Diabetic Cooking

Main Dishes

Beef meatballs on bok choy nests

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 15–17 minutes.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef (8% fat or less)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 beaten egg white
  • 1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread
  • 3/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lite (low-sodium) soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 pound bok choy, washed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (or canola oil)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine beef, green onions, egg white, and water chestnuts in a medium-size mixing bowl. Tear the slice of bread into fingernail-size pieces into the bowl. Add five-spice powder, red pepper, soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon garlic, and mix well. Mold into 24 one-inch meatballs. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and cook the meatballs in the skillet in small batches so they brown evenly. Quickly brown on all sides, turning frequently, but do not cook through. Place meatballs on a baking sheet or dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray in a single layer. Place in oven and bake an additional 10 minutes until cooked through.

Bok choy nests
While meatballs are cooking in the oven, cut 2 inches off bottom(s) of bok choy and discard. Cut remaining stalks and leaves into bite-size pieces, slicing horizontally across the leaves. Heat chicken broth in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. When liquid begins to boil, add second teaspoon of garlic, sesame oil, and bok choy pieces. Stir-fry over medium-high heat for about 3–4 minutes; bok choy should retain its crispness.

To serve, remove hot bok choy with large tongs or a slotted spoon and make a small nest on each of four plates. Center six meatballs within the bok choy nest.

Yield: 4 servings. Serving size: 6 meatballs, 1/2 cup bok choy.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 203, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Protein: 28 g, Fat: 7 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 70 mg, Sodium: 427 mg, Fiber: 2 g

Exchanges per serving: 4 lean meat, 1 vegetable. Carbohydrate choices: 1/2.

This recipe was developed by Kathleen Stanley, a Diabetes Educator at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.