This recipe for Vegan Chicken Satay Meatballs is a good one to have in your back pocket when you need to whip up a light meal. The Quick and Easy Peanut Satay Sauce is ridiculously simple and delicious!! Served as lettuce wraps with crisp veggies and fresh herbs, it's great for meal plan prepping for that lunch or dinner on the go. Make in either an air-fryer or a cast iron skillet.
Make the peanut satay sauce ahead of time, or put it together while the chicken is cooking
One of the most Popular Asian Appetizers
Satay is a famous Southeast Asian street food, made traditionally from char-grilled meat skewers basted in spices and peanut sauce. I am enamored with the spices of Southeast Asia. The brightness of local fresh herbs and lime leaf combined with the traded spices of India, Persia and the Subcontinent give a depth of flavor that speaks to the heritage of many countries. I love this story on the Surprising History of Satay which follows the origins of the dish. It's amazing to think of now adding to that history by removing the need for animal meats in this version.
What is Vegan Chicken
When I talk about store-bought vegan "meats", this is the way I think about it. You have either grown up eating meat or not. If you grew up not eating meat, then your body craves the flavors of things like nuts and legumes and grains. If you grew up eating meat, your body can sometimes have a hard time transitioning to the flavors and textures of those more whole-food ingredients.
Welcome our new era of plant-based "meats". These products are popping up in grocery stores across the globe and give you the simulated flavor and texture of meat, while still being 100% made from plants (usually some combination of pea protein, soy, or wheat). This does not necessarily mean it's healthier, mind you. Processed food is still processed. BUT, plant-based food is still better for the environment, your body, and those lives we save than eating meat. So that's why we choose it. It's ok to like the flavor of meat if you grew up eating it. However, if you can make a dish that tastes just as good and is better in so many ways...is it worth the try? For those looking for a cleaner version, you can always substitute the recipe for Simply the Best Crispy Tofu instead.
For this recipe, I use these Gardein scallopini as the base. It will taste unbelievable when we're done!
How to make Vegan Chicken Satay in less than 30 minutes
The basics of this recipe are astonishingly easy. We'll season the chicken with curry paste, spices and a little bit of sugar. Then we roll into small meatballs that are easy to char in the air-fryer (I also give notes for how to cook in a skillet in the recipe below). Halfway through, we baste the browned meatballs in a fragrant peanut sauce and continue searing a little bit longer to turn that peanut sauce into a glaze.
When they are done, serve the chicken satay with lettuce leaves, lots of fresh herbs, limes, cucumber and a little extra sauce on the side. Wrap all the ingredients up in the leaves and enjoy! Shockingly delicious!
Should I make my own curry paste?
In another post, I will detail the process of making a homemade curry paste. There are so many benefits to making your own, including: being able to control your spice level and being able to adjust the herbs, spices, and aromatics to the ones you prefer. However, making our own curry paste takes time. It is a process of love that should not be rushed. There is a time and place for it. Because of that, I always love to keep a small jar of curry paste in the fridge as well.
Being able to dip in and create a quick dish like this one in under 30 minutes has it's benefits for sure. If you are looking for a vegan product, Curry paste is one of the items I recommend NOT buying at the Thai or Asian market. Most of those products contain shellfish. Here is a vegan brand that I trust and these small collection of jars can be everything you need. Buy one or buy the set:
Vegan Chicken Satay Lettuce Wraps
For the Meatballs
- 1 pack Vegan Chickn Scallopini defrosted
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 teaspoon Thai curry paste
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- Place the chicken in a medium mixing bowl.
- Add the ginger, curry paste, chopped cilantro, turmeric, and brown sugar.
- Mix gently together until all the ingredients are combined and well incorporated. Do not over mash or mix too hard, this will make the chicken chewy.
- After your mixture is complete, roll into small golf-ball sized balls.
- Spray the meatballs with olive oil and then place in the air fryer.
- Cook at 400f for 10 minutes.
- Remove and toss in a few Tablespoons of the satay sauce to coat and return to the air fryer.
- Cook another 3 minutes at 400f to set the flavors.
- Remove and toss again in another few Tablespoons of sauce to glaze.
- Arrange the lettuce, cucumbers, lime wedges and fresh herbs on a platter.
- Set the glazed chicken satay meatballs in the center and serve with a side of the sauce and chili garlic sauce.