Asian Pork Meatball Bowls

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One of the MOST frequent requests I get via Instagram or Facebook messages is for make ahead lunches. Recipes that can be prepped on a weekend and then used to take into work/school throughout the week. And my answer to that is always sort form of a bowl. And, while we have a great many variety of burrito bowls, linking one of my fave- grilled chicken burrito bowl, I decided to make this week a bit different. Presenting- Asian Pork Meatball Bowls!

A blue ceramic plate with asian pork meatballs, rice, greens, sliced fresno chilis, a small bowl of sauce, containing soy sauce and sambal, and a kitchen towel on the side.


 

Why I Love This Recipe

Why are bowls so great you ask? 1: These Asian Pork Meatball Bowls are easy to transport. 2: they are easy to prep ahead. 3: The base of most bowls can be made in a rice cooker, meaning you don't have to pay attention to that! 4: you can really mix up the flavors depending on your mood.

A blue ceramic plate with asian pork meatballs, rice, greens, sliced fresno chilis, a small bowl of sauce, containing soy sauce and sambal, and a kitchen towel on the side.

These Asian Pork Meatball Bowls have 4 components:

  1. The most delicious asian inspired meatballs! Also mega bonus - these are baked in the oven so you can spare your stovetop getting dirty.
  2. The coconut lime rice that we've been obsessed with ever since the Larb Bowls is used as a base!
  3. An easy sambal sauce goes on top and it keeps well in the fridge for DAYS so you can use it for other things too. It goes great on noodles, chicken, fish etc.
  4. My favorite herb salad goes top to give it a pop of brightness

It's truly perfection. Grab all the ingredients, prep this weekend, and your lunch situation next week will be ON POINT!

Ingredients & Substitutions

Mise-en-place of all the ingredients to make asian pork meatballs.
For the Meatballs:
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Soy Sauce
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Ground Pork
  • Cilantro
  • Chives
For the Rice:
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Water
  • Coconut Milk full fat
  • Kosher Salt
  • Lime zested and juiced
For the Sauce:
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Sambal
For the Herb Topping:
  • Green Onions
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh Mint
  • Thai Basil
  • Fresno Chili

*For a full list of ingredients and instructions please see recipe card below.

How to Make Asian Pork Meatballs

A large glass mixing bowl with ground pork, seasonings and finely chopped ginger, garlic and onion, seasonings and bread crumbs to make asian pork meatballs.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine all of the meatball ingredients, mixing the meat and everything else together well.

A parchment-lined baking sheet with pork meatballs placed in a 3 by 5 grid, shaped in spheres, ready to be baked.

Step 2: Form the meat mixture into 16 meatballs and place them evenly spaced on the prepared sheet pan. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.

A small glass mixing bowl with Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Rice Wine Vinegar, Garlic, Ginger, Sambal to make the sauce for the final dish.

Step 3: While the meatballs are baking whisk together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

A glass mixing bowl with Green Onions, Cilantro, Fresh Mint, Thai Basil, Fresno Chili to make the herb salad for the final dish.

Step 4: In another bowl, lightly toss together the Fresh Herb Salad ingredients.

A saucepan with water, coconut milk and salt being boiled to make rice.

Step 5: Combine the water, coconut milk, and salt in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to simmer.

A saucepan with water, coconut milk and salt simmering and rice added.

Step 6: Add the rice and bring back to a low simmer. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cook undisturbed for about 15 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.

A saucepan with cooked jasmine rice, fluffed and topped with lemon zest.

Step 7: Turn off the heat and let the rice steam for another 5 to 10 minutes, until fully cooked and soft. Uncover, fluff, and toss in the lime zest and juice.

A bowl with rice, herb salad and pork meatballs with sliced fresno chilis.

Step 8: Dish the rice into bowls and add a heap of the fresh herb salad, a spoonful of the sauce and a few meatballs and serve immediately.

How to Store Asian Pork Meatballs

They are best when you eat them right away. If you need to store leftovers, store them in an airtight container and take it out of the fridge a little bit before eating. That way to reheat them, I just have to microwave for 30-45 seconds. You want to be sure not to re-heat them too much as it will make them tough.

How to Freeze Asian Pork Meatballs

If you plan on freezing them, do so before cooking. Form them into the balls and freeze. It's best to cook these right before serving so just thaw the meatballs and then cook.

Tips & Tricks

You can prep the meatballs ahead of time. I like to assemble them, form them into the meatballs and then freeze. However make sure to avoid cooking them first and then freezing them.

FAQs

Can I use ground chicken or beef?

You sure can, but the pork is more flavorful!!

Can I cook these asian pork meatballs on the stovetop?

Yes you can, I would suggest using a high sided skillet to avoid splatter and cooking them for about 12 minutes on med/high heat.

What else can you eat these with?

They go great on top of noodles, you can serve them as appetizers, you can use them in lettuce wraps etc!

Similar Recipes

If you tried this recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting today

Asian Pork Meatball Bowls from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Asian Pork Meatball Bowls

Author: Gaby Dalkin
4.9 from 22 votes
Asian Pork Meatball Bowls with juicy meatballs make the perfect take ahead lunch or savory dinner!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

For the Meatballs

  • ½ yellow onion finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
  • 1 ¼ pound ground pork
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons chives finely chopped

For the Rice

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk full fat
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 whole lime zested and juiced

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons sambal

For the Herb Topping

  • 6 green onions thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves stems removed
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves stems removed
  • ½ cup Thai basil leaves (or regular basil leaves) stems removed
  • 1 red Fresno chili thinly sliced

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper
  • In a large bowl combine all of the meatball ingredients, mixing the meat and everything else together well. Form the meat mixture into 16 meatballs and place them evenly spaced on the prepared sheet pan. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
  • While the meatballs are baking whisk together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. In another bowl, lightly toss together the Fresh Herb Salad ingredients and cook the rice
  • Dish the rice into bowls and add a heap of the fresh herb salad, a spoonful of the sauce and a few meatballs and serve immediately.

For the Rice

  • Combine the water, coconut milk, and salt in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to simmer. Add the rice and bring back to a low simmer. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cook undisturbed for about 15 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and let the rice steam for another 5 to 10 minutes, until fully cooked and soft. Uncover, fluff, and toss in the lime zest and juice.

Notes

Can I prep meatballs ahead of time?
You can! I like to assemble them, form them into the meatballs and then freeze. However make sure to avoid cooking them first and then freezing them.
Can I reheat these?
They are best when you eat them right away. If you need to reheat them, I just do it for 30-45 seconds in the microwave. You want to be sure not to re-heat them too much as it will make them tough.
Can I freeze these?
Yes! See the note above about forming them into the balls and then freezing. It’s best to cook these right before serving so just thaw the meatballs and then cook.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 927kcal | Carbohydrates: 92g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 1755mg | Potassium: 925mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1008IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 6mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @WhatsGabyCookin or tag #whatsgabycooking!

56 Comments

  1. I was also confused about what to so with the sauce. At first I though maybe throw the vegetables in it and use it as a dressing; which I guess in essence is what you're doing anyway. Instructions are a bit confusing :

    4. Dish the rice into bowls and add a heap of the fresh herb salad and a few meatballs and serve immediately.

    It leaves out what to do with the sauce. It also precedes the instructions for actually the making the rice. It doesn't really put a stop to the recipe, but does make you stop and have to reread it a few times.

    Overall looks good and will be making it tonight.

  2. Looks so delicious! I want to make it tonight ! Quick Question in regards to the sauce ,,, do you serve it on the rice or the meatballs ?

    1. sure is! Sambal is an Indonesian chili sauce or paste typically made from a mixture of a variety of chili peppers with secondary ingredients such as shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, and lime juice

  3. 5 stars
    Excellent! I followed this recipe to the tee and it was delicious. After almost 12 years of marriage, my husband said it was the best thing I’ve ever served him. I will definitely be making this again!

  4. I haven’t made this yet but planning on it tomorrow. Sounds delish. For Peter, I have got a “Sweet and Sour” sauce recipe that I found in a Wok Cookbook by Gary Lee, published by Nitty Gritty in 1970! It is my go-to for anything sweet and sour.
    1 cup malt vinegar
    1 cup sugar
    1-1/2 T. Salt
    1/2 cup each orange and pineapple juice
    1/2 cup tomato paste
    Combine all ingredients in saucepan, bring slowly to boil, simmer 10 min. Thicken with cornstarch slurry to consistency of cream sauce. It will keep for a month or more in loosely covered jar kept in cool dark place. Don’t refrigerate!
    Happy cooking and eating

  5. This recipe doesn’t call for salt in the meatballs. Does the soy sauce give the needed salt? I’m in the process of making them, not sure what to do ‍♀️
    Thanks

    1. yes the soy sauce is V salty but you can always salt more at the end once you can taste them! I always salt to taste when eating 🙂

  6. 4 stars
    This was so delicious. The second time I made it, I sautéed the onion, ginger, and garlic before adding it to the meat mixture and they were even better (personal preference on texture)

  7. Made this with my husband last evening. Delicious! I did not have sambal still thought the dressing was delicious. Used a mix of sturdy salad greens and basil. Hopefully, next time I make it mint will have popped in our garden.
    Rice was so good! Will use rice recipe with other recipes, grilled chicken, etc.
    Made brownie bites recipe for dessert. Served with vanilla bean frozen yogurt. Perfect ending to a fabulous meal. Another winning Gaby meal.

  8. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday..... made the meatballs and sauce early in the day and made a cucumber salad and steamed brown rice instead of the recommendations above. Because we ate very late, the meatballs were microwaved. BECAUSE they were pork, they were just as moist and tender as when they came out of the oven.
    I followed the meatball and sauce recipes almost exactly (added cilantro to sauce) and it was EXCELLENT. I will make this again and again. It is so easy, delicious, different, pretty and flavorful. So happy to have discovered this recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    This was really delicious. We have made it twice. My only complaint is that it takes a lot longer than 40 minutes for us to get this on the table. From start to finish, both times, it has taken closer to 90 min. The first time, I thought we'd made the meatballs too large so we had to cook so much longer than 25 min. But it happened again the next time. Anyway, we DO love it and so do our kids, ages 13 and 9. Just wanted to let others know to maybe plan for this to take longer than the estimate :).

  10. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe! It was easy but still complicated enough that I felt challenged. It was very delicious and will be using the coconut rice recipe again and again.

4.87 from 22 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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