Thai Turkey Meatballs

Thai Turkey Meatballs

Thai Turkey Meatballs are an easily prepared, healthy, yet filling and flavorful weeknight dinner that your family is sure to enjoy. It’s versatile in that you can elevate the level of spice according to your family’s preference, and you can serve over a base of rice, cauliflower rice, or mashed potatoes–the choices are endless. I like serving it over mashed potatoes because potatoes are inexpensive and they go far and fill up the bellies of my family with whole foods. You can use red or yellow potatoes for added nutrition. I usually alternate between the two each time I make this delectable dish.  My youngest daughter doesn’t like mashed potatoes (I know, right?!), so for her, we just put it over a bowl of sticky rice. I like the way this meal can be changed to suit any family with different dietary needs and levels of pickiness. And it’s such an easy meal to prep and cook on a weeknight! Let me show you how to get started. 

Fish sauce, red curry paste (these can be found at any Asian store), coconut milk, zucchini, cilantro, green onion, garlic and ginger (not pictured: 1 pound ground turkey)

First, you’ll need to prepare the meatballs. Use a cheese grater to grate 1/2 cup of zucchini into a small bowl. Then, use a paper towel to squeeze the grated zucchini in order to remove excess liquid. This step is important to ensure you don’t have soggy meatballs. Then, dice desired amounts of garlic and ginger, cilantro and green onion. Next, you’re just going to do an ingredient dump–all into one medium-sized mixing bowl. Start with adding one pound of ground turkey meat, diced ginger, garlic cilantro, green onion and half a cup of grated zucchini.  Then add the fish sauce, coconut milk and red curry paste. Remember when I said this dish is customizable to your family’s preferences? We love fresh garlic and ginger, so I go overboard and add extra of each. We also like spicy (well most of us), so I like to add a little more of the red curry paste, but don’t overdo the spice for the meatballs because the red curry paste is also used in the sauce. Especially if you have spice-averse little ones in your household, you might want to go easy on the red curry paste. It’s not one of those heat-intense ingredients that when you add just a little bit, it’s too hot, but just be mindful of how much you’re adding because you can always add more in the sauce later. Mix ingredients together with your hands making sure to spread out all ingredients evenly throughout the mixture of turkey meat.

Ground turkey, garlic, ginger, green onion, cilantro, zucchini, coconut milk, fish sauce, red curry paste

Now it’s time to form the meatballs and get them cooking! Place a stainless steel saute pan on medium heat and wait for it to get hot (I usually do this before I start adding the meatball ingredients to the bowl so I don’t have to wait once the ingredients are mixed). When the pan is ready, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. You’ll need to be quick after you add the oil so as not to burn it. With your hands, start forming golf ball sized meatballs and one-by-one, set them straight into the oil. You should hear the classic crackle, sizzle sound when you place the meatballs in the hot oil. This is good. You want that so in order to create a nice brown crust on the meatball. Keep going until you’ve used all of the meat mixture to form meatballs and have added them to the oil pan. 

Place holder picture: insert meatballs cooking in oil alone

While you’re waiting for the meatballs to brown on one side (5 minutes),  it’s time to prepare the sauce in all of it’s creamy glory! In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, red curry paste, tomato paste and fish sauce. 

Thai curry sauce. Coconut milk, fish sauce, tomato paste, red curry paste.

Here’s where you can taste the sauce and add more or less curry paste as needed. For a more authentic Thai Curry, you can grab some lemon grass from your local Asian Supermarket, chop finely and add to this step. If you wanted a more vegetable infused sauce, you might consider adding chopped mushrooms and/or bell peppers. In addition to a little bit more red curry paste, I also added a dash of red chile flakes. 

place holder picture: replace with picture of meatballs which have browned on one side and have been flipped.

After about five minutes, flip the meatball so that they will each brown on another side. Don’t worry too much if it’s the opposite side, just shift it in the pan so that another side of the meatball gets some love. Wait another five minutes for that side to brown before adding the sauce to the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn back down heat to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes. This will ensure that the flavor of the sauce will infuse with the meatballs and that the meatballs are all cooked through. 

Now you are ready to serve! Ladle a few meatballs and some sauce over rice, cauliflower rice or mashed potatoes and add a basil leaf or two or three for garnish. Voia La! 

Thai Turkey Meatballs

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Thai


For Meatballs

  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • ½ cups Zucchini About ½ of one zucchini
  • 1 tbsp Green onion chopped
  • 1 tsp Basil Chopped
  • 1 tsp Cilantro
  • 1 tsp Garlic Chopped
  • 1 tsp Ginger Chopped
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 tsp Red Curry Paste
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Milk
  • 1 tbsp Sesame oil

For Sauce

  • cups Coconut Milk
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 tsp Red Curry Paste
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce


  • Shred zucchini and soak out excess moisture with paper towel or cheese cloth
  • Throw all meatball ingredients into large bowl and mix well together
  • Set a large heavy bottomed pan on stove and preheat over medium heat
  • Add oil and place meatballs in pan
  • Allow meatballs to brown on one side, before flipping to other side
  • Mix sauce ingredients together
  • Once second side is browned, pour sauce into pan
  • Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Sauce should thicken to nice consistency
  • Garnish with chopped basil and/or cilantro
  • Serve over mashed potatos, sticky rice, or whatever else you want, and enjoy!