re·cipe: turkey pesto meatballs

January 30, 2013

First off, let me assure you that I am still a vegetarian. Sean, however is not (though I am proud of him for cutting back!). He rarely requests anything from me food-wise, so when he asked on Sunday if I could make these soon, it was no problem (plus it helps get rid of the remaining meat in my freezer that I haven't figured out what to do with).

Back when I gave up red meat, I used a lot of ground turkey. Tacos and pasta with meat sauce get old pretty fast, so I did a recipe search one day and found this one for said meatballs. I've never been a meatball fan, but I was up for a change and modified the recipe to what I had in the house (and shrunk it; 3 lbs. would yield A LOT of meatballs!)

These were an instant hit with both of us. I actually had to be careful because I would just munch on them straight from the oven and be full before dinner! They are great naked or you can serve them in your preferred sauce/entree. The original recipe had these guys stuffed with cheese, and as much as I love cheese, taking this away cuts down on fat, and let's be honest, you know you are likely going to top these with cheese anyway!

In today's preparation, I made a couple more modifications. Though I am not vegan, I recently switched our regular milk to almond milk. Also, I decided to ditch the pre-made pesto in favor of making my own. I HIGHLY recommend this. It's easy, cheap, and man does the kitchen smell great when you first start to grind that basil! A google search will yield you several recipes to choose from.

Here you go - enjoy!

Turkey Pesto Meatballs

You Will Need:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese
  • 2 tbsp. prepared pesto
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Mix onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, pesto, milk, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. 
  • Mix in ground turkey until evenly blended, then form into balls. 

  • Place on a nonstick baking sheet
  • Drizzle the olive oil over the meatballs (I find that olive oil cooking spray makes this even and easy).
  • Bake in preheated oven until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center, about 30 minutes. 
  • Serve/enjoy however you like!

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