New Meal Monday: Banh-Mi Turkey Meatballs with Soba

Do you ever find yourself in a cooking rut, falling back on the same meals every week? We are guilty of this, especially on the days when we get home late after a climbing session. Every so often, however, the stars (and grocery bags) align, and we come up with a new weekday meal that exceeds all expectations. The game-changer of our grocery bag? Ground turkey. The shake-it-up recipe? Banh-Mi turkey meatballs! | Banh-mi turkey meatballs with soba noodles

There are so many flavour combinations I want to try incorporating into our meals, but never seem to remember them when faced with the urgent dilemma of “what to eat for dinner tonight”. Vietnamese-inspired food is one of them – specifically, those found in traditional Banh-mi sandwiches. They always look so fresh and flavourful, and every time I see one pop up on my food blog feeds, the light bulb goes off, “Ah, right, I wanted to try a version of that!”.

So when Jonty announced his grocery store haul, I immediately pounced on my dinner choice – a Vietnamese Banh-mi inspired turkey meatballs! While we shifted the carb of choice from the white bread bun to the buckwheat soba noodle, the essence of the dish remained. | Banh-mi turkey meatballs with soba noodles

These turkey meatballs are quick to prepare and the taste was amazing – at first bite, I immediately wished I would have thought of trying these sooner! Baked in the oven, they are healthy, nutritious, and full of good protein (over 13 g of protein per meatball!). They also freeze well, so definitely make a big batch of them for those nights when you’re in a rush to eat. | Banh-mi turkey meatballs with soba noodles

To make this meal even easier to prepare, try slicing the veggies (carrots, peppers, zucchini, etc) into very thin strips. In the last few minutes of boiling the soba noodles, throw the veggies in with them, turning this into a great one-pot meal! They will soften just enough to tangle in with the noodles, but not get mushy.

Toss the veggies and noodles with a bit of the tangy dressing and reserved pasta water, plate with the turkey burgers, and dinner can be on the table in just over 30 minutes. | Banh-mi turkey meatballs with soba noodles

If you’re looking for a healthy meal with a fresh, savory taste, give this recipe a try. I know these turkey meatballs will definitely be allowed into our “must repeat” category. Ah, the benefits of New Meal Monday for shaking us out of our cooking rut 🙂

Banh-Mi Turkey Meatballs with Soba Noodles
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 15 meatballs, 4 bowls
  • Serving size: 1 meatball
  • Calories: 100
  • Fat: 5.2 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.9 g
  • Sugar: 0.2 g
  • Sodium: 105 mg
  • Fiber: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 13.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 46 mg
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For the Meatballs:
  • 1 kg ground turkey
  • 2 red Thai chilis, finely chopped
  • 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp water
For the Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 1 red Thai chili, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
For the Noodles:
  • 230 g / 8 oz buckwheat soba noodles
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • Handful cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cashews, finely chopped (optional)
Make the Turkey Meatballs:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cream of tartar, the baking soda and water, and leave to sit while mixing the turkey.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients for the turkey burgers and gently mix until well combined. Add the water and cream of tartar mixture and mix until combined.
  4. If the mixture seems too wet, place in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill.
  5. In ¼ cup measures, scoop out the turkey mixture, form into a ball shape and place on the parchment-lined tray. Bake the meatballs in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, flipping half-way through.
Make the Pasta and Sauce:
  1. While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce. Place all ingredients into a jar with a lid, and shake well to combine. The oil and vinegar will probably separate before you need it, so shake before adding to the pasta.
  2. In a large pot, cook the soba noodles according to package directions. A few minutes before the noodles have finished cooking, add the sliced carrot and peppers.
  3. Drain the noodles and vegetables, retaining some of the cooking liquid, and then return the noodle mixture to the cooking pot. Add the sauce to the bowl and toss thoroughly to coat the noodles and veggies. Add some of the pasta water, as needed.
  4. When the meatballs are cooked, divide the pasta into 4 bowls, adding a couple to the top of each. Garnish with chopped cashews and more cilantro, if desired.
The meatballs will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to one week, and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Enjoy! | Banh-mi turkey meatballs with soba noodles | Peanut-Coconut Red Thai Chicken with Grilled Pineapple

Peanut-Coconut Red Thai Chicken with Grilled Pineapple

It’s Monday, it’s Family Day (in BC, at least), the sun is shining, and we have a week of vacation to look forward to!

Our plans for the week include climbing, cooking, cycling (Jonty is finally able to do this after his knee injury!), and generally relaxing – really, all the attributes of a good stay-cation 🙂 | Peanut-coconut red Thai chicken with grilled pineapple

Flying home this past weekend, I had a 2-hour layover in LAX, in which I spent a good chunk of that time people-watching. The waiting area was filled with a plethora of highly-tanned / sun-burnt people, wearing shorts, flip-flops and sun hats. Looking at the t-shirts many of them were wearing, I suspect most were coming back from a vacation in Mexico.

I’m convinced that a week, or even a couple of days, of sunshine can do good things for a person’s general well-being, especially if you live on the West Coast, where it’s generally a given that the first few months of the year will be spent in grey, rainy weather.

So if you can’t get away for a few warm days somewhere, this meal might be your next best bet! It’s very colourful, and the taste of grilled pineapple will whisk your taste-buds away to a brighter, more tropical place. At least, that’s what we’re telling ourselves 🙂

There’s something very satisfying in the pairing of sweet and spicy; in this case, the grilled pineapple mixed in with the spicy red curry hit the spot. | Peanut-coconut red Thai chicken with grilled pineapple

This meal is easy to make and can be a clean-out-the-fridge kind of dinner, using whatever protein and vegetables suit your mood. We used coconut milk and our homemade Thai red curry paste as the base for this curry, and added in chicken and an assortment of veggies. While the curry is simmering away, the farro can be cooked and, just before you’re ready to eat, the pineapple can be grilled. | Peanut-coconut red Thai chicken with grilled pineapple

In about 30 minutes, you’ve got a dinner ready that will hopefully whisk you away to a warmer, brighter place (at least, in taste 🙂 ).

Peanut-Coconut Red Thai Chicken with Grilled Pineapple
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4 servings
  • Serving size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 560
  • Fat: 32.3 g
  • Saturated fat: 22.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38.6 g
  • Sugar: 14.6 g
  • Sodium: 217.7 mg
  • Fiber: 6.9 g
  • Protein: 36.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 91.3 mg
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 500 g boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 can (495mL) full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste (we used our homemade version)
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ¼ whole pineapple, sliced into wedges
  • ½ cup farro
For the farro:
  1. Rinse the farro under running water until the water runs clear. Place into a small sauce pan and add enough water to cover the farro by a few inches.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to low, partially cover and let simmer for ~25 minutes, or until the grain is tender but still has a bite. Drain any water remaining in the pan, and set aside until ready to eat.
For the curry:
  1. Add the coconut milk, red curry paste, peanut butter and fish sauce to a large sauce pan over medium heat. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the coconut milk starts to thicken slightly.
  2. Add the chopped chicken, stir and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the pepper and carrot, and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, add the chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
  5. While the curry is simmering, grill the pineapple pieces. Place the pineapple on a grill pan over medium-high heat for 2 - 4 minutes, until the pineapple starts to caramelize and get the nice sear marks on it. Flip the pieces over and grill for the same amount of time.
To serve:
  1. Spoon some farro into a bowl and laddle the curry over top.
  2. Sprinkle with any remaining cilantro and serve with the grilled pineapple.

Enjoy! | Peanut-coconut red Thai chicken with grilled pineapple

New Meal Monday: Chorizo Sliders

We’re not vegan or gluten-free or paleo or vegetarians, nor are we allergic to dairy or nuts or wheat. I guess we’re pretty fortunate in that respect. But we do love flavourful food, so if a recipe happens to fall into any of the above categories, we’re on it!

I have a paleo cookbook that was recommended to me by a work friend (she and I tend to discuss food… a lot…). She said the recipes in the book were full of really bold, flavourful dishes: she was right! The page in the book I turn to the most is the general one for making meatballs, burgers and sausage. There are about 12 or 15 different spice combinations to give you extra-tasty meal options – flavours like Italian, Thai, Greek, Moroccan, etc. | Chorizo sliders

The “general” recipe starts with a pound of meat (beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey… all are fair game!) and the spice mixture of choice. I decided to branch out the other day, and went for a chorizo spice. I tweaked the recipe a bit, given the spices I had on hand, and I believe the original called for pork, but we had ground bison in the fridge.

Whether you make burgers, meatballs or sausages, all freeze well, so make more than you need and have a dinner in the freezer, ready for another night!

I made slider buns, because they just taste so darned good (and they also freeze well!). You can find that recipe here, but most normal people would just go out and buy some 😉

Jonty makes a killer coleslaw, so we tend to use that as the De facto standard for things like sliders and tacos, but really, the toppings are up to you! The chorizo burgers had a good flavour – not too spicy, so if you want a bigger kick, I would boost the amount of chili flakes and chipotle powder. | Chorizo | Chorizo sliders

If you’re looking for a boost to your standard burger, definitely give these a try!

New Meal Monday: Chorizo Sliders
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 10 - 12 patties
  • Serving size: 1 patty
  • Calories: 88
  • Fat: 6.2 g
  • Saturated fat: 2.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.6 g
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 217.7 mg
  • Fiber: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 7.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 26.5 mg
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Adapted slightly from Well Fed 2
  • 454 g (1 lb) extra-lean ground bison
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp fresh ground pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Mix together the warm water, cream of tartar and baking soda, and set aside.
  3. Mix together the garlic, red wine vinegar and spices (chili flakes through ground pepper). Place the ground bison into a large mixing bowl, add the spice mixture and mix well. Add the cream of tartar mixture and mix well (this helps to tenderize the meat). You may want to use your hands to make sure the spices are thoroughly combined.
  4. I placed the mixture into the fridge for about 30 minutes, to give the spices time to mingle with the beef. I also find that having a cold mixture makes it easier to form the burger patties. It's not necessary, though, so do what works for your timeline.
  5. Use a ¼ or ⅓ cup scoop to portion out the meat, depending on how big you want your sliders to be. Shape the bison mixture into a flattened disc, about 2 cm thick.
  6. Place the burger patties onto a baking sheet (either lined with parchment paper, or onto a wire rack to let any fat drip away) and bake in a 400°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping half way through the cooking time.
  7. Serve on a sliced slider bun with your favourite toppings.