Turkey Pesto Meatballs

turkey pesto meatballs

I don’t know what happened, but it seems like we went from 90 degrees, sunny and gorgeous (and a bit ridiculous in late September in Portland, Oregon) to BRRRR, where is my winter jacket?  Suddenly the cat stopped clawing at the door to go outside, and instead wants only to be ON ME at all times, or if not on me, then on the heating vent nearest to me.

Even with the chill in the air, the weather has been a bit over the top nice, all in all, since we’ve had no rain and a fair amount of sun for the first 12 days of October–again, an oddity for my end of the world.  But alas, it all ends tomorrow–the forecast shows nothing but rain for the next seven days.  Reality is looming.

But I’m ready, I’ve already got my big bag of hot cocoa mix (my own, from my biz) right next to the espresso machine and my favorite little gadget, the mini-frother . . . and a mother lode of comfort food recipes just waiting for a little attention from me.  Oh yes, there will be turkey chili and white bean stew and veggie lasagna, and my family’s recipe for sourdough (!) waffles, and yes, there will be cookies and chocolate and challah, too.  But let’s start easy, you should know that’s the way I roll by now . . . let’s start with Turky Pesto Meatballs.

Throw these together in a flash, especially if you had that one brilliant moment of foresight back in September to make a huge batch of pesto and freeze it up in muffin tins, just waiting for a cool fall day.  Or just buy some pesto, I won’t tell.  Sub in some pork for some of the turkey if you want a little extra richness and flavor (yum, pork!)–or make a double batch with half turkey and half pork, even better, and freeze up the meatballs you don’t bake immediately.  You’ll thank yourself later, when you come home exhausted and AHA, those meatballs are just the thing to toss onto a cookie sheet and bake up while you rest your feet and toss back a bottle glass of wine.  Not that I would know.

Meatballs are really just a handy way to serve a protein as part of a meal, don’t be limited to thinking they must go in spaghetti.  In fact, when I made these most recently I skipped the pasta entirely–instead, I just sauteed up some onion, mushroom, bell peppers and broccoli (crazy, I know!), mixed in some fresh tomato sauce, and layered the veggies & sauce on a plate with some meatballs on top.  Easy is my middle name.  But don’t take that the wrong way.  In fact, forget I said it.  Now.

Turkey Pesto Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground turkey (or a mix of turkey and pork)
  • 1/2 cup pesto (fresh, frozen, or purchased)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • salt, pepper, any seasoning you like

Mix all until completely combined.  Scoop using a 1/4 cup measure and roll into balls.  Bake on a parchment or silpat lined sheet pan at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through (check by cutting one open).  To freeze extras, portion and roll, then place on a plate in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove from plate and store in a freezer ziploc.  Frozen meatballs can go straight into the oven, but may take 30-40 minutes to cook (make them smaller to cook faster).

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4 thoughts on “Turkey Pesto Meatballs

  1. Hi! I found your blog through Smitten Kitchen.
    These look delicious! I’m going to try them soon – with a mix of pork & turkey.
    Do you know how long fresh pesto lasts in the fridge? I made some, used some of it but forgot to put it in the freezer. Anyway, now I’m off to look around your blog for some other great recipes!

    • Hi Liz! Pork is actually my favorite meatball flav, oddly enough I don’t think I’ve posted a recipe for those yet. Fresh pesto should last a few days to a week in the fridge, just make sure to cover it with a thin layer of oil each time you use some–otherwise the basil oxidizes and becomes bitter. Happy cooking! Stephanie

  2. I really prefer turkey over beef for its flavor. This recipe sound great! I often use freshly made bread crumbs to make the mix extra soft and tender. I will have to try the recipe! Happy November!

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