These ground chicken meatballs are spiced with sumac, coriander, and cumin making them super flavorful! The spices make these meatballs more interesting than your average chicken meatballs, and they pair well with Trader Joe's Zhoug sauce for an extra kick.
Meatball Meal Prep
Meatballs of any kind are one of my favorite migraine friendly meals. They’re perfect for meal prepping since you can freeze them easily, having them on hand at any time you don’t feel up to cooking. I tend to stick with beef, buffalo, or chicken since it can be challenging to find ground turkey without some kind of “natural flavoring” added to it. Using chicken for these really allows the spices to shine. Normally I find chicken meatball recipes a little bit dry and flavorless, but these have a ton of really interesting flavors and are the perfect amount of firm on the outside and soft on the inside.
I love meatball meal prep because you can make a batch of these on a Sunday, freeze them, and then keep them on hand for really bad days. I recommend defrosting and re-heating in the oven (covered with foil at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes) for best results, but the microwave works too.
The key to this particular recipe is a spice called sumac, and it should be a staple in any Heal Your Headache kitchen. Before Europeans had access to lemons, sumac was used to impart a lemon like flavor to food. Sumac is bright red look and tart flavor make it perfect for adding to dishes where you can’t use citrus. It pairs really well with chicken since it adds a bit of brightness to it. Obviously lemon and chicken are classic flavors together, so it makes sense that sumac pairs beautifully as well.
The spice is especially wonderful in hummus. You can find it in most Middle Eastern markets or on Amazon, as well as most grocery stores.
What to Pair with Sumac Chicken Meatballs
I love to serve these with arugula tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper along with some Trader Joe’s Zhoug sauce, which is a spicy mixture of peppers and cilantro. But some other options would be:
- Pomegranate Cous Cous
- Pasta Salad
- Alongside Hummus and Pita
- Or as the meatballs in this meal prep salad
How to Make Sumac Chicken Gluten Free
If you’re gluten free, I like to use these bread crumbs. They do contain guar gum and milk. If you’re sensitive or dairy free you could try this brand. Sometimes I just leave it out completely and the meatballs are still good, even if they don’t hold together as well. Chilling your meat for 30 minutes or so before forming the balls will help with that.
You can find regular panko without any gums, just be sure to check your labels for other triggers!
OTHER CHICKEN RECIPES
This post was updated on 4.30.2020 to include new images and more recipe tips.
Sumac Chicken Meatballs (gluten free option)
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
- 1 small shallot or ½ a large, peeled and chopped small
- ½ tsp sumac
- ½ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp coriander
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup panko
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- ½ tsp kosher salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place all your ingredients, except oil, in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands until combined. Cover and chill if you have time. It will make forming the balls a little easier.
- Form the balls into roughly 2" pieces. In a large saute pan, add the olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add your meatballs, giving them enough room to sear properly. Sear on all sides, about 3 minutes total, just until browned but not cooked through. Transfer seared meatballs to a baking sheet.
- Once all the meatballs have been seared, bake for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees till cooked through.
- Top with Trader Joe's Zhoug sauce for an extra kick. These would also be great with hummus or on top of a salad!
- For toasted sesame seeds - use a clean, small pan over medium heat and toast for 1-2 minutes. Careful, they can burn fast!
- If you can't find ground chicken, ask your butcher. Ground chicken thighs or breast would work in this recipe. Thighs tend to be more flavorful, but both are good.
- For gluten free, use gluten free panko.