These Turkey Pesto Meatballs are an easy weeknight dinner that’s full of flavor and will be loved by the entire family. I’ve been making it for many years and everyone from toddlers to adults can’t get enough of this one.
Why I Love Turkey Pesto Meatballs
Easy to Make: These homemade meatballs take very little effort. All you have to do is mix the turkey with the pesto and other ingredients, form them into balls and bake them on top of a delicious tomato sauce.
Family Friendly: I developed this recipe many years ago and one of my favorite parts was that my toddlers and my husband both loved it. This recipe is about as family friendly as it gets so you don’t have to make multiple meals to please everyone.
Packed with Flavor: Considering how little effort you have to put into these turkey meatballs, it’s amazing how tasty they are. The pesto really adds tons of flavor to the meatballs along with the marinara sauce. I think this recipe will be in your weekly rotation!
- Lean ground turkey: I recommend anywhere from 99% lean to 93% lean ground turkey for this recipe.
- Pesto: You can use your favorite store bought pesto in this recipe or make it homemade! I have tons of pesto recipes that you could try: Basil Pesto, Nut Free Pesto, Kale Pesto, Spinach Pesto, Pistachio Pesto.
- Breadcrumbs: Feel free to use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs or plain for this recipe.
- Parmesan cheese: This ingredient adds more flavor but if you need this to be dairy free you can leave this out. You’ll also need to find a dairy free pesto since most pestos also have parmesan in them
- Marinara or tomato sauce: Again, you can use your favorite store bought red sauce for this recipe, but it’s also really easy to make your own homemade tomato sauce.
How to Make Turkey Pesto Meatballs
1. Prep Oven: Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Make Meatballs Mixture: Place all the ingredients (except for the marinara sauce) in a bowl and using your hands, combine until everything is incorporated. Don’t over mix or the meatballs will be tough.
3. Form Into Balls: Using about 1 tablespoon of the mixture per meatball, roll into balls and place on a plate. Try to not pack the meatballs too tight, they can become tough if you do.
4. Add to Baking Dish: Pour the marinara sauce into a 9×11 inch baking dish and place the meatballs on top.
5. Cover and Bake: Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.
If the meatballs feel too sticky while you’re shaping them, try wetting your hands!
To Store: Store leftover turkey meatballs in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
To Freeze: Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet and freeze. After 30 minutes place the par-frozen balls in a ziploc bag, label and freeze. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready, defrost in fridge for 24 hours or put them straight in the oven with the sauce and increase cooking time by 5 minutes.
Tips for This Recipe
Use Your Hands: Don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty with this recipe. After all, your hands are your best cooking tool and help make sure everything is properly mixed. Also, if the mixture feels too sticky, try wetting your hands.
Don’t Over-mix: With that said, don’t over-mix. The more you mix, the tougher the meatballs can be, especially if you’re using a lean meat like turkey.
Smaller meatballs for little ones: You can make meatballs any size you prefer, but I find that smaller bite-sized meatballs are best for the little ones. It can be intimidating to see something huge on your plate when you’re small. Little hands can easily hold little items, so smaller meatballs are perfect for toddlers and young kids.
Ways to Serve Turkey Pesto Meatballs
You can serve turkey pesto meatballs on top of pasta, in a sub sandwich, or on their own. I like to make a double batch, freeze half, and take out just a few at a time to add to school lunches. These little meatballs also make a great appetizer for events like the Super Bowl!
More Meatball Recipes
- Meatloaf Meatballs
- Cheesy Turkey Meatballs
- Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs
- Chicken Meatballs with Mini Wheel Pasta
Next time you’re looking for an easy dinner recipe to please everyone in the family no matter their age, go for these Turkey Pesto Meatballs. They’re super delicious and sure to be a hit! Let me know in the comments what you think of this recipe and tag me on social media if you make it!
Turkey Pesto Meatballs
- 9×11 inch baking dish
- 1 1/4 pound lean ground turkey
- 1/4 cup pesto, more pesto recipes (including a nut free one) are linked below
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups marinara sauce (recipe linked here or below in notes)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place all the ingredients (except for the marinara sauce) in a bowl and using your hands, combine until everything is incorporated.
- Using about 1 tablespoon of the mixture per meatball, roll into balls and place on a plate. Try to not pack the meatballs too tight, they can become tough if you do.
- Pour the marinara sauce into a 9×11 inch baking dish and top with the meatballs.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.