Packed with flavor, these Thai basil pork meatballs with peanut sauce are versatile as well. Dip them as an appetizer or bulk them out into a stir fry. Either way, you'll be back for more.
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There are a number of recipe ideas I come up with that come about due to what I happen to have in the house at the time. Normally this is in the sense that I have a few things in the fridge and I start to wonder which of them will go together and then go from there in terms of flavors.
It's one of the things I like about getting deliveries of vegetables and meat - it helps me be a bit more creative in using things I might not otherwise use as well as putting things together.
These Thai basil pork meatballs, however, were kind of a mistake. OK, let me explain.
I bought some Thai basil by accident and then had to think how best to use it. I say by accident, but really I just had a bit of a 'duh' moment and was thinking Thai basil and Vietnamese mint were the same which of course they aren't (the shop had Thai basil but not Vietnamese mint).
So, one recipe went without and I had a pile of Thai basil to use up. A few mind jumps later and I came up with these Thai basil pork meatballs with peanut-basil sauce, and boy, was I glad of my mistake.
I have used pork meatballs here as they take on flavor well and pork's flavor goes well with everything else. Pork is definitely a very versatile meat. I think there is more difference between all the pork cuts than of any other meat and it can be used in many ways. Even in the last few months I've used it in dishes from carbonara to stuffed pork tenderloin and porchetta.
These meatballs are seasoned with lime zest and Thai basil giving them a fresh flavor that goes well with the delicious peanut-basil sauce. They make a great appetizer using the sauce as a dipping sauce, or you can also do as we did and make it into a full meal with some stir-fry vegetables and using the sauce drizzled over everything.
The sauce is so delicious it would be good with other variations of stir-fry as well as being a delicious dressing to an Asian chicken or noodle salad. The list of ingredients may look long, but most of them are in the same quantity and don't take much preparation so it's actually very easy to just put in a bit of each, and the mix of flavors really is worth it.
Tips to make these pork meatballs
Making the meatballs is easy. All you do is mix the ground pork/pork mince with the chopped Thai basil. lime zest, onion. Season, then mix it all up.
As with most meatballs, often the best way to get them properly mixed is to just get in there with your hands. That way, you get all the additions well distributed.
I then used my tablespoon measure to scoop out nice evenly-sized amounts to roll and then cook. They don't take long, just a few minutes each side to brown.
How to serve these tasty meatballs
I've suggested you can have these as either an appetizer, using the basil-peanut sauce as a dipping sauce, or cooking up some vegetables to make a stir fry. We loved them both ways, so it really depends what you have in mind to serve them.
There are no doubt even more ways you could enjoy both these meatballs and the sauce. They would be good with a simple slaw/Asian salad with the sauce as a dressing and the meatballs maybe broken up a bit more.
However you have them, these Thai basil pork meatballs with peanut sauce have a nice slightly aromatic flavor and the peanut-basil sauce is packed with deliciousness that makes for some great eating. I for one will be making them all again and hope you'll give them a try. Then come back for more.
Like peanut flavors? Try these:
- Chicken satay with peanut sauce
- Lime peanut sauce stir fry
- Thai-style leftover chicken Buddha bowl
- Chicken satay burgers
- Plus get more appetizer recipes in the archives.
Thai basil meatballs with peanut-basil sauce
For the meatballs
- ¾ lb ground pork 340g pork mince
- 1 tablespoon Thai basil finely chopped
- 1 lime zest ie zest of 1 lime
- ½ onion small, or ¼ large, finely diced
- salt and pepper
For the sauce
- 2 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Thai basil finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemongrass minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced, 1-2 cloves
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar
- To make the meatballs, put the ground pork/pork mince in a bowl and add the Thai basil, lime zest onion and some salt and pepper. Mix well to ensure the seasonings are well distributed - I find this works best getting your hands in there.
- Form the meatballs into little balls - I do this using a tablespoon measure and scooping out slightly heaped spoonfuls then rolling them in my hands to smooth them out.
- Make the sauce by mixing together all of the sauce ingredients and stirring so that there are no lumps and the sugar dissolves.
- Cook the meatballs by heating a large skillet/frying pan over a medium heat and add a little vegetable oil. Fry the meatballs for a couple minutes on at least two sides, but ideally three or four until they go slightly brown but don't burn.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
See all the other porky recipes being shared as part of this month's Foodie Extravaganza:
Pork and Apple Pie by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Pork Chops with Spiced Apples by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Mojo Shredded Pork with Black Beans and Rice by Our Good Life
Parmesan Spinach Stuffed Pork Loin by Cooking with Carlee
Pork Meatball Mini Subs by The Freshman Cook
Chili Verde Pork Posole by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Pork Schnitzel by Making Miracles
Spicy Sticky Pork Ribs by Food Lust People Love
Sweet and Sour Pork by Tara's Multicultural Table
Remember to pin for later!
I'm thinking about making these and freezing them for an upcoming party. Thoughts?
Yes, I think that could definitely work. You have two choices with the meatballs - form them and freeze uncooked, then defrost and cook as usual. If you do this, make sure you don't use frozen pork as you don't want to re-freeze if it's not cooked. The other option is to cook the meatballs then freeze them, then defrost and heat them up when you need them. In both cases, I'd suggest you put the meatballs on a baking sheet to freeze then transfer to a freezer bag once frozen. And just make the sauce shortly before serving rather than freezing it (it can still be made a day ahead, but I wouldn't recommend freezing it). Hope you enjoy!
Dini @ The Flavor Bender
I love meatballs and I love Thai food! 🙂 This sounds amazing Caroline! The flavours in this would be insanely good :)!! Happy Fiesta Friday and Saucy Saturday!
Thanks, Dini, they are definitely worth a try! Hope you had a great weekend.
I love to have meatballs, but I always use ground beef. I will have to try pork. Your meatballs sound yummy, although I'm not sure where I would find Thai Basil where I live. They are pretty generic here.
Thanks, Kathleen - pork is definitely worth trying for something different. You could use regular basil if you can't get Thai basil - it's not quite the same taste but gien it is combined with other flavors I think it would work fine here.
I love the two ways because I can make it for dinner for the the kids and then take them to my football tailgating party as finger food! Genius! Thanks for sharing with Saucy Saturdays!
Thanks, Jennifer - they are great both ways so glad it works for you too!
These meatballs sound delicious! Love the flavors you have used and that sauce looks fabulous! YUM!!
Thanks, Naina, it's all very tasty!
Kaila (GF Life 24/7)
Foodie Extravaganza sounds like a blast. And, your recipe is certainly going to be a hit at the fiesta this week. I especially like the freshness from the lime zest and Thai basil. It's great how you can adapt the meatballs for an appetizer or a main force as well. Thank you so much for bringing these to FF, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 😀
Thanks, Kaila, these are really tasty and great both ways.
Oh, these sound like the perfect, yummy appetizer. Love the idea of the dipping sauce, too 🙂
I've never made meatballs before because they look so complex but you make it look so easy and I just adore the flavor of basil! Would it work if I make them with turkey or chicken instead? Happy FF and thanks for sharing! Oh and have a fabulous weekend! 🙂
Thanks, Cynthia, meatballs are easy, I would definitely recommend trying. Yes you could substitute chicken or turkey but they don't have quite as much flavor; I think the pork works particularly well but they would work too. Happy FF to you too!
That looks yummy!! I love the addition of the dipping sauce...perfect appetizer for a game day!
Thanks, Elaine - it does indeed make a great appetizer.
Yum, that sauce sounds amazing! I happen to like thai basil more than mint 🙂
This looks delicious! I love Thai basil anything and I like you can eat this two ways. I have a party coming up and I think it will be a great appetizer.
Thanks, Denise, I agree it would be great for a party. Hope you enjoy.
I have a TON of Thai basil in my herb garden. In fact, it is taking over the whole thing! This will be a perfect use for some of it!
Great, Carlee, I hope you enjoy!
Lauren @ Sew You Think You Can Cook
These meatballs sound so good! I just love how a little ball of meat can pack so much flavor.
Thanks, Lauren, so true!
Yummy Caroline! Thanks for sharing!!