closeup of Hoisin Chicken Meatballs in a blue and white bowl

Spicy Hoisin Chicken Meatballs

Farm-to-table chicken meatballs

I consider myself lucky, living in Southern California. The riches of the earth are positively at my fingertips. And in a climate that welcomes new growth in every season, I know my next farm-to-table experience is right around the corner. Especially because every week, I get my own little piece of the farm-to-table movement deliver to my door. It comes in the form of a CSA box packed with jewels from farmer Kenny at Tanaka Farms.

Healthy, stress-free cooking that’s full of flavor

Of late, the romaine coming from the farm has been so seductive; creamy white with light green tips, crisp and succulent. Seriously! If you never thought lettuce could be sexy, you should feast your eyes on this. I’ve enjoyed the whole leaves as a crisp counter point to rich and spicy flavors, like these chicken meatballs with an Asian splash.

And yes, it was actually the lettuce that inspired this chicken meatball recipe. But I think anyone who loves chicken lettuce cups will understand why! And although my recipe adopts some of the same principals as lettuce cups, I think you’ll appreciate that these ginger and hoisin-spiked meatballs can be served with the crisp romaine, or on their own as party food. You could also add a bowl of udon and make a rich meal of protein-rich meatballs and slippery noodles. The possibilities are almost endless!

But that’s because the recipe starts with a healthy form of protein and then builds flavor with exciting but still healthy, Asian ingredients. (And this includes the aphrodisiac of fresh ginger and the heat of chile flakes.) It’s the use of these bold–not to mention–fun ingredients, that make this simple meatball recipe so successful.

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If you enjoy this recipe, please check out more of my farm box fresh and local fare, visit

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closeup of Hoisin Chicken Meatballs in a blue and white bowl
Spicy Hoisin Chicken Meatballs
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
22 mins
This is one of those weeknight dinners that everyone will love. When you can't decide what you want, these flavorful meatballs with their crunchy and refreshing salad accompaniment satisfy every craving.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Dish Type: meatballs
Cooking Style: Easy, fast
Diet and Health: gluten-free, Healthy, low carb, low fat
Ingredient: chicken
Servings: 4 servings
Created by: Diane Brown
  • 1 pound lean ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Japanese Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 8 large romaine leaves washed a trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, half of the garlic and half of the hoisin sauce in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and mix to combine.
  3. Roll mixture, about 2 tablespoons, into balls, and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in oven for about 5 minutes, until meatballs start to become slightly firm.
  5. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining hoisen, garlic and ginger in a small bowl.
  6. Remove meatballs from the oven, and using a pastry brush, lightly brush the sauce on the partially cooked meatballs.
  7. Return to oven and continue to bake for another 5 minutes, or until meatballs are very firm to the touch and cooked through.
  8. To serve: place meatballs on romaine leaves, top with grated carrots and cilantro, and enjoy right away.

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