Turkey Meatballs with Avocado-Citrus Dipping Sauce

This sweet and savory twist on guacamole is a perfect dipping sauce for a lighter variety of cocktail meatballs made with ground turkey and panko crumbs. The citrus juice and zest in the sauce cuts the richness of the avocado and pairs perfectly with the pungent flavor of the fresh cilantro.

Turkey Meatballs with Avocado-Citrus Dipping Sauce

Turkey Meatballs with Avocado-Citrus Dipping Sauce

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Cocktail meatballs get a light, fresh makeover by using ground turkey and a dipping sauce made from avocado, orange and lime zest and juice and fresh cilantro.


  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeño pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons jalapeño pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, divided


Prepare the dipping sauce:

  • Scoop the avocado flesh into a small mixing bowl and mash with a fork until smooth. Add the lime juice, pepper sauce, lime zest, orange zest, orange juice, sour cream, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and spoon into a serving dish. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and cover until ready to serve. Yields about 2/3 cup.

Prepare the meatballs:

  • Preheat the oven to 250 °F. In a large mixing bowl combine the ground turkey, egg, salt, orange zest, onion, garlic, panko, pepper sauce and cilantro.
  • Form the mixture into 1-inch diameter meatballs (about 1 tablespoon each), and set aside on a platter.
  • Heat 1-1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add half the meatballs and fry, turning frequently with tongs, until browned and no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the orange juice and continue cooking until the meatballs are glazed and the liquid has evaporated.
  • Transfer the meatballs to an ovenproof dish, cover with foil, and place in them the oven to keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining meatballs, add them to the others to stay warm until ready to serve.

Tips for Making This Recipe

Both the meatballs and sauce can be made up to 1 day ahead. There should be enough citrus in the avocado dipping sauce to keep it from turning brown, but to be sure, put it in an airtight container, place a layer of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the dip, then cover with the container lid. To reheat the meatballs, put them in an ovenproof dish, cover with foil, and heat in a 275°F for about 30 minutes.
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