We braise these spicy beef meatballs and Chinese cabbage in a bit of beef broth. Make it a meal: Ladle over brown rice or noodles with steamed broccoli and carrots on the side.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2008


Recipe Summary

35 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Gently mix beef, water chestnuts, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, five-spice powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Shape the mixture into 12 balls (use about 2 tablespoons each to make 1 1/2-inch meatballs). Whisk broth and the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth.

  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet or nonstick wok over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning once, until brown, about 3 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

  • Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Add the reserved broth mixture, Szechuan sauce, cabbage and mushrooms; cook, stirring, until the cabbage is just wilted, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer, return the meatballs to the pan, cover and cook until the sauce is thickened and the meatballs are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with scallions (if using).


Shopping Tip: Find five-spice powder in the spice section and Szechuan sauce near other Asian condiments in most supermarkets.

Nutrition Facts

186 calories; protein 16.1g 32% DV; carbohydrates 12.6g 4% DV; dietary fiber 3.1g 12% DV; sugars 2.9g; fat 7.8g 12% DV; saturated fat 1.5g 8% DV; cholesterol 36.7mg 12% DV; vitamin a iu 817.5IU 16% DV; vitamin c 11.9mg 20% DV; folate 42.1mcg 11% DV; calcium 30.4mg 3% DV; iron 2.2mg 12% DV; magnesium 16.8mg 6% DV; potassium 331.3mg 9% DV; sodium 822.7mg 33% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 5% DV.

Reviews (9)

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9 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 3
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
I really like this recipe. I have made them with both ground beef and ground turkey. I like them better with turkey because the beef seems to overshadow the flavors of the seasonings cabbage and mushrooms. The Szechuan sauce and crushed red peppers makes the meatballs very spicy. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
DELISH! These were excellent! I made my own sodium free Szechaun Sauce and left the salt out entirely you will never miss the sodium. Why pay for take-out when you can make your own? Very tasty - a keeper. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Meatballs were like golfballs While other reviewers focused on the sauce I felt the meatballs left a lot to be desired. There is nothing in them to create a tender texture no egg or bread crumbs so the result is a dense ball of meat. As for the sauce it was way too vinegar-y; I ended up adding some ketchup to try to mitigate the acid bite. Won't be making this again. Pros: none I can think of Cons: Too much time for a mediocre result Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Delicious This was delicious! I used turkey instead of beef on the suggestion of another reviewer and I doubled the amount of 5-spice powder in the recipe and the meatballs turned out spicy but not too hot (for me at least my husband thought they were too spicy for him). I sliced the cabbage into strips instead of shredding it. Pros: Flavorful easy Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Looks Great Love this idea...I generally just make Italian meatballs http://tiny.cc/hi2ef which I love - but I'm always looking for new twists. Definitely going to try these. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I made this recipe out of the 500-Calorie Dinner Cookbook and my husband and I both loved it! We served it with whole wheat linguine and steamed broccoli. The flavor of the sauce and the meatballs were both excellent. I did add some extra red pepper flakes to kick up the spice. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
OOoooo really great! Per the other reviews I doubled the Chinese Five Spice powder in the meatballs added a salt-free Szechwan spice blend I found to the meat. I doubled the garlic and added 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root in the sauce....I served it over brown rice and it was friggin' AWESOME!!! I used extra-lean ground sirloin and the flavor was incredible! Pros: Easy delicious low-cal Cons: Basic recipe needed tweaking... Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I like this recipe but I think I would make a few changes. I had all the ingredients but the meatballs were VERY bland in my opinion. The five spice powder is not enough they need some finely chopped onion garlic and some red pepper flakes perhaps? Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I considered this recipie mediocre. One of the ingredients it called for is "Szechuan sauce" which I could not find in my supermarket. (and this is a large supermarket) so I improvised and made a sauce with garlic fresh ginger sesame oil rice vinegar and soy sauce. The cabbage and sauce was flavorful but the meatballs were quite bland. Read More