Thai Inspired Chicken Meatball Soup - Real Food Whole Life

Thai Inspired Chicken Meatball Soup

November 11, 2021

white bowl filled with soup and chicken meatballs and noodles on blue background

Cozy and delicious Thai Inspired Chicken Meatball Soup can be made on the stovetop or slow cooker resulting in a super flavorful coconut curry broth.

Includes easy swaps to make this whole30, paleo, nut-free, vegetarian and vegan friendly!

white bowl filled with soup and chicken meatballs and noodles on blue background

about this thai inspired chicken meatball soup

While this easy soup does not offer the true depth of flavor of an authentic Thai soup, it gets flavor from ingredients that I was able to source at my local grocery store.

The meatballs are gluten-free and breadcrumb free, as well as naturally dairy-free.

They also get a boost of flavor with the convenience of red curry paste, which contains a blend of spices like red pepper, garlic, lemongrass, shallot, coriander root and makrut lime leaves.

The broth of this soup is simply flavored with coconut milk, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and red curry paste.

Because the ingredients are added whole, there is very minimal prep required for this recipe other than mixing and scooping the meatballs.

I’ve found that the low and slow cook time offered by the crockpot can dilute the flavor of some ingredients.

So for maximum flavor, I recommend adding the red curry paste and coconut milk both before and after the cooking process.

bowl of soup with small white bowls of chilis on the side on a blue background

how to make this a vegetarian thai inspired soup

Make this a vegetarian Thai inspired soup by omitting the meatballs.

Instead, use 1 package of firm tofu, drained and diced.

Also, swap vegetable stock for chicken stock and be sure to use vegan fish sauce too!

how to make this a thai inspired chicken soup

Make a chicken Thai inspired soup by adding 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs in place of the meatballs. 

Remove at the end of the cook time. 

Then shred, and add back your chicken back into the rich broth prior to serving.

I’m sometimes asked if you can use frozen chicken in my slow cooker recipes. For food safety reasons, always thaw your frozen chicken before adding to your slow cooker.

ladle dipping into a black slow cooker pot filled with thai inspired chicken meatball soup

ingredients & modifications

Red Curry Paste: I love using red curry paste as a shortcut in this recipe. It contains a blend of spices like red pepper, garlic, lemongrass, shallot, coriander root and makrut lime leaves and adds tons of flavor.

Fish Sauce: Fish sauce adds richness and depth to the broth and is often found in Thai inspired dishes. Another great flavorful shortcut ingredient to keep on hand. You can also look for a vegan fish sauce to use in it’s place.

Onion: Grating the onion is the secret to moist, breadcrumb-free tender meatballs in this recipe.

Ground Chicken: The meatballs can also be made using ground pork or ground turkey. 

Rice Noodles: This soup can easily be made paleo and Whole30 by omitting the rice noodles.

Almond Flour: You can make this soup nut-free by using oat flour in place of almond flour.

Chicken Stock: You can substitute chicken bone broth or homemade chicken stock for a richer flavor. You can also swap in vegetable broth in its place.

Canned Coconut Milk: For the best flavor, use full-fat coconut milk. Be careful not to use coconut beverage (like the kind that comes in a box) as it will be too watery for this soup.

Coconut Aminos: Coconut aminos are a gluten-free, soy-free, paleo friendly stand-in for traditional soy sauce. You can also use gluten-free tamari or traditional soy sauce in its place.

Lemongrass: This ingredient is optional but highly recommended, it adds so much extra flavor to the broth.

Baby Spinach: I used fresh baby spinach in this recipe but you could use thawed, frozen spinach too.

close up of a bowl of thai inspired chicken meatball soup with chilis on top

how to store & freeze leftover soup

This Thai Inspired Chicken Meatball Soup keeps well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container.

This recipe also freezes well, store in a sealed freezer friendly container for up to 2-3 months.

more paleo & gluten-free soup recipes

Crock Pot Italian Wedding Soup

Crockpot Mini Turkey Meatball Vegetable Soup

Crockpot Turkey Soup

Instant Pot Minestrone (Whole30, No Beans)

Instant Pot Turkey Paleo Pumpkin Chili

this recipe is…

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I hope you’ll make this healthy Thai Inspired Chicken Meatball Soup recipe soon.

If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

white bowl filled with soup and chicken meatballs and noodles on blue background
5 from 3 votes

Thai Inspired Chicken Meatball Soup

Yield 6
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 15 mins

Cozy and delicious Thai Inspired Chicken Meatball Soup can be made on the stovetop or slow cooker resulting in a super flavorful coconut curry broth. Includes easy swaps to make this whole30, paleo, nut-free, vegetarian and vegan friendly!

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • ¼ cup grated onion (from about ½ medium yellow onion)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp almond flour (or oat flour for nut free)
  • 2 tsp red curry paste such as Thai Kitchen
  • 1 lb 93% lean ground dark meat chicken

For the Soup

  • 1 quart chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (from 1 (15-oz) can), divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (or tamari)
  • 2 inch piece of peeled ginger
  • 3 whole peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, peeled and cut in half (optional but recommended)
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste, divided
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (use vegan fish sauce for vegan or vegetarian)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice

For Serving

  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 box thin rice noodles (omit for paleo or Whole30)

Optional Serving Suggestions

  • sliced red Thai chilis or jalapeno
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • fresh mint leaves
  • sweet chili sauce
  • spicy chili paste

Instructions

Slow Cooker Directions

  • To make the meatballs, mix together the grated onion, salt, red curry paste, and almond flour in a large bowl until well combined. Add the meat, stirring until all the ingredients are well incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Set aside.
  • In a 6-quart slow cooker, add the stock, 1 cup coconut milk, water, coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and 1 tablespoon curry paste, whisking to combine.
  • Using a cookie scoop, scoop the meatball mixture into balls and add to the stock mixture.
  • Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the rice noodles according to package instructions. Set aside.
  • At the end of the cook time, uncover and carefully remove the ginger, garlic cloves and lemon grass. Discard.
  • Add the remaining 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, spinach, and lime juice, stirring to combine. Taste and add remaining 1 tablespoon curry paste (or more) if a spicier soup is desired, stirring to combine.
  • Divide the cooked rice noodles between serving bowls. Ladle over the broth and meatballs. Garnish with additional lime juice, cilantro, mint, and chili or sweet chili sauce if desired.

Stovetop Directions

  • To make the meatballs, mix together the grated onion, salt, red curry paste, and almond flour in a large bowl until well combined. Add the meat, stirring until all the ingredients are well incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Set aside.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the stock, 1 cup coconut milk, water, coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and 1 tablespoon curry paste over medium high heat.
  • Scoop the meatball mixture into balls and add to the stock mixture. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 30-35 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the broth is flavorful.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the rice noodles according to package instructions. Set aside.
  • At the end of the cook time, uncover and carefully remove the ginger, garlic cloves and lemon grass. Discard.
  • Add the remaining 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, spinach, and lime juice, stirring to combine. Taste and add remaining 1 tablespoon curry paste (or more) if a spicier soup is desired, stirring to combine.
  • Divide the cooked rice noodles between serving bowls. Ladle over the broth and meatballs. Garnish with additional lime juice, cilantro, mint, and chili or sweet chili sauce if desired.

Notes

This recipe makes about 6 servings
Nutrition information is calculated using almond flour and includes rice noodles.
This soup can easily be made paleo and Whole30 by omitting the rice noodles.
Make this soup nut-free by using oat flour in place of almond flour.
The meatballs can also be made using ground pork or ground turkey.
Make this a vegetarian Thai inspired soup by omitting the meatballs and instead using 1 package firm tofu, drained and diced as well as swapping vegetable stock for chicken stock. And be sure to use vegan fish sauce too.
For more recipe notes & ingredient modifications, see the blog post above

Nutrition

Calories: 531kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1020mg | Potassium: 896mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1996IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutrition disclaimer
did you make this recipe?Mention @realfoodwholelife or tag #realfoodwholelife!

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4 comments to " Thai Inspired Chicken Meatball Soup "

  • Heather Murphy

    5 stars
    We loved this recipe! I took some shortcuts with the meatballs and used pre-made, but so delicious. The broth has great depth of flavor. For leftovers we served over rice instead of rice noodles and it almost had even better flavor the next day.

    • Robyn Downs

      Heather, yay, I’m all for shortcuts and it’s so great to know this soup works well with pre-made meatballs! I love the idea of serving with rice as well. Yum! Thanks so much for taking time to leave a review!

  • Kaitlin

    5 stars
    Ohhh my goodness. This soup is amazing! So flavorful & perfect for warming up on a chilly day (although the flavor combo is so delicious I would eat this on a hot summer day 😆) I made this for a lunch meal prep & tried serving it with rice noodles one day and also with sweet potato glass noodles another. Both work so well with this recipe. This is definitely going on regular rotation!

    • Robyn Downs

      Kaitlin, ohhhhh, so happy you tried it with sweet potato glass noodles, such a great idea! Thanks for sharing that tip. So glad you enjoyed this one, and thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

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