Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs are a healthy twist on your favorite teriyaki dishes made with a combination of lean ground chicken, cooked quinoa, green onions, garlic, and a simple homemade teriyaki sauce.
Last week I shared this homemade teriyaki sauce recipe and many of you reached out asking about the meatball dish in the background. Originally I didn’t think to share it since it is just a basic chicken and quinoa meatball that I decided to smother in teriyaki sauce, but since you asked – here we go! And I am actually excited to share it because it’s a really good meatball recipe and everything tastes good in teriyaki sauce.
Let’s start with the meatballs. I use this meatball recipe all the time with my 18 month old since it’s so much easier for her to eat quinoa mixed into a meatball than on its own. Usually for her I throw in some shredded veggies too. It’s a basic combination of ground chicken, turkey, or beef with cooked quinoa, an egg, green onions, garlic, and a touch of soy sauce.
Since I am always in need for quick meals for her, I usually make up a big batch and we will all have them for dinner. Then I will freeze the leftovers to pop out when I need something quick and easy. We eat these with all kinds of dishes from pasta to stir-fries to sandwiches. They are really versatile and you can always mix up the spice blend to make something that pairs perfectly with your meal.
So last week when I was staring at a vat of the homemade pineapple teriyaki sauce, I immediately thought of these meatballs. Plus I had just made a huge batch for the freezer, so I knew it meant minimal meal prep. Once the meatballs were cooked, I tossed them with the teriyaki sauce and we had it over brown rice with some steamed broccoli. So easy and so good. We were licking our plates to get the last of the sauce.
Here are some things to keep in mind when making these Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs:
- While I used ground chicken for the recipe, you can use ground turkey, beef, or pork and the meatballs will turn out delicious. Usually I use whatever I have at home or whatever is on sale at the store.
- If you don’t have time to cook the quinoa, check in the freezer section for precooked quinoa pouches. They only take about 3 minutes in the microwave. Just let it cool before adding it or don’t cook it quite as long as the package suggests. It’s precooked, you just need it to defrost.
- For a gluten-free version, make sure to choose a gluten free soy sauce or use coconut aminos instead for the meatballs and the teriyaki sauce.
- These freeze great so consider making a double or triple batch. I find the best way to freeze them is to lay them flat on a baking sheet and let them freeze for 1-2 hours until there is no moisture. Then pop them into a zpiloc bag and you can grab as many as you need without having to worry about them sticking together.
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Here are some of the tools and products I used to create this recipe:
- Since quinoa can be expensive in the grocery store, I usually buy it in bulk from Amazon or Costco. It’s significantly cheaper than the grocery store and with a shelf life of 1-2 years, you don’t have to worry about it going bad before you use it.
- Inevitably someone will ask what healthy teriyaki sauce options are out there if you don’t want to make your own. Unfortunately it is difficult to find a sauce that qualifies as healthy, but look for something with reduced sodium that uses natural sugars and products. I have also heard good things about this low carb option, but I haven’t tried it myself. It only has 10 calories per tablespoon and 1 gram net carbs.