Pumpkin Week is HERE! Are you as excited as I am? Yes? Good.
We’re kicking this epic week off on a savory note and damn, this is a delicious one. I had to bring you guys another one pan meal and YES we’re making some incredible meatballs with an out-of-this-world amazing sauce. These chicken meatballs in pumpkin curry sauce are filled with wonderful flavor from curry powder, fresh ginger, red chili paste, coconut milk, peanut butter, and of course, pumpkin.
They remind me of my famous ginger chicken meatballs in peanut sauce but with a super unique, flavorful fall twist that you’re going to love.
If you’ve already been cooking or baking up a storm with pumpkin puree (homemade is the best!) this meatball recipe is the perfect way to use up the rest of the can or jar that you have. It’s Monday and it’s the perfect day to meal prep these babies to enjoy all week long. I’ve included the best sides to serve these meatballs with so be sure to scroll through and pick your favorites in the post.
Everything you’ll need to make chicken meatballs in pumpkin curry sauce
Not only is that creamy pumpkin coconut curry sauce absolutely dreamy, but the chicken meatballs themselves are packing the flavor. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this one pan meal:
- Chicken: we’re using some lean ground chicken as the base for the meatballs. Feel free to use ground turkey if that’s what you have on hand!
- Egg: you’ll need 1 egg to help bind the meatballs.
- Panko breadcrumbs: using breadcrumbs also helps the meatballs stick together well. See below for gluten free options!
- Mix-ins: to add flavor to the meatballs we’ll mix them with a little brown sugar, some red chili paste, cilantro, green onion, garlic, freshly grated ginger, ground turmeric, and plenty of salt and pepper.
- For the sauce: this pumpkin coconut curry sauce is everything. To make it you’ll need a can of light coconut milk, pumpkin puree (canned or homemade using this tutorial!), natural peanut butter (Use the code ‘AMBITIOUS15’ to get 15% off my favorite brand, Wild Friends), low sodium soy sauce and yellow curry powder. You’ll only need 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree, so this recipe is perfect for using up extra pumpkin you might have leftover from making a different pumpkin recipe.
- Veggies: gotta have a boost of veggies! You’ll mix in carrot, bell pepper and some frozen peas.
- To garnish: I love topping this dish with fresh cilantro, chopped peanuts and scallions.
Can I make them without breadcrumbs?
Yep! If you’re trying to keep these pumpkin curry chicken meatballs gluten free, feel free to use your fav gluten free breadcrumbs. Otherwise, you can simply use 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flour in the meatball mixture. I recommend starting with 2 tablespoons and adding from there if needed to shape the meatballs.
How to make chicken meatballs in pumpkin curry sauce
- Mix the meatballs. Start by adding all of the meatball ingredients to a large bowl and mixing them together with cleans hands. You’ll want to form around 16 golf ball sized meatballs.
- Brown them. Before fully cooking the meatballs in the sauce, you’ll want to brown them in a skillet in a little sesame oil so that they get those nice brown, crispier edges that provide flavor.
- Mix the sauce. Remove the meatballs from your skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in all of the ingredients for the pumpkin coconut curry sauce.
- Add the meatballs & veggies. Stir in the sliced carrots, then add your meatballs back to the skillet with the sauce and bring everything to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and let the meatballs cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Finish with veggies & serve. After the meatballs are fully cooked, stir in the red bell pepper and peas and simmer for just 5 minutes more so that they don’t get mushy. Then serve with some of our fav sides below! I love to garnish with chopped honey roasted peanuts, scallions and cilantro as well.
What to serve with these meatballs
You’ll have plenty of delicious pumpkin curry sauce once the meatballs are cooked, so add one of our fav sides:
Make-ahead chicken meatballs
You can easily prep these chicken meatballs 1-2 days ahead of time so that all you have to do is brown them and simmer them in the sauce. Simply mix and form the meatballs, then place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Tightly cover the meatballs with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
If you’re going to meal prep these chicken meatballs in pumpkin curry sauce, I recommend storing them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Yes, you can store them with the sauce and even with rice if you’d like! To reheat simply place your meatballs and sauce in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.
Two ways to freeze these meatballs
- Bake first, then freeze: simply place your chicken meatballs and the pumpkin curry sauce in a freezer safe, airtight container or bag and freeze it all for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, let your container of meatballs and sauce thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, and then empty the contents into a pan on the stovetop. Heat them in your pan until they’re nice and warm, and then serve!
- Freeze before baking: you can also freeze these meatballs before cooking them! Form your meatballs as instructed, place them on a baking sheet, and put them in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Then, transfer your frozen meatballs to an airtight, freezer-friendly bag or container and place them in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw them, simply place them in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight and then cook them as directed in the recipe.
More ways to use pumpkin puree
Remember to get all of my tips, tricks and instructions for making homemade pumpkin puree here, then use it in these delicious recipes.
Get all of our pumpkin recipes here!
I hope you love these one pan chicken meatballs in pumpkin curry sauce! If you make them be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!
Oh So Good Chicken Meatballs in Pumpkin Coconut Curry Sauce
Oh so good one pan chicken meatballs simmered in a wonderful pumpkin curry sauce. You’ll LOVE the amazing flavors from coconut milk, pumpkin puree, cozy spices and even a little natural peanut butter. The perfect weeknight dinner that’s delicious with coconut or brown rice, or rice noodles!
- For the meatballs:
- 1 pound lean ground chicken or turkey
- 1 egg
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, gluten free if desired
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon red chili paste
- ⅓ cup finely diced cilantro
- ¼ cup finely diced green onion (or sub red onion)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (or sub ½ teaspoon ground ginger)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 (15 ounce) can lite coconut milk
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
- 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks or julienned
- ½ cup frozen peas
- To garnish:
- Chopped peanuts
- Optional for serving:
- Coconut rice
- Brown rice
- Or rice noodles
In a large bowl, add the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, brown sugar, red chili paste, cilantro, green onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt and pepper. Use clean hands to mix and form into 16 golf ball sized meatballs.
Place a large deep skillet over medium-high heat and add in sesame oil. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, about 5-6 minutes total. You may need to do this in batches, depending on how many meatballs you can fit in your skillet without overcrowding them. When the meatballs are done browning, transfer them to a plate and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, peanut butter, soy sauce and yellow curry powder; whisk together until well combined. Add in carrots, then add the meatballs back in and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the lid and gently stir in the red bell pepper and peas. Simmer for 5 more minutes uncovered. Serve with my coconut rice or brown rice, rice noodles, quinoa or with spiralized zucchini or sweet potato. There will be lots of sauce, which makes it delicious! Garnish with chopped honey-roasted peanuts, scallions, and cilantro. Serves 4.
To keep this recipe gluten free (or if you don’t have any breadcrumbs): you can simply use 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flour in the meatball mixture. I recommend starting with 2 tablespoons and adding from there if needed to shape the meatballs. If you don’t want to use coconut flour, then I suggest gluten free breadcrumbs.
To store: if you’re going to meal prep these chicken meatballs in pumpkin curry sauce, I recommend storing them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Yes, you can store them with the sauce and even with rice if you’d like! To reheat simply place your meatballs and sauce in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.
Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 serving (without rice)
Saturated fat: 8.5g
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats