Apr 30
2012

Baked Caprese Turkey Meatball Recipe with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Basil Pesto

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Healthy turkey meatballs are studded with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, and brushed with savory basil pesto.
Baked-Caprese-Turkey-Meatball-Recipe-with-Sun-Dried-Tomatoes-Mozzarella-&-Basil-Pesto-Cookin-Canuck

Last week was all about comfort food, and these baked turkey caprese meatballs with pesto hit the mark. After running the half-marathon last weekend, my body was in recovery mode. Last Sunday, the day after the race, things started out on the rough side. Let’s just say that I had to slide down the stairs on my butt because I didn’t trust my quads to hold me up for the downhill journey. Groaning like an old chair under a heavy weight, I staggered over to the bottle of Advil before falling onto the couch. I was spent.

Of course, I did manage to muster enough energy to drag my sorry self out to the car and then into a cozy new-to-us restaurant in our city (Tin Roof Grill), where we managed to recoup all of the weekend’s burned calories over plates of calamari, Spanish tortilla, lettuce wraps and Asian ribs. I’ll suffer any amount of quad pain for a good meal. Can you stand the martyrdom?!

ChickenMeatballCollage

The week’s meals ranged from a light stir-fry to Spicy Chicken Thighs with Cucumber Avocado Salsa and then, finally, to these meatballs. One of the most-requested meals by my kids is Baked Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs. As much as we love that light and savory version, it was time to add a new flavor combination into our menu rotation. With sun-dried tomatoes (I use the variety that is not packed in oil) and basil pesto on hand, “caprese” sprung to mind. All I needed was some fresh mozzarella.

These meatballs were mixed and rolled in under 20 minutes. (This step can be completed several hours in advance.) After 15 minutes in the oven, the meatballs had a little bath in basil pesto before being finished off for an additional 5 minutes of baking. Serve the meatballs over brown rice or with some whole wheat pasta lightly tossed with olive oil, minced Italian parsley and Parmesan cheese.

The recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, grated onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, parsley, oregano, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.

CapreseMeatballsCollage1

Mix well to combine. Using a 2 tablespoon portion of the turkey mixture, form meatballs by rolling between the palms of your hands. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly.

Bake until the meatballs are firm to the touch and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Brush the meatballs liberally with the basil pesto. Return to the oven for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

CapreseMeatballsCollage2

These meatballs can be served over rice as an entree, or as hors d’oeuvres (serve with toothpicks).

Other meatball recipes:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Baked Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs
The Perfect Pantry’s Thai Red Curry Meatballs
Picky Palate’s Mozzarella Stuffed Homemade Meatballs
Elana’s Pantry’s Chicken Meatballs (Gluten-Free)

Baked Caprese Turkey Meatball Recipe with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Basil Pesto

Yield: Approximately 30 meatballs

From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lb. ground turkey meat (preferably not extra-lean)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (preferably not packed in oil)
  • 2 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, grated onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, parsley, oregano, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
  3. Mix well to combine. Using a 2 tablespoon portion of the turkey mixture, form meatballs by rolling between the palms of your hands. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly.
  4. Bake until the meatballs are firm to the touch and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  5. Brush the meatballs liberally with the basil pesto. Return to the oven for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Notes

These can be served over rice or pasta as an entree, or as hors d'oeuvres. The meatballs can be mixed and rolled several hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator and uncover before baking.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bellini April 30, 2012 at 7:05 am

I can feel our pain, although mine came from turning over my newly acquired garden plot and not anything as ambitious as a marathon. These meatballs are something I know i would enjoy as well.

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2 Lori @ RecipeGirl April 30, 2012 at 7:15 am

Yum yum! I hope you have recovered nicely from the half. Still running?

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3 Maria April 30, 2012 at 7:15 am

Love the pesto! I will have to check out Tin Roof Grill!

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4 Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables April 30, 2012 at 7:31 am

I love turkey meatballs, caprese AND pesto. This recipe was obviously meant for me :)

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5 Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen April 30, 2012 at 8:20 am

I love that you rolled the meatballs in pesto, those flavors are so vibrant!

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6 Lora April 30, 2012 at 8:57 am

These look amazeballs! I must try this out. Also you did so well in your recent TV segment. Bravo!

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7 Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray April 30, 2012 at 8:57 am

Dara, these look AMAZING! I swoon for anything caprese, and I love subbing turkey in meatballs. These are on my must-make list for the spring.

And by the way, I totally sympathize with your quads–living in a third-floor walk-up apartment was murder the week after my half!! ;)

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8 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. April 30, 2012 at 9:11 am

sounds great! Love the pesto with the turkey!

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9 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking April 30, 2012 at 10:11 am

Such a great dinner idea, and so creative! Love this, Dara. I’ll be trying these soon.

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10 Cassie April 30, 2012 at 10:22 am

This is so unique, Dara. I love the addition of the pesto!

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11 Julia {The Roasted Root} April 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Oh deary me…I love meatballs and I love turkey. And basil and sun-dried tomatoes. Very tastey!

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12 Laurie @SimplyScratch April 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm

This is genius! Great recipe Dara!

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13 kellypea April 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Congrats on finishing the half-marathon! I can imagine the muscle fatigue, definitely. The meatballs sound delicious — really like the pesto with them.

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14 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel April 30, 2012 at 4:13 pm

These would be fantastic for a party! I strangely love making meatballs :)

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15 Marina {YummyMummyKitchen.com} April 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm

All I can say is WOW. These look so good I wouldn’t trust myself not to pluck each one off the baking sheet and devour them all myself :)

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16 carolinaheartstrings April 30, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Those look amazing! Your pictures are always so wonderful.

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17 Sara Louise May 1, 2012 at 11:34 am

crazy for chocolate? Please check out my blog!

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18 Part Time House Wife May 1, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Hahahahhaha.. I 1million % feel the pain of not trusting your quads to take you down the stairs! I ran a half this past saturday {was completely unprepared…haven’t really run since October} and the last 2 miles my muscles were so fatigued I was getting charlie horses in my feet making my toes curl in my shoes spastically! It was intense, needless to say I’ve been hobbeling like an old lady!

But…Beyond that, these meaty balls of yours look incredible! I absolutely will be trying them!

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19 claudia lamascolo/aka pegasuslegend May 2, 2012 at 4:51 am

Very yummy looking Dara! The boys and hubby must have went nuts over these!

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20 Rachel Cooks (formerly Not Rachael Ray) May 2, 2012 at 6:47 am

These look fabulous! All my favorite ingredients!

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21 marla May 3, 2012 at 5:54 am

Meatballs with pesto are a great combo! This would be enough for my whole meal ~ with a nice green salad.
Been thinking about you, we need to catch up.

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22 HeatherChristo May 3, 2012 at 9:47 am

Dara these look sooooo delicious!

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23 Kris May 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm

day after marathon day is one to rest… and soak… and ice… and rest… ;) my last race, I think I took THREE baths the next day – Epsom was my friend!

sun dried tomatoes make pretty much everything better – I love the sound of these!

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24 Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 5, 2012 at 11:26 am

Love these meatballs, such a great flavor mix!

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25 Deborah May 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm

I love, love the pesto element!!

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26 love cooking May 7, 2012 at 6:08 am

I just can’t resist meat ball. I love it. Maybe mix in some chopped chilies would be nice too. :)

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27 Nevine @ Tableya May 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I adore meatballs in every shape, size and flavour. Never thought to make them with pesto though, they sound delicious.

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28 RavieNomNoms May 10, 2012 at 10:52 am

Those wouldn’t last long at a cocktail party if they were put on toothpicks. I would eat the entire tray just myself! They look phenomenal!

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29 Carolyn May 11, 2012 at 5:06 am

all that protein is important to rebuild the muscles after a long run. Keep it up, girl!

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30 Jen at The Three Little Piglets May 11, 2012 at 6:31 am

I love that you can completely forgo the pasta sauce with these! They’re so full of flavor you just don’t need much else.

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31 Dominique June 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm

The boyfriend and I really liked these! I hadn’t made meatballs before, let alone turkey meatballs, but these were easy and they tasted delicious!

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