Turkey Meatball Lettuce Wraps

I like meatballs, especially when they’re cooked in a marinara sauce and served with spaghetti. Meatballs in a brown gravy that accompany mashed potatoes are also hard to beat. And they’re not too shabby in a sub sandwich, either.

But how about meatball lettuce wraps? I just came across a recipe for those that was adapted from one in Good Housekeeping magazine’s, May 2011 issue. (You can either bake the meatballs or grill them.)

Among the ingredients in the recipe are fresh cilantro, green onions,  mint, carrots, limes and fish sauce or nuoc cham , a salty condiment made from fermented anchovies. (Look for it in the Asian foods section of the market.)

Turkey Meatball Lettuce Wraps
3 limes (2 juiced and 1 cut into wedges)
3 cups shredded carrots
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, or mint leaves, thinly sliced, divided
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped, divided
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon lower-sodium fish sauce, divided
1¼ teaspoons sugar, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 19.2-ounce package lean (93 percent) or extra-lean (97 percent) ground turkey breast
12 Boston lettuce leaves
3 to 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, optional
If using bamboo skewers, soak them in cold water. Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling on medium-high. Or preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the lime juice in a medium bowl (you should have about ¼ cup). Set the lime wedges aside.
Add the carrots, half the cilantro or mint, green onions, ¼ teaspoon garlic, 1 teaspoon fish sauce, ¼ teaspoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir; let stand.
In a large bowl, combine the turkey, remaining 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon pepper, the rest of the cilantro or mint and garlic. Shape tablespoons of the mixture into meatballs. Arrange on skewers, ½-inch apart, and flatten slightly.
Grill meatballs 4 to 5 minutes or until grill marks appear and meat loses its pink color and is cooked through, turning occasionally.
Divide meatballs and carrot mixture among lettuce leaves. Drizzle with the chili sauce, if desired, and serve with lime wedges.
Yield: Serves: 4
Note: To quickly form the meatballs, use a mini-ice cream scoop.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving based on 93 percent lean turkey without the sauce: 230 calories, 27 percent of calories from fat, 7 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 15 grams carbohydrates, 27 grams protein, 415 milligrams sodium, 66 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams fiber.

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