Wheatless Wednesday: Thai Meatballs and Sweet Chili Sauce

Photo by Jennifer Hill

Cooking Southeast Asian food is an easy way to get into the Wheatless Wednesday spirit -- after all, it's not as big a staple in that region as it is here. This recipe for Thai meatballs from Foodess can be made more substantial by adding rice, or just kept as is for a fun, build-your-own family dinner.

Thai Meatballs and Sweet Chili Sauce
Serves 8-10 as an appetizer, or 6 as a main dish.
For Meatballs:
2 lemongrass stalks, tender inner part, bottom 4 inches only
3 shallots, peeled
¼ cup fresh cilantro
3 green onions
1 inch piece ginger, peeled
1 small jalapeno
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp coarse salt
1½ lbs ground pork
For Sauce:
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup fish sauce
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp grated carrot
2 tbsp grated cucumber
3 tbsp chili paste (such as sambal olek)
For serving:
1 head of iceberg or butter lettuce, leaves separated (and large ones torn)
¼ large cucumber, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

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Combine all ingredients except pork in a food processor and pulse until minced. Transfer to a large bowl and add pork; use your hands to thoroughly combine.

Form meatballs, using 1 rounded tablespoon of pork mixture each, and place on parchment-lined baking sheets 1 inch apart. Bake 25 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Meanwhile, make sauce by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer to serving dish.

Serve meatballs in lettuce cups with a slice of cucumber and a drizzle of sauce, or let everyone assemble their own.

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