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20 Jul

Ginger and Lemongrass Meatballs with Braised Scallions

Ginger and Lemongrass Meatballs with Braised ScallionsGinger and lemongrass meatballs are so moist and uber flavorful that they don’t need any sauce. This blend of lamb and pork boldly seasoned with ginger, lemongrass, garlic, basil and cilantro will knock you out with flavor and aroma. Just serve the meatballs on a plate with a side of braised scallions for dinner or stash them all in the fridge for some high-protein snacking. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Meatballs are a terrific vehicle for getting more lamb into your diet. Why use ground lamb instead of beef? Lamb is a great source of B vitamins, niacin and zinc, and it’s one of the richest sources of CLA. If you want to make these meatballs entirely out of lamb, go for it. Just be extra careful not to overcook them, as it’s easy to overcook lamb resulting in a tough rather than tender meatball.

Speaking of which, the two tablespoon of water in the ingredient list? Water helps keep meatballs extra tender and moist. Don’t worry about the meat holding together, it will. Don’t skip the fish sauce either. It gives these meatballs mouth-watering umami flavor and saltiness (so don’t shake in more).

If you don’t try the braised scallions with these meatballs, keep the recipe in mind for another meal. Don’t we all end up with extra green onions in our fridge at one point or another? Instead of letting them go bad, throw those onions in pan with butter, coconut oil and water. You’ll end up with a side dish that brings a little bit of healthy sulfur into your life and a new addiction: the sweet, salty, crispy tips of braised scallions.

Servings: 30 small meatballs

Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour


  • 1 pound ground lamb (450 g)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork (230 g)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (3.8 cm)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves (120 ml)
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves (240 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce (20 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (30 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons water (30 ml)

Braised Scallions

  • 1 bunch of scallions (about 16 stalks),trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon butter (15 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (15 ml)
  • 1/2 cup of water (120 ml)
  • Salt


Preheat oven to 375 ºF (190 ºC).

In a large bowl combine the ground meat with the egg and carrot.

Peel away the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass until a softer, pale yellow inner stalk appears. Cut off the bulb at the end of the stalk and discard. Thinly slice the lower half of the stalk for this recipe; the greener, upper half will be too woody and tough to use.

In a food processor, combine the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, basil, cilantro, fish sauce, lime juice and water. Blend until finely chopped, scraping down the sides a few times.

Meatball Mixture

Gently mix the lemongrass/herb mixture into the ground meat. Form about 30 1-inch diameter meatballs. Don’t pack them too tight; gently formed meatballs that seem a little loose are more tender than tightly packed meatballs.

Place the meatballs on a broiler pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until just slightly pink in the middle.

Eat the meatballs immediately or keep them for several days in the refrigerator. Once cooled, the meatballs can also be frozen.

To make the braised scallions, lay the scallions in a buttered or oiled 9×13 rimmed baking dish. The scallions can be overlapping.

Cut the tablespoon of butter into small pieces and drop over the scallions. Drizzle the coconut oil and sprinkle salt on top.

Add the water to the pan and tightly cover the pan with foil.


Braise for 30 minutes (can be in the oven at the same time as the meatballs).

Ginger and Lemongrass Meatballs with Braised Scallions
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  1. This sounds delicious! Is there a substitute for the fish sauce? Would coconut aminos suffice?

    DP wrote on July 20th, 2013
    • Just made them tonight and it when swimmingly delicious! :) I didn’t have any fish sauce either and used Teriyaki instead. When my mom makes burgers I think she uses Worcestershire sauce.

      Oh and I had a little extra that I couldn’t fit on the pan… so I made one big one and stuffed it with BACON!!!! 😀

      Jay wrote on August 6th, 2013
  2. Wondering if there is a substitute for the eggs? Can’t do eggs but this looks amazing!

    Alma Mahler wrote on July 20th, 2013
    • Chia seeds make a good egg substitute

      DP wrote on July 20th, 2013
    • I make meatballs without eggs all the time, and they hang together fine. No need to add anything else.

      Pen wrote on July 21st, 2013
    • Why no eggs?

      Nancy wrote on July 23rd, 2013
    • My husband is allergic to eggs, and I have successfully used Ener-G egg replacement in anything requiring beaten eggs as a binder or in baking.

      Susan wrote on July 26th, 2013
  3. That looks terrific! Trying it tomorrow.

    Mark B wrote on July 20th, 2013
  4. Is this the type of fish sauce that is found in Asian grocery stores. That stuff is highly concentrated and strong and the amount here sounds like an awful lot.

    Chris wrote on July 21st, 2013
    • It works out perfectly with that much fish sauce.

      Shireen wrote on July 21st, 2013
  5. These were delicious! I had sirloin on hand, so just used beef instead of lamb and pork. Added a little extra garlic, salt, and black pepper. Skipped on adding water because they were pretty moist. Thanks!

    Shireen wrote on July 21st, 2013
  6. That sounds good, I will give it a try. And thanks for giving metric units!

    brighteye wrote on July 21st, 2013
  7. These were very good. The ginger, lemongrass, fish sauce, and fresh herbs pack a ton of flavor into these tasty spheres! Don’t skimp on the fish sauce or lime juice.

    There’s a fair amount of kitchen prep but nothing was hard. We used ground beef instead of ground lamb with good results. I was fairly precise about rolling 1″ diameter balls [culinary OCD, don’t ask! 😉 ] and ended up with about 45 meatballs.

    We didn’t have scallions — or leeks which I be would also be great — so I sauteed some garden squash in butter and served alongside the meatballs with mixed greens in a vinegary dressing. Add a glass of Tempranillo and it was a great dinner.

    The leftovers will make great snacks or a quick lunch entree tomorrow.

    T.P. wrote on July 21st, 2013
  8. Yum! Mexican meatballs are a staple in our house… great for easy midweek meal. We roll shredded carrots with ground pork, beef, or Turkey (never thought of using lamb but now I’ll give it a go). Brown the meatballs in coconut/olive oil, onions and garlic. In the blender, mix tomatoes onion, garlic, cilantro, jalepeno and some water… Once your meatballs are browned pour the sauce in the pan and let them cook. Delicious! Serve it in the soup… One of my favorite inexpensive, easy meals. I definetly want to try this recipe to put a twist on the staple!

    Christin wrote on July 22nd, 2013
  9. Just made this with organic chicken thighs that I ground. Added extra lime juice. AMAZING!!! Served with mashed cauliflower, topped with coconut curry sauce.

    Michelle wrote on July 23rd, 2013
    • Oh, half pork, half chicken.

      Michelle wrote on July 23rd, 2013
  10. I made this last night with bison instead of lamb and dried lemongrass because I could not find it fresh at the store. It was amazing. It made 5 meals. Having leftovers today and my coworkers will be coming over to see what they smell. They always do when I bring in one of these dishes.

    Grace wrote on July 26th, 2013
  11. OUTSTANDING!!!!! Just made it for today’s dinner with a side of my fav cauliflower rice YOMYOM :) Thank you Mark, the flavor was amazing!!

    Cavegal wrote on August 5th, 2013
  12. made this this one today (almost this one) used just pork meat and switched carrots for grounded pineapple. Made souse out of coconut and scallions. That was awesome.

    Marina wrote on October 6th, 2013

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