Sesame Chicken Meatball Salad with Orange Ginger Dressing


Ground chicken and cooked rice get mixed together with soy and sesame flavors for an easy, delicious protein to add to salads or bowls. For this recipe, we’re putting them on top of a crunchy green salad that gets tossed in a sweet and salty sesame ginger dressing. Rice noodles are optional for a heartier salad!

Ingredient highlight

Ginger! gets it’s medicinal effects from a substance called gingerol. It is a carminative, which means it helps get rid of gas and soothes our digestive system. It can also boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Servings 4
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes


  • 6-8 oz rice noodles (optional)
  • 1 lb ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled short grain brown rice*
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)**
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 7-8 cups salad greens
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 ripe summer tomato, chopped (optional)
  • Fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, scallions, and/or mint)
  • Sesame seeds

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (from about 2 navel oranges)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • *Cook 1 cup of dry rice to get about 2.5-3 cups cooked. Use leftover rice for bowls or add it to the salad.
  • **Save some extra green scallions for topping if you have enough!


  • If using rice noodles, cook them according to the package instructions, then rinse under cold water and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 450F or 425F convection. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons olive oil all over the baking sheet and use your hands or a brush to spread around evenly.
  • In a large bowl, add the meat, rice, scallions, soy, sesame, garlic, and salt and use your hands to thoroughly combine. Form into about 16 golf ball-sized meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet (wet your hands to help keep the meat mixture from sticking to your hands).
  • Roll the meatballs all around in the oil to lightly coat (this will help them get golden brown). Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 7-10 more minutes or until golden on the bottom.
  • In a jar with a lid, add the oil, orange juice, vinegar, ginger, tahini, soy sauce, and salt and shake vigorously until smooth.
  • (Only assemble the amount of salad you know you’ll eat, as it does not keep well as leftovers). Add greens, carrot, cucumber, tomatoes (if using), and rice noodles (if using) to a large bowl or salad bowl. Pour ⅔ of the dressing over top and toss to coat. Serve topped with meatballs, herbs, and seeds. Drizzle the remaining dressing over top.

How to cook brown rice:

  • Add rice to a pot and fill with enough water to cover by at least two inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a rapid simmer and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

Items you can prep ahead (optional)

  • Cook 1 cup short grain brown rice (you need 2 cups cooked)
  • Thinly slice 1 bunch scallions (about 1 cup)
  • Make the meatball mixture and form into meatballs
  • Grate 1 cup carrot
  • Thinly slice 1 cucumber (about 2 cups)
  • Chop 1 ripe tomato (optional)
  • Cook 6-8 oz rice noodles (optional)
  • Make the dressing


  • To make vegetarian, make this sweet n’ spicy tofu in place of the meatballs.
  • The cucumber, carrot, and tomato can be substituted with any other raw crunchy veggies.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer:
    • Meatballs: up to 4 days in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer
    • Salad (undressed – only dress as much as you’ll eat): up to 7 days in the fridge
    • Dressing: up to 7 days in the fridge

Leftovers + Repurposing:

  • Warm up meatballs in the microwave and assemble your salads.
  • Leftover dressing will thicken so just stir in some water to thin it out before tossing with the salad and/or noodles.
  • If you didn’t eat with rice noodles, try making a rice noodle salad or turn into a rice bowl.
  • Add leftover meatballs to rice bowls or salads or enjoy as a high protein snack.

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