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.
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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
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 final texture of the pesto shouldn’t be silky smooth but there shouldn’t be huge chunks of nuts or garlic either.
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)
- Almond flour (this is a gluten-free substitute for traditional flour that helps to bind the meatballs)
- Pecorino Romano
- Red pepper flakes (optional, but they really do add some great flavor)
- Italian seasoning blend
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!
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
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I hope you give these Pesto Turkey Meatballs a try! They’re incredibly flavorful and delicious!
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.Print
Pesto Turkey Meatballs
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 20 meatballs 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Italian Inspired
- Diet: Gluten Free
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
- 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
- gluten free spaghetti
- extra pesto
- shaved ir grated pecorino Romano cheese
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Make the pesto by adding all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulsing until well combined. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve with gluten free pasta, extra pesto, and pecorino Romano cheese and enjoy!
pesto, pesto turkey meatballs, turkey meatballs, baked meatballs, meatballs
Recipe by: Ashlea Carver / All the Healthy Things | Photography by: Casey Colodny / THE MINDFUL HAPA