I’ve had this recipe idea in my head for a while now. Inspiration comes from the cafeteria at the hospital where I work. I know, cafeteria food! But seriously, my cafeteria does an amazing job with the variety of foods they offer. The kabobs at the hospital have pieces of turkey breast covered in pesto and vegetables. They are delicious but I always want more pesto! And I thought it would be fun to make turkey meatballs instead of turkey breast because that way I could mix pesto in with the meals and coat the meatballs with pesto. Double pesto sauce! Soooo good! These pesto turkey meatball kabobs are delicious and make the perfect healthy dinner.
If you don’t want to take the time to make the meatballs, you could totally use turkey or chicken breast diced into one inch pieces. The meatballs do take a little extra time, I admit, but it’s worth it. I’d say they take anywhere from 20-30 minutes to make, just so you know. But while the meatballs brown in the skillet you can chop up your veggies. Multitasking for the win here…. Otherwise with turkey or chicken breast, you would just assemble the kabobs with raw meat.
These kabobs can be cooked on the barbecue or baked in the oven. I opted to bake these, mostly because it was raining all day. They don’t take very long to bake, especially with the meatballs already browned. Coat the kabobs with pesto towards the end of the cooking time to keep the pesto from getting overcooked. You can make your own pesto or get a jar of store made, either way works.
I was going to make these pesto turkey meatball kabobs last week but we decided to go camping over in Eastern Oregon and I ran out of time. We didn’t tent camp, just slept in the back of the truck. It was definitely cold, but not the coldest I’ve ever been camping. And we had the entire campground to ourselves, which was great! Maddie loved it and had total run of the place, such a happy dog!
Anyway, hope you enjoy these pesto turkey meatball kabobs as much as we do!
- Pesto: ½ cup shredded parmesan, 2 garlic cloves, ½ cup olive oil, 1 cup basil, 2 cups spinach, ½ cup pine nuts, ⅛ tsp pepper, ¼ tsp salt, 2 tbsp lemon juice.
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 cup spinach, torn into small pieces
- ¼ cup pesto - fresh or store bought
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- ⅛ - 1 tsp red pepper flakes, depending on how spicey you like things
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
- Green bell pepper, sliced into one inch pieces
- Yellow bell pepper, sliced into one inch pieces
- Red bell pepper, sliced into one inch pieces
- Red onions, sliced into one inch pieces
- 10-15 grape tomatoes
- ¼ cup pesto
- Kabob skewers
- If making your own pesto: place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.
- To make meatballs, mix ground turkey, spinach, pesto, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Form into small meatballs. You should get about 20 meatballs. I ended up with 21 meatballs.
- In a medium sized skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Place raw meatballs in skillet to brown, cook about 5 minutes per side until all sides are browned. You may have to cook meatballs in batches. When meatballs are browned, removed from heat and set on a paper towel to cool.
- While meatballs are cooking, cut onion and peppers into one inch pieces.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees or start barbecue.
- Assemble kabobs with three meatballs per skewer, filling the rest of the skewer with vegetables. Arrange meatballs and vegetables as desired.
- Once kabobs are assembled, place on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes. If barbecuing, cook kabobs until vegetables are just soft.
- Coat kabobs with pesto before serving. You could place them back in the oven for 3-5 minutes with the pesto if desired.