Ok I admit that this does sound like a bit of a Frankenstein recipe. Rest assured that you wouldn’t be alone in thinking just that. The face Michael pulled when I told him I was making Sweet & Sour Turkey Meatballs for dinner was an absolute picture. Did it stop me making them, though? Of course not.

I’m trying to introduce a few healthier and lighter options to our weeknight meals. I’ve noticed that my portion sizes have started to creep up and that’s never good in the long run. I’d rather serve up a tasty meal that’s the right size, than tempting us both into over-eating by putting too much on the plate. After all, if we get peckish we can always have a snack or dessert later in the evening.

I’ve got lots of recipe plans for alternatives to ordering a take-away. They’re mostly versions of pizza or Chinese food. I still don’t think I could ever make a curry to match our local Indian restaurant. I’m a bit of a fiend for Sweet & Sour anything and had planned to revisit my Chicken recipe from a few months back. Of course, that would have been the easy option. Instead I decided to see if I could make a slightly lighter version of that recipe. My replacement for breaded chicken? Turkey Meatballs – obviously!

When I was a teenager we used to eat quite a lot of turkey mince. It’s cheap – always good when feeding a family – and it’s fairly low in fat. My mum would often use it in a sauce for pasta where it’s perfectly fine, if a little soulless. I can remember making turkey mince burgers in Home Economics at school, My teacher was surprised at how much flavour they had and how moist they were. Oh yeah, that’s the biggest downside of turkey mince – if left unchecked it goes very dry. Fortunately that is easily avoided here – just make sure you don’t overcook the meatballs in the oven.

So – I had a plan and was confident that the flavours would work well. It was the texture that concerned me and if I got that wrong it was going to cost me. I’d promised Michael that if things didn’t work out I would pay for us to go out instead. Was I about to find out why you never see Sweet & Sour Meatballs on restaurant menus? Suffice it to say I needn’t have worried at all and they were delicious. It was very much a case of empty bowls all round.

Sometimes you need to trust your instincts. No matter what your husband may tell you….


Sweet & Sour Turkey Meatballs with Pineapple Egg-Fried Rice

Trust me here… This might sound like an odd combination but it really works. The oven-baked meatballs form a slightly crispy crust as they bake, which is a perfect contrast to the silky sweet & sour sauce. Served on top of a flavoursome egg-fried rice, with pineapple and peppers, this is a tasty dinner that saves a call to the local take away.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Poultry, Rice, Turkey
Servings: 4
Calories: 760kcal

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 500 g Turkey Mince
  • 1 Spring Onion finely chopped
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • ½ tsp Garlic Granules
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt
  • ½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 50 g Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg

For the Sweet & Sour Sauce

  • 120 ml Pineapple Juice
  • 4 tbsp Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 3 tbsp Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 4 tbsp Tomato Purée

For the Rice

  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Onion peeled and chopped
  • 1 Red Pepper deseeded and chopped
  • 1 Green Pepper deseeded and chopped
  • 4 Pineapple Rings from a tin
  • 2 Eggs beaten
  • 300 g Rice cooked as per packet instructions and cooled
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce

To Serve

  • 1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds

Instructions

Prepare the Meatballs

  • Put the turkey mince into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle over the chopped spring onion and spices, then mix with your hands until well combined. Repeat this process with the breadcrumbs, ensuring they’re well distributed through the mixture. Finally, add the egg to bring everything together. The mixture will be quite moist at this stage, but as turkey mince can be lean the extra moisture is very much welcome.
  • Line a baking sheet with non-stick parchment. Shape the turkey mixture into individual meatballs using your hands. I find that 20-25g is about the right size for each meatball so you should get 24 out of this mixture. Place the meatballs onto the prepared baking sheet and cover with cling film. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow them to rest. You could also prepare these a few hours in advance and store them in the fridge until needed.
  • When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  • Remove the cling film from the baking sheet, then put it into the oven and bake the meatballs for 25-30 minutes until slightly golden on the outside and cooked through.

Prepare the Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • Mix together all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan.
  • Place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Allow to gently bubble away for a few minutes until thickened and glossy. Keep warm until needed.

Prepare the Pineapple Egg-Fried Rice

  • As noted above, the rice you use here needs to be cooked in advance and cooled.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a high heat. Add the onions and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until golden on the edges and starting to soften. Add the peppers and pineapple chunks, then stir-fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  • Add the remaining oil to the pan. Pour in the beaten eggs and allow to cook through until just set. Break apart into small chunks. Add the cooked rice to the pan and stir fry, mixing the egg through the rice. Keep cooking the rice until it’s warmed through and slightly golden on some edges – this should take 3-4 minutes.. Add the soy sauce and stir through the rice to give it a pale brown colour.
  • Return the vegetables to the pan then mix through the fried rice.

Serve

  • Divide the fried rice mixture between 4 bowls.
  • Toss the cooked meatballs in the sweet and sour sauce until well coated. Top each bowl with 6 meatballs and spoon over any excess sauce.
  • Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Estimated Values Per Serving
Energy 3,180 kJ
760 kcal
Fat 19 g
   of which Saturates 4 g
Carbohydrates 102 g
    of which Sugars 27 g
Fibre 4 g
Protein 47 g
Sodium 2,279 mg

Note: Nutritional Information is shown per serving of the recipe shown above. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.

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