If there's one thing that I've learned from my years in the kitchen, it's that any dish can be made healthier without sacrificing flavor.
All it takes is a little bit of focused intention.
Teriyaki is traditionally a sweet sauce that is made with refined sugars or corn syrup, sneaky ingredients that contribute to obesity and disease. It has a very pleasing flavor, with a wonderful balance of savory and sweet, and so it's easy to consume a surprising amount of sugar grams when enjoying a meal flavored with teriyaki. And then, once you discover this fact, it's tempting to simply rule teriyaki out of your diet for good.
This all-or-nothing approach can be a slippery slope towards falling off the wagon and finding yourself in binge mode. Not only will a binge set you back nutritionally and physically, it will negatively impact you on an emotional level, leaving you feeling down and disappointed in yourself. That was the cycle that I lived for years before finding a better way.
My approach, and my goal with all of my recipes, is to find a happy medium between the original dish and one that looks, tastes, and satisfies in the same way, with less of a caloric impact. It's about stacking the nutritional odds of a dish in your favor, while exciting your taste buds with flavor. I truly believe that we should not have to sacrifice flavor or enjoyment in order to be healthy.
The most delicious meals I've ever enjoyed were also the healthiest.
This isn't to say that unhealthy food doesn't taste great, or that some healthy foods are bland and boring. It's about finding the right combination of ingredients to deliver both flavor and health in each bite.
If you are a lover of teriyaki then these subtly sweet meatballs are right up your alley! As noted in the tip below, feel free to use liquid stevia rather than the honey if you are looking for an extremely low sugar dish. However, for most of us, this small amount of healthful, raw honey is perfectly A-OK and beneficial. Serve these tasty meatballs up as an appetizer or serve over arugula or spaghetti squash for a small, fitness-minded meal. Enjoy!
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
¼ cup scallions, minced, plus more for garnish
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon arrowroot starch
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Combine the garlic, ginger and scallions in a food processor. Pulse until well combined and finely minced.
Transfer the garlic mixture to a large bowl and add the ground beef and sea salt. Use your hands to mix until well combined. Form the mixture into 20 meatballs, about an inch in diameter.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the sesame oil. Add the meatballs and cook, shaking often, until browned on all sides and cooked through. Remove the meatballs and set aside on a plate.
Add the coconut aminos, honey and vinegar to the skillet. In a small bowl whisk the arrowroot starch and water together until fully dissolved. Add to the skillet, mix and simmer until the mixture has thickened, about 2 minutes. Return the meatballs to the skillet and cover in the sauce. Serve immediately, garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
If you’d like to make this recipe even lower in sugar then you could swap out the raw honey for some liquid stevia.