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Delicious meatballs tossed in a sweet chili sauce then paired with an Asian slaw in a lettuce wrap makes the perfect lunch or dinner.
When you think of meatballs what is the first thing that comes to your mind? I immediately think about spaghetti and meatballs. I think meatballs are most famous for pairing with spaghetti and since pasta is my favorite food it’s what comes to my mind.
The next thing that comes to my mind is Italian Wedding Soup. Why? I worked at an Italian restaurant for 5 years and that was the soup that was always on the menu.
But lately I’ve been looking for something new. I don’t make a ton of meatballs so I started searching for recipes both online and in my cookbooks. I wanted something that was a little bit healthier and lower carb and these Thai Meatball Lettuce Wraps sounded perfect.
- lean ground beef (ideally 85/15)
- scallions or green onions
- ginger (I like to use the ginger that’s already minced and in a paste)
- garlic cloves
- soy sauce
- Sriracha (find this in the Asian section of your grocery store)
- lime juice
- Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (also found in the Asian section of your grocery store)
- bag of cole slaw mix (or a cabbage and some carrots to grate yourself)
- fresh basil leaves
- fresh cilantro
- rice vinegar
- mayonnaise (use regular or light)
- Bibb lettuce or romaine hearts
I found these Thai meatball Lettuce Wraps and I couldn’t wait to make it. While some of the ingredients are more specialty ingredients I happened to have them all on hand because I do a lot of Asian cooking.
where can i find the thai ingredients?
Many Thai ingredients can be found in a mainstream grocery store in the Asian section. If you can’t find them there you may need to go to an Asian grocer or order them online from somewhere like Amazon.
The meatballs were made with lean ground beef, spices, and were coated in Thai sweet chili sauce. They were served in either romaine or Bibb lettuce leaves, and then topped with coleslaw.
what is Bibb Lettuce?
Bibb lettuce, also known as butter lettuce, is a type of lettuce known for its tender, buttery leaves and mild flavor. It has a loose, round, and compact head of leaves that are soft and delicate. Bibb lettuce is often favored for its smooth texture and slightly sweet taste, making it a popular choice for salads and lettuce wraps.
If you’ve ever heard me talk about coleslaw you know I’m not a fan. I chose this recipe because the coleslaw was Asian style with soy sauce, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, and mayonnaise. It sounded interesting and much better then traditional coleslaw. Since I like wraps with slaw on top I figured I’d give it a whirl.
The day I ended up making these I was exhausted and didn’t want to cook. However, when I looked at the menu I perked up a bit because I was really excited to try this recipe. As a bonus it took less then 30 minutes start to finish so it was an easy meal to make!
Can i make this dish in advance?
You can make the meatballs the day before and put them in the refrigerator in an air tight container. Heat them up in a 325 degree oven or in the microwave before serving and toss with additional Thai sweet chili sauce. You can also make the slaw up to 24 hours in advance. I actually prefer making it a few hours ahead of time so that the cabbage really soaks up the flavors of the dressing.
These lettuce wraps were amazing. I wish I had made a double batch so we could have had them the next night as well.
The meatballs are baked in the oven and they are just slightly spicy, a little sweet, and full of tons of flavor. Then there is the slaw. Folks we have a winner!
I could make this slaw and eat it beside my hamburgers or other summer foods because it’s delicious! There isn’t much mayonnaise so it’s not overly creamy. The rice vinegar gives it a slightly sour taste but the soy sauce takes the edge off of it. It tasted so good on top of those meatballs!
more lettuce wrap recipes:
- Beef Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps
- Boneless BBQ Chicken Wing Lettuce Wraps
- Portuguese Style Beef Lettuce Wraps
- Best Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Pork Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps
My husband and I both loved this meal and I can’t wait to make it again. I simple served it with rice and it was a complete dinner. I had my rice on the side for one wrap and in the lettuce wrap on the second one. I really like them with the rice inside.
So if you are feeling adventurous and want to pair your meatballs with something other then pasta make sure you give these a try!
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For the meatballs:
- 1 1/4 lb. lean ground beef
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon ginger, finely minced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons sweet Thai chili sauce
For the cole slaw:
- 1 (14 oz) bag of coleslaw mix
- 10 basil leaves, rolled up and sliced
- 3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 c. rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 1 Tablespoon sweet Thai chili sauce
- romaine or Bibb lettuce
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- To make the meatballs, mix together the ground beef, scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, Sriracha, and lime juice in a medium bowl using your hands.
- Using 1 tablespoon of the meatball mixture, form the meatballs and place them on the baking sheet.
- Bake the meatballs for 15-18 minutes, turning over after 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the coleslaw by combining the coleslaw mix, basil, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine the rice vinegar, mayonnaise, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and sweet Thai chili sauce in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Pour the dressing over top of the coleslaw and toss to coat.
- When the meatballs are done transfer them to a medium bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of Thai chili sauce.
- To assemble to wraps place a lettuce leaf on a plate, top with three meatballs and a few spoonfuls of the coleslaw. Sprinkle with cilantro or a squeeze of lime juice if desired.
Recipe adapted from The Garlic Diaries
More Meatball Recipes:
- Cheesy Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza Meatballs from The Weekend Gourmet
- Garlicky Shrimp Meatballs from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Grilled Korean Meatballs from Palatable Pastime
- Russian Meatball Soup from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- General Tso’s Chicken Meatballs from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Grandma’s Italian Meatball Subs from Family Around The Table