When I was in high school, Panda Express was THE place to go. Often times, we’d hop in the car, head to the mall, and go HAM on some orange chicken. It was quintessential suburban white kid cuisine. Bad for you, sweet, salty, fried, and it didn’t matter because our 16 year old metabolisms could handle it with zero consequences.
Even in college…was a wild night out ever NOT followed up with orange chicken from Great Wall? Nothing soothed a hangover better than a 8 lb takeout box of orange chicken with fried rice and spring rolls. One order would somehow last you at least 3 meals, if not many more.
But now I’m 30, and definitely eat more mindfully, and I have an affinity for meatballs. I love meatballs. Some of my favorite recipes from my blog are meatballs, like these. So I was bored one day and trying to think of new, healthier recipes and my brain went straight to ORANGE CHICKEN MEATBALLS, and so here we are. I’ve been nailing my stir fry sauces lately, so I figure, “why not make it spicy and orange…why not make flavorful gingery, garlic bombs of meatballs to go with it?”
So I did. And this is it! It was spectacular…I legitimately “muahaha’d” when I tasted this sauce for the first time. For my particular go at this, I used super lean turkey (because I’m trying to hit my goals, ya’ll!), so the were definitely more dense, but I suggest a fattier ground turkey or ground chicken breast to make these luscious meatballs. Anyway, check it out below!
For the meatballs:
- 1 lb ground chicken (or turkey…dealer’s choice!)
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 3-4 tbsp of egg whites (or 1 regular egg)
- 1 scallion, sliced
- 1 tbsp ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tbsp of orange zest
- salt, pepper
For the sauce:
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- 3 tbsp of fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 tbsp of orange zest
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp of ginger
- 1 tbsp of sambal oelek
- 1 tsp agave syrup
- 2 tbsp of arrow root powder or cornstarch mixed with equal water
- 1 scallion, sliced
- Serve with: Rice, sesame seeds, salad, scallion pancakes, toothpicks if you’re throwin’ a party!
- Combine all of your ingredients for your meatballs into a large bowl and refrigerate up to 4 hours or more. If you are in a rush, you definitely don’t need to let it marinade for thatttt long, but the flavors meld together just a bit better.
- Once your meatball mixture has had time to marinade, form the meatballs. You can make this as large or as small as you want. I usually just go with whatever I’m in the mood for. For this recipe, I went with about golf ball-sized.
- Bake your meatballs at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until they are toasty and a safe temperature for eating (165 degrees in the middle, at minimum!)
- While your meatballs are cooking – make your sauce! Combine all of your ingredients for the sauce, except for the arrowroot slurry (the powder with the water mixture).
- Simmer your sauce for about 10 minutes so your garlic and ginger become fragrant and flavor begins to build. Once you’re close to pulling the meatballs out of the oven, add your sliced scallions and arrow root slurry to your sauce. Be sure to add this slurry slowly and gradually and to stir continuously. This mixture will thicken up your sauce, so just be mindful as you add this in to your own liking of sauce thickness.
- Once your meatballs are done and sauce is thickened, add the meatballs to your sauce and slather them in all of the deliciousness. And then serve!