Asian Turkey Meatballs In Brown Sauce

5 from 3 votes
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Learn how to make extra tender Asian turkey meatballs with one secret ingredient {gluten free adaptable, paleo friendly}

 Learn how to make these extra tender Asian turkey meatballs with one secret ingredient! Gluten free adaptable | Paleo friendly | Low Carb | Chinese Food | Party

There are many approaches when it comes to making extra tender and juicy meatballs. Back in China, we usually use extra fatty ground pork, bread crumbs, eggs, and cornstarch to perfect the meatball texture. For example, these pork meatballs made from a family recipe are by far some of the best meatballs I’ve ever had. However, when I’m trying to lose a few pounds of weight, I do prefer to cook with a learner meat and use less carbs.

If I ever asked my mom how to make great meatballs by using chicken or turkey, she’d tell me not to use them at all! The ground meat of poultry has almost no fat, which makes the meatballs tough and dry.

My recent discovery proved her theory wrong – I found out that not only does tofu make great vegetarian food, it is a secret ingredient to make healthier meatballs that are very tender.

To make these Asian turkey meatballs even heartier, I’ve also made a smooth brown sauce to serve them in. Once you’ve made the sauce, add some of it to blend in with the ground meat — it makes these meatballs extra flavorful.

These turkey meatballs are easy enough to cook for a weekday dinner, and fancy enough to serve at a party.

 Learn how to make these extra tender Asian turkey meatballs with one secret ingredient! Gluten free adaptable | Paleo friendly | Low Carb | Chinese Food | Party

To serve the meatballs as main, simply top them over steamed rice or boiled noodles with some salad on the side. To make dinner even lower in calories, we love to serving them with cauliflower rice or on top of Shirataki noodles.

If you cook the meatballs ahead, store the sauce separately. Right before serving, heat up the meatballs and sauce in microwave until hot, then toss together. To serve them at a party, place the meatballs in a big platter and place some bamboo skewers on the side. They hold well and taste great even after cooling down, which makes them the perfect finger food!

More healthy main dishes

 Learn how to make these extra tender Asian turkey meatballs with one secret ingredient! Gluten free adaptable | Paleo friendly | Low Carb | Chinese Food | Party

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Disclosure: Do you know that April is National Soyfoods Month? To celebrating delicious soy foods and a healthier lifestyle, I’m partnering with the Soyfoods Association of North America in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand to share this recipe. I hope you enjoy it! I have been compensated for my participation and all opinions are my own.

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Asian Turkey Meatballs In Brown Sauce

5 from 3 votes
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4



  • 1 carrot , coarsely chopped
  • 1 lbs (450 g) ground turkey (*Footnote 1)
  • 1/2 block (454 g / 12 oz) House Foods firm tofu , crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (Optional)


  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce (or gluten-free hoisin sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry for gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or soy sauce, or tamari for gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (or soy sauce, or tamari for gluten free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger , minced



  • Mix chicken stock, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, white pepper powder, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm. Add garlic and ginger. Stir and cook until you smell a strong fragrance and the herbs are tender but not browned.
  • Stir the sauce again to completely dissolve the cornstarch. Pour into the pan. Cook and stir until the sauce is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Transfer everything into a bowl immediately.


  • Add carrot into a food processor. Mix until the carrot is minced to the size of rice.
  • Add ground turkey, tofu,1/3 cup of the cooked sauce, and sesame oil. Mix until it comes to a paste.
  • Use a medium-size cookie scoop (about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons) to shape the meatballs and place them on a large plate.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until hot.
  • Cook meatballs in two batches. Carefully add meatballs. Cook until the bottom is browned, almost immediately after you have added all the meatballs. Flip the meatballs, cover and turn to medium-low heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottom turns golden brown. Uncover, flip one more time. Cover and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through. Test a meatball by slicing it into half to check doneness. Cook the remaining batch using the same method.
  • Remove the pan from the stove. Add the remaining sauce and stir to coat the meatballs.
  • Top the meatballs over steamed rice or boiled noodles and serve as a main dish.


  1. You can use other ground meat, such as ground pork or ground chicken, to cook this dish as well.


Serving: 1bowl, Calories: 545kcal, Carbohydrates: 12.8g, Protein: 84.7g, Fat: 17.7g, Cholesterol: 188.1mg, Sodium: 587.7mg, Sugar: 4.7g
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!


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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Healthy World Cuisine says:

    5 stars
    Tofu works fantastic in meatballs. It does make then super moist. Loving that delicious spread it is so inviting. Sharing recipe.

  2. Karly says:

    I’ve never met a meatball I didn’t like. And I don’t see that changing any time soon. These look SO stinking good!

  3. The Modern Proper says:

    We make an indian turkey meatball in our home and they’re always a huge hit. I can’t wait to try these!

    • Maggie says:

      Indian turkey meatballs sound so yummy! Do you have a recipe? I’d love to try it out!

  4. Milena | Craft Beering says:

    5 stars
    I love turkey meatballs! Your way of introducing tofu and carrots in the meat mixture is very appealing – I bet the resulting texture is a pleasure!

  5. CHRISTOPHER says:

    Your two recipes hyperlink are interchanged – Sichuan Eggplant Stir-fry & Asian Turkey Meatball in brown sauce

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Christopher, thanks so much for pointing it out! I will fix the links in my next newsletter. Have a great week ahead!

  6. Amy says:

    5 stars
    Just the photograph of this makes my mouth water. Yummo!

  7. Leticia says:

    Maggie have you tried Baking them?

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