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I usually plan out recipes weeks in advance. Sometimes though, I simply look in my fridge and see what I have on hand that needs to be used up. Recently, I noticed that I had ricotta cheese, ground turkey and pesto sauce that needed to go. My creative wheels started turning and came up with Pesto Turkey Meatballs with Ricotta Cheese.

If you have read my blog post for Slow Cooker Meatballs in Marinara Sauce, you know that I strongly prefer to cook meatballs in my slow cooker. This is because I think the meatballs have more moisture and flavor when cooked this way. However, I found that baking meatballs with ricotta cheese helps to keep the meatballs from drying out. The pesto sauce adds the salty, garlicky, parmesan cheesy flavors that I love. And of course pesto adds lots and lots of basil!

My recipe for Pesto Turkey Meatballs with Ricotta Cheese only contains 8 ingredients! It will take you less than 20 minutes to prepare the pesto turkey meatballs. Plus, the pesto turkey meatballs cook up in the oven in only 40 minutes. This gives you plenty of time to prepare any side dishes you want to serve with the meatballs.

Ingredients:

  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Basil Pesto Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Ground Turkey

How to cook:

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the ricotta cheese, basil pesto sauce and the egg. Set aside.

Ricotta cheese, basil pesto and 1 egg combined in a mixing bowl for pesto turkey meatballs with ricotta cheese
Ricotta cheese, basil pesto and egg combined in a mixing bowl.

Step 3: In a large mixing bowl combine the bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper combined in a large mixing bowl for pesto turkey meatballs with ricotta cheese.
Bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper combined in a mixing bowl.

Step 4: Add the ground turkey and the ricotta cheese mixture to the large mixing bowl with the bread crumbs. Using your hands or a wooden mixing spoon, thoroughly combine all of the ingredients.

Ground turkey, ricotta cheese mixture and bread crumb mixture combined in a large mixing bowl to form the pesto turkey meatballs with ricotta cheese.
All ingredients combined in a mixing bowl.

Step 5: Get ready to form your meatballs. Place a roasting rack/cooling rack (like this one here) onto a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Roll meatballs into golf ball sized balls and place onto the baking sheet with the roasting/cooling rack. You will end up with 24 evenly sized meatballs. Don’t forget to spray your cooling rack first! This will make your life much easier at cleanup time.

24 formed meatballs ready to go in the oven.
Meatballs ready to go in the oven.

Step 6: Bake the Pesto Turkey Meatballs with Ricotta Cheese in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

Baked pesto turkey meatballs with ricotta cheese that have just been removed from the oven.
Baked Pesto Turkey Meatballs with Ricotta Cheese.

What can you serve your meatballs with?

Serve the Pesto Turkey Meatballs with Ricotta Cheese with your favorite pasta, a simple green salad or any variety of cooked veggies! My favorite cooked veggies are steamed broccoli and sautéed asparagus. This is also an excellent meal-prep option to keep in your fridge for a quick protein. The meatballs will stay fresh in your fridge for about 5 days.

What equipment do you need to prepare this recipe?

  • Mixing bowls
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Roasting/cooling rack

What basil pesto sauce should you use for this recipe?

My number 1 favorite grocery store pesto is DeLallo Simply Pesto® Sauce – Traditional Basil. It tastes exactly like homemade from scratch basil pesto! As an added bonus, it is shelf stable and can be stored in your pantry for months.

Ingredient swaps:

  • You can make this recipe gluten free by swapping your wheat based bread crumbs for gluten free bread crumbs.
Related recipes:
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photo of pesto turkey meatballs with ricotta cheese

Pesto Turkey Meatballs with Ricotta Cheese


  • Author: Katie
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 24 meatballs 1x

Description

These delicious turkey meatballs are cheesy and packed with flavor!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds ground turkey

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, basil pesto sauce and 1 egg.  Mix thoroughly to combine.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Add the ricotta cheese mixture and the ground turkey to the large mixing bowl containing the bread crumb mixture.  Using your hands or a large wooden spoon, thoroughly mix all ingredients together until combined.
  5. Roll the ground meat mixture into 24 golf ball sized balls.  Place the rolled meatballs onto a rimmed baking sheet containing a roasting/cooling rack.  Spray the roasting/cooling rack with cooking spray before placing the meatballs on top.  
  6. Bake the meatballs in your preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Notes

  • Don’t forget to spray the roasting/cooling rack with cooking spray!  This will prevent your meatballs from sticking to the rack and make cleanup much easier.  You can also line your rimmed baking sheet with foil for even easier cleanup.
  • Make this recipe gluten free by swapping your wheat based bread crumbs for gluten free bread crumbs.
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: pesto turkey meatballs