Sesame-Tamari Turkey Meatballs

Sesama-Tamari Turkey Meatballs

Sesama-Tamari Turkey Meatballs


I used to think that meatballs were off limits, since I don’t eat beef and breadcrumbs are out.  I know you can buy gluten-free breadcrumbs or make them from gluten-free bread, but they are usually loaded with refined starches and yeast, 2 other things that I like to avoid.  Then one day as I was finishing a box of Mary’s Gone Crackers, noticing the crumbs at the bottom of the bag, I had a brilliant idea – these would make excellent breadcrumbs!  Now there’s not very much there, but I go through a box of those crackers every week and if I keep the crumbs in a jar on the shelf after a few weeks I’ve got enough to make a tasty batch of meatballs.  (Of course if you want it sooner, just crush up a bunch of crackers and you’re good to go.)


These meatballs are inspired by a recipe in the NY Times dining section using a soy and sesame sauce.  If you’ve been gluten-free for awhile now, then you know you can’t have soy sauce because it has wheat in it.  But Tamari sauce, on the other hand, is gluten-free and tastes just like soy sauce.  (Many sushi restaurants have it, by the way, if you ask for it.)  Pan-frying the meatballs in toasted sesame oil with green onions complements the flavor of the Tamari.  I use dark turkey thigh meat because it is more moist than white meat and more flavorful.


Sesame-Tamari Turkey Meatballs


1/2 lb. ground turkey (thigh meat)

2 T gluten-free cracker crumbs

1 egg

1 tsp wheat-free low-sodium tamari soy sauce, or more to taste

2-3 green onions

2 T toasted sesame oil

Black pepper to taste


In a mixing bowl, beat the egg and combine with the ground turkey, cracker crumbs, tamari, and the white parts of chopped green onion (save the green scallions for later).  Sprinkle with a few cranks of a fresh pepper grinder.  Tamari is usually loaded with salt, even the low-sodium kind, so there’s no need to add any.  Mix well and form into 2-inch meatballs; you may need to use your hands, just wash them with hot soapy water afterward.  Heat the sesame oil in a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet.  Drop the meatballs one by one into the hot skillet, sprinkling with the remaining green scallions and a drizzling of tamari for more flavor.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes and then flip them over, browning each side until thoroughly cooked in the center.  Add more oil if necessary.  Serve over a bed of brown rice or buckwheat with some stir-fried braising greens.


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