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Turkey Pesto Parmesan Meatballs

Turkey Pesto Parmesan Meatballs

I love meatballs. I don’t make them very often, but when I do, I usually make a lot and freeze some. They’re great for a quick dinner--whether served over pasta or in a sandwich. I even buy vegetarian frozen meatballs if I have an emergency meatball craving--which I often do. Those are great in a pinch!Have you guys ever had emergency meatball cravings?  Or is it just me…and weirdly, it happens a lot. This week, I was feeling like turkey, pesto and parmesan would make magical meatballs. Yes, I said magical. Meatballs are magical, ok? Don’t argue with me.

A while back, I made some burgers with these same ingredients. They’re definitely a nice change of pace! Sometimes, you just don’t feel like having beef, you know? The flavors of the turkey, pesto and the parmesan just all go together so well. Put them together in meatball form and you’ve got a great start to dinner. Have them with pasta and your favorite sauce, or in a meatball sub with that same sauce and some provolone cheese. Yeah, baby.

These are very simple to make. I usually like to make the meatballs and simmer them in my favorite sauce. That’s the recipe I always use, and it’s fantastic every single time. I was a bit short on time for these, so I sautéed them in a pan first. Also very simple--just drop your meatballs in a lightly oiled pan, and brown on all sides. Check one for doneness, and when they’re all set, plop them in your simmering sauce and you’re ready to go. They’re also mild, so kids like them--they have a nice cheesiness from the fresh grated parmesan. Kids love parmesan and noodles!

If you’re not feeling meatbally, try the burgers that I linked to above. Burger/grilling season is nearly upon us and if your grill is like ours, it’s feeling very unappreciated after the long winter.

Turkey Pesto Parmesan Meatballs

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (approx.)
1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pesto
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2-3/4 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Form into meatballs and set aside.

I usually like to simmer meatballs in sauce. Just drop them in the pot of sauce and simmer for a couple of hours. This makes extremely tender and juicy meatballs. Don't stir them for the first 30 minutes after adding them to the sauce. Instead, take a wooden spoon and gently push them under the sauce. This helps them set up, then you can stir occasionally. If you make them too big, they can take up to 3 hours to cook through. I tend to make mine on the small side so they cook faster.

If you'd rather, you can brown them in a pan on all sides, then drop the into the sauce to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Turkey Pesto Parmesan Meatballs

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Reader Comments (24)

My family HATES turkey meatballs. I like them and often make a batch for myself for the freezer and just cook them alongside the beefies. I think the addition of pesto is genius as it's one condiment that really goes well with poultry. Thanks for the idea. :)

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I fought the idea of turkey for spaghetti for the longest time; thinking it would be dull and not compare. I can hardly tell the difference! I think it's all about the other goodies and the guessing it's time to move on to meatballs now.

These look terrific Elle; wishing I had some. I'll trade you a slice of quiche?

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara | VinoLuciStyle

We absolutely love turkey meatballs here, can't wait to try your version - they sound delicious! I almost never buy ground beef anymore so I'm always trying to find new recipes that call for ground turkey :)

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTracey

I'm coming over and we're going to eat every last one of those meatballs. I'll bring a funnel and a hose for back up.

My mom makes yummy turkey meatballs but we've never tried putting parmesan cheese inside of them. I'd probably still cover my pasta in mounds of it afterward. I don't think it's possible to have too much parmesan cheese.

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAleida

These look so fabulous!

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ How Sweet

Pesto makes everything awesome. Can't wait to try these meatballs.

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter*Just Fran*

You know I like a good turkey burger so why haven't I ever don't turkey meatballs?! And I'm with you when you make a bunch make enough to freeze!

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkat

These seriously look amazing! I am going to have to try these to make for my kids

I just want to reach my fork through the screen & grab one of those guys! Mmmm....

What a coincidence! I just posted meatballs, too! But for Passover. Great minds, and all that? :-D

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRJ Flamingo

Elle-Your meatballs look so good!! I really like the addition of pesto. I make turkey meatballs pretty often b/c we all enjoy them.:)

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLora @cakeduchess

I've done chicken meatballs before but never turkey. Love the addition of garlic powder to the ingredients mmm.

Love the addition of pesto!

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

what is it about meatballs that make us so happy? i wonder if it's because they're little as opposed to a meatloaf or a burger or maybe it's because you can change up the sauce and create a whole different dinner theme? or maybe it's because like you said, you can make a batch and freeze some for later? doesn't matter, these are great!

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSMITH BITES

Great looking meatballs!!!

Ummm, WOW. Wishing these were sitting in front of me right now. Love the pesto. Love the parm. Love the turkey - it all looks so good.

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFeast on the Cheap

I may make these with bison meat as have all the other ingredients. Nom-nom

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer (Savor)

I'd never argue with you Elle. Your meatballs certainly do look magical! Thanks for sharing this recipe. Love that you used turkey too.

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRenee @KudosKitchen

What a genius idea to add pesto into the meatball mixture! I'm definitely trying that next time!

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy

The meatballs look amazing. The addition of pesto is inspired. I absolutely must give this a try. I have just stumbled upon your wonderful blog and have enjoyed my visit very much. My husband and I have just relocated to NH from Louisiana (He's originally from here.) and we're both foodies. To find another NH blogger and a fellow foodie makes my day. I'm going to be following along with you via email and will most definitely be back. Have a wonderful weekend, Candace

April 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCandace

These sound like a nice change from the beef meatballs. Now I want meatballs! ;)

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermegan

Oooh now I like the look of these! Love the addition of Parmesan.

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJan

These look delicious Elle :)

May 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Mmmmm, this honestly is making my mouth water :)! Great recipe!

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPretty. Good. Food.

Great recipe. I love Parmesan cheese and this is such a clever way to taste all its goodness!
I recently wrote an article on how real Parmesan cheese is made and on its nutritional value. Check it out and let me know your thoughts, I would really appreciated it!


Mike @TheIronYou

July 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike

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