Gluten-Free, Paleo, Whole30
This easy-to-make and delicious pesto-baked turkey meatballs is enriched with flavors and can be the next best addition to your pasta list! These tasty and healthy meatballs are made of spices, ground turkey, and a fresh basil spinach pesto that you will fall in love with. As a result, you will get tender and mouthwatering meatballs that you can pair with your favorite zucchini noodles, pasta, or spaghetti. This pesto turkey meatballs recipe is gluten-free, paleo-friendly, Whole30 compliant, and flavorful.
Easy-Peasy and Appetizing Meatballs with Fresh Basil Spinach Pesto
Honestly, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like a flavorful and tasty meatball. We all love it, right?!
Well, if there is someone who doesn’t, I bet they haven’t tried these delicious pesto turkey meatballs. Unarguably, a good ground beef meatball tastes heavenly, but I decided to try something different this time.
This recipe includes a dark ground turkey, not beef, and a homemade dairy-free basil spinach pesto to cook delicious and tender meatballs. Whether it’s the weekend or you just want to have some ‘me’ time, these meatballs work best as comfort food, and you can serve them with your favorite Whole30 spaghetti, pasta, or zucchini noodles. Read on to know everything about this delicious and paleo-friendly meatball recipe!
Ingredients for Making Basil Spinach Pesto
The traditional recipe involves parmesan cheese and fresh basil, but we will use dairy-free ingredients and fresh baby spinach for a delicious and healthy pesto. Adding fresh spinach means your pesto will be even more flavorful. Since fresh basil has such a strong flavor that it completely takes over any excessive spinach taste. So, you don’t have to worry about adding an extra veggie.
Here is what you need for making a delicious and dairy-free basil spinach pesto:
- Baby spinach
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil
- Lemon juice
- Pine nut
- Red pepper flakes (add it only if you want to)
- Garlic (make sure to add fresh garlic cloves)
Steps to Make Basil Pesto from Scratch
Do not be discouraged if you have never made pesto sauce from scratch because it just couldn’t be easier!
When you have all the ingredients, it’s as easy to make the pesto as adding them to a food processor and pulsing until it’s all well mixed. The pesto’s texture should not be silky smooth, but big bits of nuts or garlic shouldn’t be there either.
Ingredients for Making Pesto Meatballs
It’s time to reflect on the meatballs now that you’ve made the pesto sauce! If you are looking to change things a little, these ground turkey meatballs are full of flavor and a perfect alternative to regular beef meatballs!
Let’s have a look at the ingredients:
- Red pepper flakes (optional but recommended as they add more flavors)
- Ground turkey
- Italian seasoning blend
- Almond flour (gluten-free substitute for the traditional floor that helps to bind the meatballs)
Steps to Make Turkey Meatballs
Add whisked eggs, ground turkey, pesto, almond flour, and seasonings to a large bowl. Wash your hands before mixing it and making a blend.
Now roll the ground turkey mixture into meatballs with the help of a cooking dough scoop. I make two tablespoons for each meatball and then use greasy hands to shape them.
Ground turkey’s texture is much stickier than what you will use while dealing with ground beef. Wet your hands with cold water before rolling to make the meatballs easier to roll. This will make it easier for the ground turkey not to stick to your side.
It’s time to sear them in a hot skillet once you’ve made your meatballs before finishing off in the oven. You might just put the meatballs right in the oven to bake, but I think it really helps to produce a lot more flavor by searing them off first, and that’s what we want when we’re cooking.
At this point, the meatballs do not need to be cooked all the way through. You just want to cook on each side for a couple of minutes until golden brown and then move them to your baking dish to finish cooking.
When you have browned all your meatballs, it’s time to coat them in your favorite tomato sauce and bake them. The sauce should be bubbly after 25-30 minutes in a hot oven, and the meatballs will be cooked through it.
How to Serve the Meatballs?
As a stand-alone dish, these meatballs are very hearty and work well. For a well-balanced meal, you can easily combine them with a large salad or roasted veggies.
Of course, you can also go for the more conventional route and serve these meatballs over your favorite pasta, spaghetti squash, or zoodles (this is my go-to gluten-free pasta). Hope you liked the recipe!
What to Expect from this Recipe?
- Prep time: 10 minutes
- Cook time: 45 minutes
- Total time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Gluten-free
- Method: Stovetop
Meatball-Mistakes to Avoid
- Eggs are added for binding the meat and herbs into the meatball mix. Adding too many eggs will make the balls spongy and thick, while you want airy, light meatballs. Usually, you would not need more than one or two eggs per one or two pounds of beef.
- Be sure to place all the ingredients in a bowl at once when you’re ready to mix it together, and always use your hands to mix them. Without crushing the meat, the light touch of your hands combines all of the ingredients. You don’t want to over-mix it into a paste—there should still be full bits of ground meat noticeable.
- If you use dry hands to roll your meatballs, the meat mixture can stick to your skin and make it hard to roll around. To fix this, oil your hands gently. To shape a (not too tight!) ball, you’ll just need a light rolling motion.