Recipe: Weeknight Teriyaki Meatball Bowls

Recipe: Weeknight Teriyaki Meatball Bowls

Christine Gallary
Jul 31, 2017
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Keeping a bag of meatballs in the freezer means a quick meal is never far away, but that doesn't mean it always has to be spaghetti and meatballs or meatball subs. Yes, frozen meatballs do tend to be Italian flavored, but the seasoning is usually mild enough that we can easily change their flavor profile.

Simmered in an easy teriyaki sauce made with pantry staples that require minimal chopping, then tossed with udon noodles and a bag of frozen vegetables, this fast dinner has it all: tender meatballs cooked straight from the freezer, chewy noodles, and vegetables all coated in a sauce that will please little ones and adults alike.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Choose Your Own Meatball Adventure

There are so many ways to customize this 30-minute meal. Easily make it vegetarian by using vegetarian or vegan meatballs; it's worth it to always keep a bag of your favorite ones in the freezer. No udon noodles? No problem — go with good ol' spaghetti.

Pick your favorite frozen veg: I like chunkier vegetables rather than smaller ones (like peas and corn) because they're easier to eat with the long noodles and won't fall to the bottom of the bowl. Try the broccoli-cauliflower combo — that's my favorite!

Freezer-to-Table Meals

The freezer is one of our favorite secret weapons for getting weeknight dinners on the table stat. This week, we're sharing the best staples to keep in the freezer and, more importantly, how to turn them into tasty meals that require minimal effort or planning. It's time to embrace our friend the freezer!

Weeknight Teriyaki Meatball Bowls

Serves 4

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound frozen meatballs
12 ounces dried udon noodles
1 pound frozen chunky mixed vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Scallions or toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, place 1 cup of the water, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the saucepan. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed, until cooked through, about 20 minutes or according to package directions.

Meanwhile, add the udon to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Three minutes before the udon is ready, add the frozen vegetables. Cook until the udon is tender, about 3 minutes more. Drain the udon and vegetables (do not rinse), then return to the pot and set aside.

When the meatballs are ready, place the remaining 1 tablespoon water and cornstarch in a small bowl and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add to the simmering meatballs and cook until the sauce thickens and is glossy, about 30 seconds. Pour the meatballs and sauce onto the udon and vegetables and gently toss to combine. Taste and season with salt as needed. Sprinkle with the scallions or sesame seeds if desired before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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