Have you tried the Chicken Zucchini Poppers on my blog yet? They’re the most popular recipe of all time. I love them because they’re easy to put together, a great way to “sneak” extra veggies into a meal, and they freeze well, so it’s easy to make a double batch and have a quick meal another day or take some to a friend.
We’ve tried putting an Asian twist on them with a teriyaki glaze, tried dipping them in a citrus avocado sauce, and now this variation: Thai curry!
Just like the pomegranate rice, my inspiration recipe came from this post by Half Baked Harvest featuring her take on a red Thai Curry. We combined and adapted a few recipes and, through trial and error, we’ve come up with a combination that works well for us.
This sauce is creamy and satisfying. We’ve swapped out the traditional peanut butter for cashew butter. I love the flavor of cashew butter and know many of you are peanut free for allergies or dietary reasons, but the recipe also works well with sunflower seed butter, or traditional peanut butter. Whatever you prefer!
If you’ve never worked with curry paste before, be advised that the flavor develops and intensifies as it blends into the sauce. Start small and work your way up! Michael’s sweet spot is about 2 Tablespoons per recipe, where I’m more of a 1 Tablespoon kind of girl.
We love this because it’s delicious and flavorful, but you don’t have to worry about your house smelling like curry for a week. Creamy, delicious, and filling enough on its own, you don’t need to serve it with anything (especially if you’re Paleo or doing Whole30), but we also LOVE it with this pomegranate rice. For Paleo and Whole30 eaters, this great recipe for roasted cauliflower rice should fit the bill. You can jazz it up with some minced cilantro and fresh pomegranate if you like.
Lastly, if the meatballs seem like too much work for a weeknight, you can always just use 1 lb. of chicken, diced and cooked. If you do have the time, though, I highly recommend baking a double batch of meatballs and freezing some for later!
Notes on the Recipe:
We’ve tried this with chile oil (for a Whole30 version) and Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. Both are delicious. We’ve also found that Thai Kitchen brand red chile paste isn’t full of weird additives, etc., but in case you’re feeling ambitious and want to use homemade ingredients…
A few helpful links:
- How to Make Chile Oil (if you’re using it in place of the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce)
- Thai Sweet Chile Sauce by Pinch of Yum
- Paleo Curry Paste by Cook Like a Cavewoman
If you can’t find ground chicken where you live, read the note below for making your own. It’s easy! Also: for Whole30 and Paleo: be sure to use chile oil and coconut aminos, as directed)
For the meatballs:
- 1 lb. ground chicken breast* (or, see note below)
- 1 1/2– 2 cups shredded zucchini, patted dry with paper towels
- 2 Tbsp cilantro, minced
- 1–2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- coconut oil for greasing baking sheet
For the curry:
- 1 (14oz) can coconut milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup cashew butter (sunflower seed butter or peanut butter will also work)
- 2–3 Tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce (use 2 tsp chile oil for Paleo/Whole30)
- 1–2 Tablespoons red curry paste
- 2 tsp fresh ginger
- 2 tsp gluten free tamari (use coconut aminos for Paleo/Whole30, or you can use soy sauce)
- 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/2–3/4c water (as needed)
For the meatballs:
- In a large bowl, blend ground chicken breast, zucchini, cilantro, ginger, and salt. Toss with a fork until just mixed in (it’ll probably feel like you have too much zucchini at first. Don’t worry! Just keep going.)
- Using a small scoop or a heaped tablespoon, scoop out meatballs onto a baking sheet lined with foil and greased with a bit of coconut oil. (Depending on the size of your meatballs, you’ll end up with about 24-28 meatballs).
- Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until they’re cooked through. If desired, broil an additional 1-2 minutes for browning.
For the curry:
- While the meatballs are baking, Whisk together coconut milk, pumpkin puree, cashew butter, chili sauce (or oil), curry paste, ginger, and tamari in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat until smooth and heated through. Taste and add additional curry paste, chili sauce (for more kick), or tamari as desired. Stir in cilantro. Add water as needed to thin out the sauce.
- When the meatballs are cooked through, add them to the sauce and stir to coat well.
*If you can’t find ground chicken, you can make your own! Just put boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs (or a mix of both) into your food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until finely ground.