With tender chicken meatballs, a fabulous Asian sweet and spicy sauce and a bright, fresh strawberry-cucumber salad, these Chicken Meatball Rice Bowls are a fun, healthy alternative to traditional Asian cuisine.
After the first taste of these Strawberry Balsamic Glazed Chicken Meatballs, I knew that they were destined to be more than just an appetizer. Don't get me wrong, a platter of these tender chicken meatballs glazed with a sticky, sweet, spicy sauce makes a party appetizer that guests can't get enough of. But... combine them in a bowl with fragrant jasmine rice and a beautiful strawberry cucumber salad drizzled with sesame-honey-lime dressing and now you've got a fabulous, fun, healthy dinner we'll simply call Chicken Meatball Rice Bowls.
I won't go over the same info as I did in the meatball recipe, but if you're wondering how to shape and bake nice round meatballs with ground chicken, be sure to refer back to that post. It took me a while to figure it out, but that post walks you through all the details.
Easy and delicious Asian-inspired glaze
The strawberry-balsamic glaze for these Chicken Meatball Rice Bowls is an old family favorite that dates back to the early days of The Café. You can read about the way it came together in this Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Pizza post. It's super easy to make; simply combine strawberry jam, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, fresh ginger, chili garlic sauce, water and corn starch. Bring it all to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. That's it! See what I mean, so easy!
A fresh, fun, fabulous salad!
The salad for these Chicken Meatball Rice Bowls is also easy to stir together and adds a layer of fresh, bright flavor. It also makes the bowls a complete meal and makes a beautiful presentation.
How to prep these Chicken Meatball Rice Bowls
Although these rice bowls are easy enough to stir up for an easy weeknight meal, they're also perfect for entertaining, as much of the work can be done ahead:
- The meatballs can be totally prepared a day or two in advance. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Warm gently in a saucepan or sauté pan before serving.
- Jasmine rice can be prepared ahead and warmed on 50% power in the microwave. It can also be frozen and stored in freezer containers or ziplock bags. Remove from the freezer a few hours before serving. (I like to make a big batch of jasmine rice and freeze it in 1 cup portions, the perfect amount for a meal for Scott and myself. Having bags of rice in the freezer makes it super simple to put together a quick meal on busy days.)
- Prep the salad by preparing the dressing and slicing the cucumbers and red onion early in the day. Just before serving, slice the strawberries and combine everything in a bowl.
Café Tips for making these Chicken Meatball Rice Bowls
- Although winter strawberries are nothing like beautiful, local spring and summer berries, it is possible to find decent ones in the offseason. Look for deep red strawberries that have a bit of shine rather than a dull surface. I find these are sweeter and fresher tasting.
- I use little mini seedless cucumbers for this recipe. If you can't find the small ones, pick up a larger seedless cucumber, also called hothouse, burpless, and/or European cucumbers. With a larger cucumber, I would cut it in half before slicing.
- This recipe calls for chili garlic sauce. You don't have to visit an Asian Market to find chili garlic sauce. Any larger grocery store with an international aisle will have it in the Asian section. It's a really nice condiment to have on hand, as it has lots of flavor and it keeps well in the refrigerator. It does add some heat which is why I use a range for the amount. Start with a little then taste after the sauce is done. You can always add more, but you can't take heat away.
- Like the pretty chopsticks? They add a beautiful, fun touch to these Chicken Meatball Rice Bowls.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
- 5-6 mini seedless cucumbers thinly sliced
- 8 medium fresh strawberries halved, then each half cut into thirds
- half of a small red onion halved and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups cooked jasmine rice
- sesame seeds I use black and white for garnish, if desired
- fresh cilantro basil and/or mint leaves, for garnish, if desired
- cashew halves and pieces for garnish, if desired
Prepare the Strawberry Balsamic Glazed Meatballs and sauce as directed in this recipe.
Combine the lime juice, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce and salt in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Set aside.
Combine the cucumbers, red onion and strawberries in a medium-size bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss gently to coat. Set aside.
Divide rice between 4 serving bowls. Add 3-5 meatballs to one side of each bowl. Spoon some of the sauce over the meatballs and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.
Spoon the salad next to the meatballs, leaving some of the rice exposed. Drizzle any extra dressing over the salad.
Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired. Serve cashews in a small bowl at the table. Enjoy!
See Café Tips above in post for more detailed instructions and tips.
Nutritional information above does not include meatballs and sauce. See Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Meatball post for that information.
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