor. If you want to spice things up, you can add minced jalapeños or dried chile flakes.
I chose to bake my meatballs because it is so easy that way. I also used a cookie scoop to help evenly portion out the balls. Just mix, scoop, roll and bake!
These meatballs would also be tasty without the sauce. Just serve with rice or a vegetable salad. Or, eliminate the noodles and serve the meatballs in a crockpot of peanut sauce as an appetizer at your next party!
~ Thai Meatballs with Red Curry Peanut Sauce ~
For the meatballs:
- 1 lb ground chicken or pork, or mixture of the two
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the sauce:
- 1 can (14oz) full fat coconut milk
- 1-2 tablespoons red curry paste (more if you like it spicy)
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lime juice
- 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
- 1/4-1/2 cup water
- 12 oz dried spaghetti
- Chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Lime wedges, for garnish
For the meatballs:
- Combine the chicken (or pork), green onion, cilantro, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper until well mixed. Roll 2 tablespoons of meat into balls and place on a baking tray. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
For the sauce:
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together coconut milk and curry paste and bring to a simmer, about 5 minutes. Add the peanut butter, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, 1/4 cup of water and mix well. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Thin with additional water if too thick. Simmer over a low heat to keep warm.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain.
- Top pasta with peanut sauce and meatballs. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.
I used a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop for the meatballs, which yielded 18 meatballs.