Thai Meatballs inside crunchy Romaine lettuce wraps with a tangy cabbage slaw create the ultimate healthy lunch or dinner. Bursting with the amazing flavors of Thailand, these slightly sweet, savory, and satisfying lettuce cups are always a huge hit with my family.
Why You’ll Love Thai Meatballs
If you love the complex aromas and irresistible flavors of Thai food, you’ll love these turkey meatballs wrapped in lettuce! Perfectly seasoned with onions, mint, cilantro, ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, and red chili, these meatballs are next-level delicious, especially when tossed in a delectable sweet chili sauce. Complimenting this flavor explosion is a refreshing cabbage slaw with its own medley of Thai-inspired ingredients and herbs, including fresh mint, basil, and cilantro.
If you’re looking for a vegan meatball option for this recipe, substituting the turkey meat with a cup of mashed chickpeas and a cup of cooked rice or quinoa is one option. Full disclosure, I have not tried out these substitutions in my kitchen, so if you do, please let me know how it turns out in the comments below!
How to Make Thai Meatballs:
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Meatballs: In a large mixing bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients (except the sweet chili sauce). Shape the meat mixture into approximately one tablespoon-sized meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake them in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, flipping them halfway through until they are cooked. Once cooked, toss them with 2-4 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce.
Cabbage Slaw: Prepare the cabbage slaw by combining the cole slaw mix, fresh mint, basil leaves, green onions, and cilantro in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside. Then, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and sweet red chili sauce. Add this dressing to the cabbage slaw mixture and mix well to combine.
Assemble: Take one lettuce cup and start by adding 1-2 spoonfuls of cabbage slaw. Then, place the meatballs on top and add any additional garnishes you desire, such as fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro, sesame seeds, or peanuts.
Leftovers and Storage
Store any leftover meatballs and cabbage slaw in separate air-tight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Reheat the meatballs in the microwave until heated through. Enjoy with fresh lettuce, steamed rice, or rice noodles.
More Delicious Thai-Inspired Recipes
- Thai Pumpkin Soup
- Thai Slaw
- Thai Meatball Soup
- Thai Chicken Curry Noodle Soup Recipe
- Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
If you try making this Thai Meatball Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 1.5 pounds ground turkey - or chicken, I used a mix of turkey and chicken
- 2 carrots - finely grated
- ½ cup green onions - finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh mint - chopped
- 2 tablespoon cilantro - chopped
- 2 tablespoon ginger - minced
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup sweet Thai chili sauce - store-bought or homemade
FOR THE CABBAGE SLAW
- 14 oz cole slaw mix - one 14 ounce bag, (or a mix of green cabbage, red cabbage and carrot)
- ¼ cup fresh mint - chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves - chopped
- ½ cup chopped green onions
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro - chopped
- 3 tablespoon mayonnaise
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoon sweet Thai chili sauce
- 2 heads romaine lettuce
- Limes - for serving
- Fresh chopped cilantro - for serving
- Additional sweet Thai chili sauce
- Sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large mixing bowl (except the sweet chili sauce!) and mix together until evenly combined (hands work best here).
- Use your hands to form approximately 1 tablespoon of meat mixture into meatballs. Place each meatball onto prepared baking sheet.
- Transfer prepared meatballs to the preheated oven and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through. Flip once half way through.
- While the meatballs are cooking prepare the cabbage slaw. Simply combine the cole slaw mix, fresh mint, basil leaves, green onions and cilantro in a large bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Whisk together the mayonnaise, rice wine vinegar, sugar and sweet red chili sauce in a small bowl. Combine with the cabbage slaw and mix well.
- Remove the cooked meatballs from the oven and toss with 2-4 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce.
- Assemble your lettuce cups. Start with 1-2 spoonfuls of cabbage slaw, meatballs and any additional garnishes desired (fresh line juice, chopped cilantro, sesame seeds, and peanuts).
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)