Growing Chefs! Ontario Turkey Pesto Meatballs

Turkey Pesto Meatballs

Basil pesto is a great way to add tons of flavour to your meat balls! Try switching things up with a different type of pesto, like sun-dried tomato as well!
Serves 4-6
1 pound ground (minced) turkey or ground chicken1/2 cup prepared pesto. Check out our pesto recipe below!1/3 cup bread crumbs1 carrot, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)2 tablespoons grapeseed oil Salt and pepper to taste To Serve:1 litre prepared tomato sauce. Check out our tomato sauce recipe below!1 pound spaghetti noodles2 red peppers, diced Olive oil Salt and pepper to taste For Garnish: Small handful of basil leaves2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Cutting boardParing knifeMedium frying panMeasuring cupsPeelerLarge potTongsWooden spoonBowls, various sizesDish towelTasting spoonsLadleGraterBaking sheet lined with parchment paperStrainer

Get Organized!

Gather your mis en place; get together all of the equipment needed for the recipe and gather your ingredients.

Get Prepped!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Measure out your pesto and bread crumbs.

Peel the carrot and use the large holed side of a box grater, grate.

Using your hand squish together the turkey, carrot, pesto and bread crumb.

Form the mixture into the size of little ping-pong balls.

Get Cooking!

Place a large pot of water on the stove and turn the heat onto high. Once the water has come to a rolling boil add salt. Don’t be shy with the salt! The water should be salato come il mare”, or salty like the sea”. Add the spaghetti noodles and cook to the package’s instructions. Once they are cooked, reserve a small amount of the water to the side and strain the rest. Toss the noodles in some oil to prevent them from sticking together.

While the pasta is cooking, place the frying pan over medium high heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs. There should be a loud sizzling sound, which is good! This means the meatballs will be nicely seared.

Cook the meatballs for 3 – 4 minutes on each side, then transfer them to the baking sheet and place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the centre reads 165°F.

While the meatballs are in the oven, add the diced peppers to the pan and sauté until softened, about 5 – 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low, and add the pasta sauce to the pan and heat until warmed through.

Once the meatballs are cooked, add a splash of the reserved pasta water to the pan and stir it into the sauce, this will help the sauce to stick to the noodles. Toss the noodles in the sauce, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, and plate the spaghetti. Top the pasta with the meatballs, and garnish with the basil leaves and parmesan.

Serve immediately and enjoy a healthy and flavourful twist on spaghetti and meatballs!

Tomato sauce

Tomato Sauce

Making your own tomato sauce from scratch pays off, especially in the summer when tomatoes are ripe. In the winter, try using canned tomatoes for a richer tasting sauce.

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Read more about Tomato Sauce

Herby Pesto

From the Italian word ​“pestare,” meaning to ​“pound or crush,” pesto is a perfect way to use up a surplus of basil and other greens. Traditionally made with pine nuts, we substitute pumpkin seeds to keep it nut free.

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Read more about Herby Pesto