June 3, 2021

Pesto Turkey Meatballs

These delicious pesto baked turkey meatballs are made with ground turkey, spices, and a fresh basil spinach pesto that you will want to put on absolutely everything. The result is tender meatballs that pair perfectly with your favorite pasta, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles.

Easy Turkey Meatballs with Basil Spinach Pesto

Who doesn’t love a really good flavorful meatball?

These pesto turkey meatballs are my new favorite (and hopefully your new favorite) meatballs. I love a good ground beef meatball just as much as the next girl, but sometimes you just want to switch things up a bit.

This recipe uses dark ground turkey instead of beef and a homemade flavorful basil spinach pesto to make a tender and delicious meatball that I know you will love.

These meatballs are the ultimate comfort food and are just the thing to serve over your favorite gluten-free pasta, spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles.

basil spinach pesto ingredients

Basil Spinach Pesto Ingredients

While traditional basil pesto uses fresh basil and parmesan cheese, this recipe also includes fresh baby spinach.

The addition of fresh spinach adds in extra veggies. It’s also a great way to use up any spinach that is starting to go bad in your fridge.

Fresh basil has such a strong flavor that it completely covers up any taste of spinach so no one will know that you snuck in an extra veggie.

To make this basil spinach pesto, here’s what you need:

  • Fresh basil
  • Baby spinach
  • Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Garlic (fresh whole garlic cloves are the best for this recipe)
  • Red pepper flakes (you could leave these out if you prefer)
  • Pine nuts (you can toast these for extra flavor!)
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice and zest
  • Salt

How to Make Basil Pesto from Scratch

If you have never made pesto sauce from scratch don’t be intimidated because it really couldn’t be easier!

Once you have all of your ingredients, making the pesto is as simple as adding them to a food processor and pulsing until everything is well combined. The texture of the pesto shouldn’t be silky smooth but there shouldn’t be huge chunks of nuts or garlic either. 

pesto meatball ingredients

Pesto Meatball Ingredients

Now that you’ve made the pesto sauce, it’s time to focus on the meatballs! These ground turkey meatballs are full of flavor and a great alternative to traditional beef meatballs if you are looking to switch things up a bit!

Here is what you need to make the pesto turkey meatballs:

  • Ground turkey (I prefer to use ground dark meat)
  • Eggs
  • Almond flour (this is a gluten-free substitute for traditional flour that helps to bind the meatballs)
  • Pesto
  • Pecorino Romano
  • Red pepper flakes (optional, but they really do add some great flavor)
  • Italian seasoning blend

pesto turkey meatballs ingredients in mixing bowl

How to Make Turkey Meatballs

Step One: Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.

Step Two: Next, make the pesto by adding all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulsing until well combined. Set the pesto aside while you prepare the meatballs.

Step Three: Add all of the meatball ingredients, except the marinara sauce, to a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix until everything is well combined. Use a cookie dough scoop and wet hands to roll the meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs, roughly two tablespoons of meat per ball.

Step Four: Next, place the meatballs in a baking dish that had been drizzled with a little avocado or olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes.

Step Five: Remove the meatballs from the oven and pour the marinara evenly over the meatballs. Return the dish to the oven and bake for another fifteen to twenty minutes until the sauce begins to bubble and the meatballs are fully cooked.

Step Six: Serve the meatballs with gluten free pasta, extra pesto, and grated pecorino Romano cheese and enjoy!

pesto turkey meatballs over pasta

Can I Make This Recipe Dairy-Free?

Yes! If you need to make this recipe dairy-free you can easily just leave the Pecorino Romano cheese out of both the pesto and the meatballs and they will still be delicious!

How to Serve

I love serving these meatballs over my favorite gluten free pasta with plenty of fresh basil, extra Pecorino Romano, and a drizzle of extra pesto sauce.

Here are a few other ways to serve the meatballs: 

  • with zucchini noodles
  • over spaghetti squash noodles
  • on their own with a side salad

More Delicious Recipes You’ll Love

Homemade Basil Pesto

Italian Pasta Salad

BBQ Chicken Meatballs

Tomato Basil Soup

Sticky Ginger Scallion Meatballs

Healthy Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

pesto turkey meatballs in sauce

hope you give this Homemade Basil Pesto a try! It’s a delicious and versatile sauce that I know you will love!

If you do give this recipe a try, I want to know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @allthehealthythings / #allthehealthythings on INSTAGRAM. Your reviews help support All the Healthy Things and make it possible for me to continue to create the recipes you know and love.

Recipe by: Ashlea Carver / All the Healthy Things | Photography by: Casey Colodny / THE MINDFUL HAPA

Print

Pesto Turkey Meatballs

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 20 meatballs 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free
/
Scale:
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 20 meatballs 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Basil Spinach Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil, packed
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, packed
  • ⅔ cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • black pepper

Meatballs

  • 2 pounds ground turkey (I used ground thighs)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Avocado or olive oil, for frying
  • 32 oz marinara sauce

For Serving

  • gluten free spaghetti
  • extra pesto
  • shaved ir grated pecorino Romano cheese

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Make the pesto by adding all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulsing until well combined. Set aside.
  3. Add all of the meatball ingredients, except the marinara sauce, in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix until everything is well combined. Use a cookie dough scoop and wet hands to roll the meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs, roughly 2 tbsp of meat per ball.
  4. Place the meatballs in a baking dish that had been drizzled with a little avocado or olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the meatballs from the oven and pour the marinara evenly over the meatballs. Return the dish to the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the sauce begins to bubble and the meatballs are fully cooked.
  6. Serve with gluten free pasta, extra pesto, and pecorino Romano cheese and enjoy!

Keywords: pesto, pesto turkey meatballs, turkey meatballs, baked meatballs, meatballs

This post contains affiliate links.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

    18 comments
  1. Made these tonight, I already had homemade pesto in the freezer so it was really easy to put together. I added 1 chicken sausage out of the casing into the ground chicken. Served it with cous cous and a tomato/cucumber salad- Delicious. thank you.

  2. My entire family loved these meatballs! They have been turning the leftovers into meatball subs!!

    • Yay! Happy to hear that, Jennifer! Turning the leftovers into meatball subs is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m so glad you loved the recipe, Stephaine! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

  3. These meatballs make the perfect mealprep for the week, we served over pasta twice then over spaghetti squash and salad. the pesto takes the flavor to a whole other level and is just too good!!

  4. These meatballs were yummy! I used 1lb turkey/1 egg and then the full listed amount of seasonings, and it could’ve had a bit more pesto flavor for my taste! Worth mentioning I ate them plain. So I’d say this is a good starting point but don’t be afraid to add a little extra 🙂

  5. Loved these a lot. One question I have is about the calories listed. Is that information correct? Just seemed like a lot for turkey meatballs so I just wanted to double check. Loved the recipe. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I loved how easy to pull together this meatball recipe is, and adding the pesto in to the meatballs really elevates the flavor. I will definitely be making this again!

  7. I’ve been looking for a good GF meatball recipe and this is it! I made this recipe tonight and it was fantastic. I subbed marinara for the pesto in the meatballs because I didn’t have any pesto on hand. I also let the meatballs simmer in the sauce on the stove rather than placing them in the oven, solely because it’s 95 degrees out where I live and didn’t want to heat up the house. Thank you for this delicious recipe! I will absolutely be making again 😊

  8. Made these last night and excited to eat them again tonight for dinner! Delicious pesto flavor, super moist and yummy.

  9. I made this for dinner tonight and loved it! I love meatballs but have never tried pesto meatballs, and these were so yummy. I only had a pound of turkey, so I halved the recipe which was no problem. I find meatballs are pretty forgiving, especially baking them in the oven with the marinara (I used a jar of spicy arrabiata). Searing them on the skillet was a nice touch, too. My husband also loved these, so I will definitely be making them again!

  10. These remind me of cannelloni filling. Delicious! So happy to find a food blogger who clearly tests her recipes and has a discerning pallet. Keep em coming!

more posts You might also like