Is there anything cuter or more fun to eat than a meatball? Snuggled into a sandwich, slid onto skewers or perched on top of spaghetti, meatballs are inherently playful — more than their close cousin meatloaf, which is far too square to roll off the table and out of the door.
Thankfully, such a fate cannot befall the meatballs in Ali Slagle’s Thai-inspired chicken meatball soup, assuming you’ve used a deep enough bowl. And a deep bowl is definitely the way to go here, because the gingery coconut milk broth, suffused with soft spinach leaves and punched up with jalapeño and lime, is as appealing as the meatballs themselves. Ground turkey, pork or vegan meat will work just as well if you don’t have ground chicken.
Also inspired by the cuisine of Thailand is Ali’s sheet-pan red curry chicken with butternut squash. To give both the boneless, skinless thighs and the squash a deep umami character, Ali seasons them with fish sauce rather than salt, complementing the haunting aromatics in the curry paste. It’s one of those brilliant low-effort, big-reward recipes that Ali is famous for, and it’s just the thing for dinner this week.
Even simpler and speedier is my spicy roasted shrimp and broccoli rabe, another sheet-pan quickie. Just season the broccoli rabe with sesame oil and the shrimp with orange zest and chile flakes, and roast everything together on one pan. It will cook through in 10-ish minutes, a colorful, light meal bursting with flavor.
Here are two delightful meatless meals to round out your week. Priya Krishna’s crispy green bean and potato sabzi has a not-so-secret ingredient: almond butter, which gives the vegetables a nutty, crisp coating imbued with coriander, cumin and ginger. It’s adaptable, too. Swap a sweet potato for the russet, broccoli for the beans, another nut butter for the almond butter. And it’s absolutely worth seeking out the chaat masala if you don’t already have some on hand; a light dusting right at the end adds a funky, salty sparkle.
Then there’s Hetty Lui McKinnon’s mushroom pasta stir-fry, a mix of golden mushrooms, broccolini and spaghetti, all quickly stir-fried with a savory mix of oyster sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil and chile. Hetty also adds a few tablespoons of butter (dairy or vegan) to round out the sauce and add a lovely richness.
For a sweet (but not too sweet) end to your meal, Yossy Arefi’s whole-wheat chocolate chip loaf cake is on the more healthful side of dessert, topped with a crunchy crust of turbinado sugar and flaky salt. It’s excellent for afternoon snacking, too.