Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cooking Light with Rachael Ray: Chicken Meatballs with Sweet Peanut Sauce

Meatballs are not just for spaghetti and subs, my friends. With the right combination of flavors and sauce, meatballs are great just on their own! This fun, "kid-friendly" recipe is packed with healthy proteins and tons of flavor. As a fast party snack or even the main event on your family's dinner plate, these Chicken Meatballs with Sweet Peanut Sauce are sure to have everyone smiling. The recipe below is a slightly tweaked version of Rachael Ray's, which I found in the pages of her June/July 2011 issue of EveryDay with Rachael Ray (page 24).

Serves 4

  • 1 pound Extra-Lean ground chicken (suggest: Perdue Fit and Easy)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs (Panko)
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • FAT FREE Olive Oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup all-natural (unsweetened) peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons LITE soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons SPLENDA
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts (for garnish)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix the chicken, cilantro, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium-large bowl.

Once well blended, roll into 1 tablespoon balls.

Place on a baking sheet prepared with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

While baking, mix the oils, peanut butter and Lite soy sauce in a bowl. Stir until smooth. Warm in the microwave for about 20 seconds.

Remove 1/2 the sauce and pour into a ramekin for dipping. With the remaining sauce still in the bowl, toss the cooked meatballs. Once coated, place on a serving platter and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.


As I tweeted after tasting my first meatball, these things are "out of this world amazing"! You get so much flavor with each bite. The soy and peanut butter, followed by the garlic and cilantro. It's not just a meatball. It's an experience. They are delish and VERY easy to throw together. And in my opinion, not only is baking the meatballs a healthier cooking technique, but it is also easier. Just pop 'em in the oven, set the timer for 10 minutes and forget about it (for 10 minutes). With a little one helping me in the kitchen, I don't like to have hot oil frying on the stove anyway. Baking is just a win-win!

When it comes to the dipping sauce, you really don't need it. It looks nice on the plate and you should give others the option, but the sauce coats the meatballs really well; providing plenty of flavor. Too much sauce can take away from the meatball itself. Save the calories and fat by skipping the dip. You won't miss it! Promise.

Here is the nutritional breakdown. I have figured the numbers using only half of the sauce made, which would be like tossing the meatballs in sauce but not using the dip. I did this for both the before and after. Most of the calories and fat were saved by using LEAN ground chicken (check the label), baking instead of cooking in vegetable oil and substituting unsweetened/all-natural peanut butter. Here's what we got!

Nutrition Facts (per serving~ 4-5 meatballs w/o dipping sauce):

BEFORE: 354.5 calories;  24.41g fat;  14.6g carbohydrate;  19.38g protein;  1.0g fiber

AFTER: 240.75 calories;  10.68g fat;  8.33g carbohydrate;  28.48g protein;  .72g fiber

SAVES: 113.75 calories ~  13.73g fat ~  6.27g carb
ADDS: 9.1g protein

And just in case you were wondering...skipping the dipping sauce can save around 100 calories and 9 grams of fat! See? There really is no need to dip it. They are already smothered in plenty of sweet peanut goodness. The dip is just a classic case of overkill.

So there you have it! These are now a family favorite in my house. You're gonna wanna give them a try!

Enjoy 'em!


  1. In the words of RR - Yummo! Think I could sub almond butter? SFK is allergic to peanuts but we love asian inspired foods!

  2. hi lindsay,
    i haven't stopped over in a while and saw this delish recipe on my dashboard and thought yum! how is everything going? hope you and your adorable family are doing well! any chance i'll see you at blogher this year??
    shelley :)

  3. Oh, I love peanut sauce...these look wonderful! I hope all is well, Lindsay and hope you are enjoying the summer! :)

  4. SFK, I am sure you could sub almond butter. That would be great too! Nice idea for the other people with peanut allergies. Thanks!

  5. love that peanut sauce. dont usually see those flavors together but it all looks delicious



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