I'm glad you can't really tell from my photographs that these turkey pesto meatball sliders look a bit, well... green-ish. Yes, the meatballs are wearin' the green for St Patrick's Day, thanks to a good bit of garlicky basil pesto that perks up both the color and the flavor. I formed the meatballs with a two-inch ice cream scoop, a perfect fit for my favorite slider buns, but they'd be equally delicious in a smaller size, tossed with some pasta, garlic and olive oil. It takes just a few minutes to make your own pesto, or you can use good-quality store-bought pesto, if that's what you have in your pantry. Like all of the many turkey meatball variations I've shared here in The Perfect Pantry, these pesto meatballs freeze well, so whip up a double batch when you have time, and store the cooked, cooled meatballs in ziploc bags for easy worknight dinners or party fare.
Turkey pesto meatball sliders
Makes 14 sliders; can be doubled.
For the pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
For the meatballs:
1-1/4 lb ground turkey (I use 93% fat-free)
1/2 cup pesto
1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
3 Tbsp finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 tsp kosher salt, or more
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper, or more
For the sliders:
14 small slider buns
A few leaves of crisp lettuce
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat (silicone mat) or parchment paper, and set aside.
In a food processor, pulse together the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper, until everything is chopped finely. While the machine is running, add the oil in a stream through the feed tube, until the mixture turns into a sauce. Add the cheese all at once, and pulse a few times to combine. Set aside. (This will make more than you need for a single batch of meatballs. Refrigerate or freeze the rest.)
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients. Use your hands to mix everything together until the ingredients are well incorporated. Do not overmix.
Using an ice cream scoop with a release (called a disher), or a large soup spoon, form the meatball mix into 14 two-inch meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake at 425F for 22 minutes. While the meatballs are baking, prepare the slider buns. Slice each in half, and spread with mayonnaise. Pile on a bit of lettuce, and top with a meatball.
Turkey meatballs freeze well, so you can make these ahead, then reheat in a microwave or warm oven.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
North African harissa turkey meatballs
Greektown turkey meatballs
Thai red curry turkey meatballs
Italian turkey meatballs with sun-dried tomato and basil
Curried turkey meatballs
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Turkey pesto meatloaf with tomato sauce, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Healthy lasagne with turkey, pesto and peppers, from Cookin' Canuck
Pesto parmesan turkey burgers, from Elle's New England Kitchen
Turkey bagel burger, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Pesto ricotta lasagna, from The Amateur Gourmet Community
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