This Easy Turkey Meatball Pho features a quick yet flavorful broth filled with slightly spicy turkey meatballs and slurpable rice noodles.
Do you like to eat soup in the summer? I can’t say it’s the first meal I would reach for myself when the temperature is sweltering. But actually in many countries that are hot year round, soup is eaten often. Sometimes even for breakfast!
Many years ago, Mr. Dreamboat spent some time in Southeast Asia, and he reports that he ate pho for breakfast in Vietnam every single day. In fact, the locals recommended it to him, stating that eating soup raises your body temperature, which signals your body to cool itself down (by starting to sweat), making you feel cooler for the rest of the day. I can’t say for sure whether that works or not, but pho for breakfast? Sign me up!
Vietnamese food is one of my favorite types of cuisine to eat at a restaurant. I often use the quality of their pho to determine the overall quality of the restaurant. If the pho is no good, chances are I won’t go back.
It wasn’t until recently that I tried making my own pho. Admittedly, this Easy Turkey Meatball Pho is very different from what I would normally get in a high quality Vietnamese restaurant, but it is delicious and satisfying nonetheless. The broth is flavorful – it’s a chicken base, flavored with lots of garlic, ginger, shallots, fish sauce, and lime juice. The meatballs are slightly spicy and the noodles are slurpable.
Perhaps best of all, this is super easy to make. The broth simmers for minutes instead of hours, and the meatballs can easily be made ahead of time. I give this pho the weeknight dinner stamp of approval.
Easy Turkey Meatball Pho
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 4 Tablespoons fish sauce, divided
- 1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil
- 5 large shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
- 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 stalks lemongrass, tender bottom part only (about 5-6 inches), tough outer layers removed, and lightly crushed
- 2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 8 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 8 ounces rice noodles, cooked al dente according to package instructions, and rinsed with cold water
- Bean spouts, thai basil, jalapeno slices, lime wedges (optional, to serve)
- In a large bowl, mix ground turkey with 2 Tablespoons of the fish sauce, 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce, and the white pepper until completely combined (it's easiest to do this with your hands). Form into about 48 small meatballs and place them on a large plate. Refrigerate while you prepare the broth.
- In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the shallots and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, lemongrass, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove lemongrass and add the meatballs. Stir gently, and simmer until cooked through (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat at add the remaining 2 Tablespoons fish sauce, 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, cilantro and lime juice.
- Divide the noodles among 4 bowls. Pour the hot broth over the noodles, and divide the meatballs between the bowls. Garnish with bean sprouts, thai basil, jalapeno slices, or lime wedges if desired.
Easy Turkey Meatball Pho Nutrition Notes:
The above nutrition information does not include any of the optional garnishes, though they will affect the nutrient content minimally.