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.

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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!

Turkey Pesto MeatballsPin

The Ingredients

  • 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.
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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.

Turkey Pesto Meatball mixture in bowl with scoop.Pin

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.

Formed, uncooked Turkey Pesto Meatballs on plates.Pin

4. Add to Baking Dish: Pour the marinara sauce into a 9×11 inch baking dish and place the meatballs on top.

Turkey Pesto Meatballs in baking dish with sauce before cooked.Pin

5. Cover and Bake: Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.

Foil covered baking dishPin

Recipe Tip

If the meatballs feel too sticky while you’re shaping them, try wetting your hands!

Storage/Freezing Instructions:

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.

Turkey Pesto Meatballs in serving bowl.Pin

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!

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More Meatball Recipes

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!

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Turkey Pesto Meatballs

Turkey Pesto Meatballs are a family favorite and so simple to make. Everyone from toddlers to adults will love this easy weeknight dinner.
5 from 3 votes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 5 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Equipment

  • 9×11 inch baking dish

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

Homemade Pesto Recipes: Classic Basil Pesto, Spinach Pesto, Kale Pesto, Nut Free Pesto, Pistachio Pesto
Homemade Marinara Sauce
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. When ready, defrost in fridge for 24 hours or put them straight in the oven with sauce increasing cooking time by 5 minutes.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 1410mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g
Did you make this recipe?Mention @Weelicious or tag #weelicious!

About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.

Comments

  1. A friend made these for me. They are terrific! Is there anyway I can find out the nutritional value of this recipe? I am glad you put in how to freeze them.

  2. Cooking these for the second time tonight! Adding fresh thyme this time! We love this recipe 🙂

  3. I love this recipe! Just a quick side note though: this recipe can only be considered nut free if the pine nuts are omitted from the pesto. It works just fine that way (we make it without because of a nut allergy) but I’d hate for someone to buy jarred pesto thinking it would still be nut free. Thanks for sharing; it’s one of our favorites!

  4. Yes that should work just fine! If they’re fully cooked before freezing, you should be able to reheat in the microwave or oven until warm.

  5. These look great and I love that they are egg free since my daughter is allergic! One question in regards to freezing – Can I bake them right away, freeze them individually and then defrost and reheat when she’s ready to eat them?

  6. These are delicious… the perfect way to use up a jar of defrosted pesto.

    I didn’t try the sauce link — 12-16 oz canned tomatoes blended with about a cup of fresh herbs – I used a few leaves of basil, oregano, thyme and a lot of flat-leaf parsely – along with a small can of tomato paste and a dash of salt and pepper worked really well..

    Thanks for the tasty, fast recipe!

  7. These were amazing! So yummy I did cook them for extra 10 mins uncovered and they were great! Love the pesto in them 🙂

  8. I am kosher, too, and I would maybe try adding a little nutritional yeast instead of the parmesan, or just omit it. I think if you used the Ta’amti pareve pesto, it would have enough flavor and you wouldn’t miss the parmesan. I am going to try making these with that and see how they come out!

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