Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Lindsey Lower
Serves 4 (serving size: 1/2 cup polenta, 5 meatballs, and about 2 tablespoons sauce)

This Asian twist on an Italian-style favorite just plain works. The four sauce ingredients create an instant, incredibly balanced barbecue-type lacquer, full of vinegar and chile punch, caramel notes, and umami richness.

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring stock and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and polenta is thickened. Add butter, stirring until melted.

Step 2

Combine turkey and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Divide and shape turkey mixture into 20 meatballs. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add meatballs to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove meatballs from pan. Add 1/4 cup water and remaining ingredients to pan, stirring with a whisk; bring to a boil. Return meatballs to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until meatballs are done. Serve over polenta.

Ratings & Reviews

Fast and Tasty

March 04, 2018
We really enjoyed this fast and easy dish, especially the polenta. The Sriracha adds a nice kick!


February 17, 2016
The recipe is deceptively simple.  It looks plain but the flavors are complex for something so easy to prepare. Wishing there were leftovers as I'm craving the wonderful taste of last nights dinner. I followed the recipe exactly as written and would not change a thing. Most definitely would make again.

Flavors did not go well together

February 19, 2016
I loved how seemingly simple this dish seemed, however, I ended up disappointed in the results. The creaminess of the polenta did not go well at all with the meatballs and the sauce (which was extremely rich). The overly rich and sweet flavors left me feeling a little sick. I definitely would not make this again with polenta but would instead use rice and cut back on the sweetness of the meatball sauce. 

Vision was greater than results

March 01, 2016
I was super excited about this recipe because I thought that it sounded like a great combination so it was the first recipe I made out of this month's Cooking Light.  Unfortunately I was disappointed in the outcome.  I was not a huge fan of the sweet and sour sauce that the recipe made and even though I really wanted it to work, I do not think that i would make this one again. 

Great taste and easy!

March 02, 2016
We loved the flavors on this recipe, and this included a fussy 9 and 14 year old. Substituted the polenta with vermicelli, and used this to sop up the left over sauce!

Fast, easy, good weeknight meal!

March 03, 2016
My family loved this one.  It was on the border of too spicy for me, which surprised me as the reviews referenced sweetness rather than spice (and I'm not normally a spice wimp).  But, just borderline, I wouldn't tone down the Sriracha at all.We also served it on rice rather than polenta, and made a side of roasted green beans.

That's a spicy meatball

May 15, 2016
This recipe has potential. The little meatballs were good and simple to make. The sauce, however, was a little too spicy. I'd probably cut back on the sriracha next time or maybe leave it out entirely. I also probably wouldn't serve with polenta next time as it didn't really seem to go together.

Sauce is "interesting"

May 18, 2016
The meatballs were quick, easy and delicious - they come together perfectly and without eggs, which is wonderful for egg allergies. The sauce, however, was strange. On its own, the ketchup/tomato left an acidic aftertaste after each bite that was distinctively not sour, and very off putting. I'll skip the sauce next time.

A new take on sweet and sour

June 23, 2016
I made this back in February and my notes read "tangy, sweet and spicy Yum".  With the exceptions of severely reducing the Siracha and serving the meatballs with fried rice, everything else worked for us.  I have some leftover in the freezer and plan to add pineapple, green pepper, onion and waterchestnuts to Asian it up a bit more.  I do not get the polenta in this one...

 Loved this dish! 

September 28, 2016
While I did cut back on the Sriracha, it was delicious.  Loved it with the polenta.  Made the entire recipe, and the two of us had it again.  Served it with bok choy.  Yum!