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5 from 5 votes

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Meatballs are an easy Asian main dish recipe that are a kid favorite, and mom too, with hidden veggies in the meatballs and a simple sauce made from scratch.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 419kcal
Author: Jade Jones



  • 1 lb ground turkey or ground beef
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp onion chopped
  • 1 zucchini finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot finely shredded
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg use 2 eggs if using medium eggs

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 40 oz pineapple chunks or 2- 20 oz cans, reserve the juice
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 red bell peppers cut into thin 1 inch strips
  • 1 red onion cut into chunks


  • To cook meatballs, pan fry them over medium heat until brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time. This may need to be done in batches depending on your pan size.
  • Remove meatballs from frying pan and drain fat.
  • Mix brown sugar and cornstarch in skillet. Stir in pineapple with juice, vinegar, and soy sauce.
  • Heat to boiling, stirring frequently.
  • Add meatballs and reduce to low heat. Cover and simmer stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
  • Add bell peppers and onion. Cover and simmer until crisp- tender about 5 more minutes.
  • Serve with white rice and garlic soy edamame.

To bake the meatballs:

  • If baking, cut a piece of parchment paper to the size of the pan.
  • Place meatballs with a little room in between each one.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes.


Meatballs are one of my favorite ways to add in a ton of extra veggies without anyone noticing.  I finely shred a zucchini and a large carrots to add to the mix.  I sometimes also will finely chop spinach or use thawed frozen spinach and add that to the mix.
I use both ground turkey and ground beef equally so use whichever meat is preferred by your family.
Whenever I am making something that needs finely shredded veggies I use my food processor fitted with the shredding blade.  It's the fastest way to knock out the ingredient prep AND gets the veggies small enough that the kids don't seem to notice.
I also always use oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs or crushed crackers because of the nutritional advantage.  If you're concerned about the texture so far no one has noticed I use oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs.  
You could always grind up the oatmeal in a food processor or blender to get a finer mixture.  
I like to bake my meatballs instead of pan frying them because I can get a big batch done at once and go ahead and get started on the sauce.  So choose what appeals more to you and go with it.


Calories: 419kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 809mg | Potassium: 810mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 67g | Vitamin A: 3480IU | Vitamin C: 76.6mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 2.2mg