Healthy turkey meatballs are studded with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, and brushed with savory basil pesto.
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?!
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.
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.
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.
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
- 1 1/4 pounds 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 ounces fresh mozzarella diced
- 4 large fresh basil leaves thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup basil pesto
- 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.
- 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.
The meatballs can be mixed and rolled several hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator and uncover before baking.