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Pesto Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

If Spaghetti and Meatballs "summered," this is how they would do it.

Mango Curry Chicken Salad
Pesto is a secret weapon to save you prep time while imparting an unmistakable depth of flavor. Made traditionally with basil, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan, and sometimes pignoli or walnuts, it is a natural fit for a meatball.

Homemade or store-bought, the pesto does most of the work to flavor and moisten these delicious meatballs. Baking them on a sheet pan means no mess and no fuss . . . and no grease! You certainly could serve these on actual noodles, but they honestly pair so well with the zucchini variety that you won't miss the traditional fare.

Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; large mixing bowl; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; rubber spatula; rimmed sheet pan; parchment paper; large nonstick sauté pan; wooden spoon; tongs

Meatball Ingredients:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound ground dark meat turkey ¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs 

1 egg, beaten 

2/3 cup pesto, divided 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

½ teaspoon kosher salt 

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Zoodles Ingredients:

1 large package zucchini noodles (zoodles) 1 tablespoon olive oil kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 2 cups tomato sauce ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper and drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.

2. To make the meatballs, combine the turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, 1/3 cup pesto, parsley, salt, and pepper; mix with your hands to incorporate. With wet hands, form 12 meatballs, each about the size of a golf ball and place on the sheet pan. 

“Making fresh breadcrumbs couldn't be easier: take your favorite bread - anything from white sandwich bread to brioche, challah, sour, sourdough, or whole wheat - and break it into pieces, toss them in the food processor and voila! Fresh breadcrumbs make this lighter, more moist, and better tasting every time. It's about technique, not torture!”

3. Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes, or until done and no longer pink in the center. Remove the meatballs from the oven to rest on the sheet pan while you prepare the zoodles.

4. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil, swirling to coat. Add the zoodles and sauté for 2 minutes, or until wilted.

5. Divide the zoodles among four shallow bowls. Top each portion with ½ cup tomato sauce, then top each portion with three meatballs. Drizzle with remaining 1/3 cup pesto and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Mango Curry Chicken Salad Pita Pockets

“ Use dark meat ground turkey. Always. Turkey is already so lean. Please use the dark ground meat, or at least a combination of dark and white ground meat. Everything you make with it will be more moist and more flavorful. It's about technique, not torture. Make it easier on yourself to achieve tasty and moist results. I'm telling you the truth and I promise you'll thank me!”

"Whatever your dietary or allergy issues are, there is surely a pesto out there for you: No nuts? No problem! No dairy? Don't sweat it! "

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