Turkey Pesto Meatballs

Turkey Pesto Meatballs – Ground turkey, pesto, and Parmesan, make delicious meatballs. Use these for spaghetti and meatballs, meatball subs, or a pizza topping.

bowl of turkey pesto meatballs with spaghetti

Update September 2019 // Almost 10 years later and I still make these all the time. They are a staple in the Hester House. I haven’t changed the recipe at all, just updated some of the photos and made a video. I hope that these are added to the rotation at your house too.

Last night a miracle occurred at our house. Every single person in my house ate the same exact thing for dinner. No one complained. No one whined. No dishes were strewn by an unruly toddler. It was the best night EVER!

These turkey pesto meatballs are a staple meal in our house. William requests these turkey meatballs every few days, we eat them a lot. They are really easy to make, relatively healthy and they make a ton, so you get two dinners for the price of one!

I sometimes make my own sauce which I will also include the recipe for but have used a bottled sauce in a pinch. We usually eat one batch over spaghetti and use the other half for meatballs sandwiches. I use turkey breast but have also used ground chicken and they are delicious as well.

ingredients for turkey pesto meatballs

2 pounds ground turkey breast
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup pesto sauce (store-bought or homemade)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs whites

Mix everything in a bowl and combine well. Roll mixtures into balls. I use an ice cream scoop to make them all the same size. I put them on a cooling rack on top of a foil-lined cookie sheet sprayed with a little cooking spray.

Bake the meatballs at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

In the meantime, I start on the sauce.

Turkey Pesto Meatballs:

2 onions diced
2 carrots chopped
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 garlic cloves minced
2 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes (I use San Marzano tomatoes)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Saute the onions and carrots until tender, about 10 minutes over medium heat.

Add the tomato paste, bay leaves, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and let simmer over low heat for about an hour. The sauce should thicken a bit.

Add the meatballs back in to heat through and serve.

Turkey pesto meatball recipe

Making Turkey Pesto Meatballs

  • I never make a single batch, I always double the recipe and freeze half for another meal.
  • I don’t always make my own sauce. If I’m being really honest, I’m a jarred-sauce-kind-of-girl these days.
  • These are really delicious with pesto sauce and pasta. No need to just use red sauce.
  • These are delicious on pasta (obviously). But also in a meatball sub, as a pizza topping (I cut them in half), or straight up on a plate.
  • I use ground turkey breast, but you can use dark meat turkey or even ground chicken.
Bowl of spaghetti and pesto meatballs

These are so good. Make these and share them with your family. Hopefully, they will become a staple in your house too.

Turkey Pesto Meatballs

Turkey Pesto Meatballs

Yield: 40 meatballs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Turkey Pesto Meatballs - Ground turkey, pesto, and Parmesan, make delicious meatballs. Use these for spaghetti and meatballs, meatball subs, or a pizza topping.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup pesto sauce
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs whites

Sauce:

  • 2 onions diced
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 garlic gloves minced
  • 2 – 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes (I use San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix everything in a bowl and combine well. Roll mixtures into balls. I use an ice cream scoop to make them all the same size. I put them on a cooling rack on top of a foil lined cookie sheet sprayed with a little cooking spray.
  2. Bake the meatballs at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Saute the onions and carrots until tender, about 10 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Add the tomato paste, bay leaves, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and let simmer over low heat for about an hour. The sauce should thicken a bit.
  6. Add the meatballs back in to heat through and serve.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 40 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 90 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 27mg Sodium: 233mg Carbohydrates: 7g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 2g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 9g

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49 Comments

  • I hope to make these on Sunday…yummy! Hope you received my email about a recipe desire to spruce up my sandwich…forgot to mention I thought avocado may be good on it?!

    Reply
  • Great idea to toss in some pesto with the meatballs! I will have to try this recipe.

    Reply
  • I love turkey meatballs I like how you incorporated pesto as the main flavoring. Great job!

    Reply
  • I made these the other night and they were fantastic! I even threw two in the cuisinart for Baby Matthew to enjoy. Delish!

    Reply
  • Love the photos and the way you lay put ingredients…will try this one…..I just made Asian flavored meatballs….

    Reply
    • thank you! this is a regular at our house. my oldest son requests these all the time.

      Reply
  • These look good! Have you tried the Panko bread crumbs before? Progresso makes some. They are really light and airy and are supposed to be good for you. I made homemade chicken nuggets with them recently. I also saw on Dr. Oz the other day to add cooked quinoa to meatballs to pump up the protein factor.

    Reply
  • These are amazing! The kids, Jude, and I all loved them. I will definitely make them again. Thanks so much! Diana

    Reply
  • Thanks for this. I make the same recipe, but never thought of baking the meatballs — I usually cook them right in the sauce. Love the idea of baking them. They also freeze beautifully — just leave them raw on the rack in the freezer til they’re solid, then transfer them to a zip-top bag. I also like the idea of adding quinoa to the recipe. Will try it in place of some of the breadcrumbs. I’ve been making lots of quinoa salads lately.

    Reply
    • I always have a batch of these in the freezer. My kids love them. I just bought my first bag of quinoa, I have never used it before.

      Reply
    • You can also bake the meatballs before freezing them. It seals in the flavors and you can just toss them into your sauce or whatever you decide to serve them with.

      Reply
  • Just made another batch of these and served it with a creamy Parmesan sauce. It was so yummy!

    Reply
  • I love pesto, and I love the idea of baking the meatballs. I plan to make these very soon. I’m not an experienced cook and would like to know if you used plain Progresso bread crumbs (recipe just lists bread crumbs) or the herb and garlic pictured with the other ingredients. Thanks for this wonderful recipe Bree.

    Reply
    • You can add garlic powder, salt and pepper and parsley to the plain bread crumbs. It would come out just like the garlic herb flavored breadcrumbs.

      Reply
  • I made these tonight and they were amazing!! I used my homemade walnut pesto and made a fresh tomato sauce- then put it on Italian bread from Whole Foods, covered it in mozzarella and broiled it for a few minutes! That was one awesome meatball sandwich. Thanks for the great recipe, it’s the first one I’ve tried of yours and am excited to make more! 🙂

    Reply
    • that does sound like one amazing meatball sandwich! I am glad that you liked it. It is a regular here at our house.

      Reply
  • My family loved these meatballs, and the sauce was fabulous (and fabulously easy). Meatball subs- yum!

    Reply
  • bree, im making these meat balls as i write this! they are in the oven and smell so so good. thanks for the recipe i have never (for whatever reason) thought of putting pesto in the mix but yeah, smells sooooo good. and what a healthful recipe, no egg yolk and turkey make it really well balanced! thanks! amanda

    Reply
    • Turkey Meatballs are something that we eat almost once a week. I am glad that you made them.

      Reply
  • I made these meatballs for dinner for a tough crowd: my mom and dad. My dad raved about them- he didn’t even realize they were turkey! My mom loved them, and she’s generally pretty slim with the compliments about my cooking.
    Thanks so much for helping me bring my family together for a meal.

    Reply
    • I am so glad! Comments like these make writing this blog worth every second that it takes to put it together.

      Reply
    • me too. I make three batches at a time and keep them in the freezer.

      Reply
  • I just wanted to stop by and say. I CAN’T BELIVE I JUST NOW FOUND YOUR BLOG!
    How have I not known about you?!?!? I made your pesto turkey meatballs for my husband and he was INSANELY happy with them. I always thought I made “great” meatballs, but I will NEVER go back to my old recipe.

    Thanks for writing this blog (and your personal blog), I’ve spent half my weekend just drooling over your recipes and photography.

    Reply
    • Welcome! These meatballs are a favorite at our house and I always have some in my freezer. Thanks for checking me out!

      Reply
  • I found your recipe on foodgawker and made these this afternoon to freeze before I went back to school. I had one ‘extra’ meatball to taste, and my dad and I both thought it was delicious. They’re so easy to make too! I used plain oats instead of bread crumbs, so next time I think I’ll add some garlic and herbs to add a bit more punch, but they’re great just plain too.

    Thanks for the great recipe! This will definitely be staple in the future. Too easy not to be!

    Reply
  • HI,
    i was just wondering your thoughts about adding a little ground veal to the mix to give it a bit more fat flavor, i know we are trying to be healthy but i am just wondering your thoughts on this?

    Reply
    • also to add that i keep kosher so i am taking out the cheese so i was wondering what else i can add to replace the cheese,
      all thoughts are welcome

      Reply
    • The whole point is to take the fat out, and make a healthy meatball. Of course you can add whatever you like, but it sort of defeats the purpose.

      Reply
  • I am so sorry if I missed it somewhere but when I printed out the recipe I looked & looked & cant find the amount of PESTO to put in the meatball recipe… is it just me? I apologies if it is. Lol
    thanks.

    Reply
  • Made these last weekend, they were a hit!! The pesto really added to the taste and we were able to freeze the left over meatballs. Will definitely make again! Thanks!

    Reply
    • These are always on heavy rotation at my house. My kids love them and I always make at least a double batch.

      Reply
  • we love this recipe. I will make it from here on until forever. MWAH!

    Reply
  • I loved your recent post about your 25 most popular recipes. Had to try these meatballs and they did not disappoint! I love cooking with ground turkey anyway and love a new way to use it. The pesto and parmesan added the perfect spice to these (also added some garlic powder for flavor). Thanks for a great recipe, Bree!

    Reply

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