Spaghetti and Turkey-Pesto Meatballs



It’s taken me quite a while to board the ground turkey train. Even as a healthy eater, ground turkey just never appealed to me in the slightest. I’m not even all that crazy about the big roasted bird, so it makes sense that I wouldn’t go gaga over a ground version. Plus, ground sirloin is lean and tasty, so why bother?

Well, originally? Largely because of money. Calorie-wise, most ground turkey is similar to ground sirloin, especially if you’re using “ground turkey” vs. “ground turkey breast.” It’s true that you should limit your red meat, but you don’t need to stay away from it altogether. But when it comes to cost? Well, since we started buying organic/grass fed/humanely treated animal meat, ground turkey is just a lot cheaper  than ground sirloin or lean ground beef. So, while we still purchase red meat, we’ve reduced it a bit in lieu of things like ground turkey and turkey sausage.

The good news is I’ve learned how to use ground turkey pretty well, which is to say it’s more of a blank canvas than anything, sort of like chicken breasts. As long as you use great tasting ingredients, the turkey will be pretty great tasting, too. And in my mind, you can never go wrong with anything pesto flavored. I’ve been wanting to make turkey pesto meatballs for a while, but it finally happened recently when I had some extra basil to  use up. I doctored up my standard meatball recipe, and it turned out wonderfully. I can honestly say I didn’t miss the beef at all and Tom commented both at dinner and the following day, after eating leftovers for lunch, how great the meal was. Zachary for his part also ate 3 meatballs, so I’d say it was a winning dish all around.



Spaghetti and Turkey-Pesto Meatballs

  • Elly, that’s a beautiful plate of spaghetti!

  • These look so delicious, definitely trying them soon!

  • I really enjoy turkey meatballs as they can be quite moist when prepared just right. Lots of flavour added with the pesto.

  • pesto could make just about anything taste good in my opinion!!

  • Elly, you had me at “pesto”

    We sometimes use turkey in meatloaf – just replace half the ground sirloin for turkey, and it’s pretty good! Same with traditionally red meat chilis – just do half turkey. (I’m sure you already do this stuff – but you know..)

  • i use ground turkey for everything: tacos, meatballs, lettuce wraps, chili. love this pesto meatball idea!

  • We made the switch to ground turkey for almost everything last year…but you are absolutely right that it only works well in the recipes that already have lots of flavor in it. These meatballs are definitely going on my to-be-made list!

  • Now these turkey meatballs look lean AND delicious! Pesto in the meatball is a brilliant idea.

  • These turkey meatballs look mouthwatering, esp. the one swimming in the sauce 😉 Irresistible!

  • turkey pesto meatballs sounds pretty incredible! I’m pretty sure I could eat them plain 🙂

  • Susan

    Just made this tonight…my husband (who is a pretty tough customer) loved it! Easy and delicious!

    • elly

      Awesome, Susan. Glad to hear it!

  • Sarah

    made this for dinner last night…SO GOOD!!! thanks for sharing!! 🙂

    • elly

      Happy to hear you liked it, Sarah!

  • If I wanted to use store-bought pesto instead of making my own, how much pesto would you say I should use?

    • elly

      I’m not really sure. Maybe about 3 Tbsp?

      • hercheyk

        Sounds good. Thanks!

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