I do it all the time as a single, cooking-for-one, home chef. I buy way too much of one ingredient and assume Im going to be able to use it in time this week it was baby kale. So with a chilly afternoon on my hand and a very large container of greens, I needed a recipe that would help use all of it and thus a speedy pesto and baked meatball recipe was born and I thought it was perfect for my first recipe post to this blog!
I love making my own pesto it tastes better than store-bought and it freezes well for up to a few months (though one 16 oz jars worth never lasts me that long). I like making mine with spinach or kale to give it a little oomph and make me feel healthy.
I also tend to bake my meatballs often, especially when Im using turkey. The result is something versatile that I can use with pesto sauce like this recipe, tomato sauce, on a sub, or on their own with toothpicks as an appetizer.
For the sake of this meal, I even brushed some homemade pesto on the top of the meatballs before popping them into the oven, and then tossed some of sauce with some pasta (I like a rotini, a farfalle, or a fusilli that really gives the pesto something to hold on to).
Without further ado, here are both recipes and a link to a printable PDF version of both is available at the end of this post!
Kale and Basil Pesto
Yield: 16 oz jar of sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: N/A
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 cups lightly packed baby kale
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1 1/2 minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- In a food processor, combine kale, basil, garlic, lemon
juice, parmesan, and almonds until coarsely chopped
- While running the processor, drizzle in the oil. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the machine with a rubber spatula. Continue until mostly smooth
- Add salt and pepper to taste
NOTES: Store unused pesto in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Freeze in ice cube trays or portioned out in freezer bags for 3 months. Can substitue walnuts or cashews in place of almonds.
Turkey and Kale Meatballs
Yield: 12 meatballs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18-22 minutes
Total Time: 28-32 minutes
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 large egg
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 1/2 cops lightly packed baby kale
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp kale and basil pesto (Optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray
- Roughly chop kale and set aside
- In a large bowl combine ground turkey, egg, onion powder, garlic, breadcrumbs, parmesan, oregano, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, salt, olive oil. Add kale and mix contents until well combined.
- Form into 12 meatballs and space out on baking sheet
- Optional: Brush the tops with about 1/2 tsp of kale pesto sauce each
- Bake for 18-22 minutes or until cooked through
NOTES: Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Can substitute garlic cloves for 1/4 tsp garlic powder. Can substitute ground turkey for chicken.
Let me know how your pesto and meatballs turned out in the comments!