This Pesto Baked Turkey Meatballs recipe makes tender, flavorful turkey meatballs with pesto sauce and mozzarella cheese that you can enjoy for a family meal or prep ahead for meals all week.
Prep these healthy turkey meatballs in less than an hour
These baked turkey meatballs are perfect for those nights when you don’t want to mess around with a bunch of different ingredients or complicated steps. You only need a few basic ingredients to make these flavorful and tender turkey meatballs.
These meatballs come together in 10 minutes and baked for 30 minutes. While they bake you have the perfect amount of time to prepare some noodles or veggies to enjoy with your healthy pesto turkey meatballs.
I promise this pesto pasta and meatballs recipe will become something your family loves! If you can’t eat them all in one sitting, these turkey pesto meatballs are perfect as leftovers for lunch.
While these turkey pesto meatballs bake, I like to boil a few servings of pasta. I like to toss the pasta with a bit of basil pesto and olive oil. Then, I serve the pesto pasta with meatballs and extra parmesan cheese.
You can also make a pesto meatballs sub sandwich. Layer the turkey meatballs on a long roll and top them with extra slices of mozzarella cheese. Bake under the broiler until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling.
For a delicious low carb or keto meal, serve these turkey meatballs with roasted vegetables. You can also serve them over cooked and shredded spaghetti squash.
What ingredients will I need to make these oven-baked turkey meatballs?
- Pesto – I used this homemade pesto recipe, but any store-bought pesto can work!
- Ground turkey – I like to use ground turkey that has a little beat of dark meat to keep the meatballs moist.
- Large egg – You can use a little ricotta cheese if you don’t eat eggs
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried basil – you can add other seasonings to this mix as desired. To add some spice, add some crushed red pepper to the ground meat mixture.
- Mozzarella cheese – top the meatballs with shredded mozzarella cheese. You can also use slices of fresh mozzarella
I don’t use breadcrumbs in this meatball recipe to keep it super tender when baked. If you would like to add some breadcrumbs, I would also add an extra egg to the meatball mixture for moisture.
I like to make turkey pesto meatballs, but you can always use ground chicken, ground pork or ground beef in place of ground turkey. I find that the flavor of turkey or chicken works best with pesto.
This simple pesto meatballs recipe is meant to be a twist on traditional meatballs with marinara sauce. I like to use a classic basil pesto, but you can also use a red pesto. Red pestos are made from sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil.
You can make these baked turkey meatballs dairy free by using a vegan pesto and dairy free mozzarella cheese. Both are available for purchase at Trader Joe’s.
How to make Pesto Turkey Meatballs
Step 1: Make the meatballs
First, preheat the oven to 400F. Then, in a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried basil (Image 1).
Use your hands to combine the mixture thoroughly. Then, make 16 even meatballs by rolling 2 tbsp of mixture into each meatball.
Step 2: Arrange in the dish and bake
Next, spread 1/4 cup of pesto sauce in a thin layer in the bottom of a 10×10 square baking dish (Image 2). Then, arrange the meatballs in the dish and top with them with the remaining 3/4 cup of pesto (Images 3 and 4).
Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Step 3: Add cheese and bake again
Next, remove the baking dish from the oven and top with the mozzarella cheese. Then, return the dish to the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts.
Allow to cool slightly and enjoy with noodles or veggies!
Storage and Reheating
Once prepared, store the meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in an oven, toasted oven or in the microwave.
Yes! I find that meatballs are a food that freezes really well! To freeze this recipe I would cook for just 20 minutes without the cheese, cool completely and then place is an airtight container in the freezer.
When you are ready to thaw and reheat you can add some extra pesto and the mozzarella cheese to keep them tender and flavorful!
Check out these other baked meatball recipes
- Tomato Basil Meatball Soup
- Cast Iron Meatballs
- Chicken Tikka Meatballs
- Sweet and Sour Chicken Meatballs
You can find the full recipe below. If you make this recipe, please rate and review it in the comments, or share it with me on Instagram!
- 1.5 lb ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 cup of pesto
- 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400F
- In a large mixing bowl combine ground turkey, egg, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried basil
- Use your hands to combine this mixture thoroughly
- Take 1/4 cup of the pesto and spread a thin layer along the bottom of a 10×10 square baking dish
- Form 16 meatball by taking 2 tbsp of the turkey meatball mixture for each meatball
- Arrange the 16 meatballs in the baking dish
- Pour the remaining 3/4 cup of pesto over the meatballs ensuring each one is covered
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes
- Then remove from the oven, add the mozzarella cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese melts
- Allow to cool slightly and serve with noodles or veggies!