Spaghetti with Turkey-Pesto Meatballs

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Ahhhhh, spaghetti and meatballs are so comforting on a cold winter night (or anytime really). The smell of pasta cooking brings me piece of mind, I simply love….and crave it. This recipe is fantastic because there is very little prep and dinner can be on the table within 40 minutes (or less).

My finance and I hosted a dinner so our families could meet for the first time, and this was the dinner I cooked. I added mushrooms, diced onion, and green pepper. I didn’t bother sauteing them beforehand, I just threw them into the pot on top of the sauce, after I added the turkey meatballs, and cooked them for 20 minutes with everything else. Both our families were purring as they gobbled down the spaghetti.

Turkey-Pesto Meatballs

It’s so nice to have a great spaghetti and meatball recipe at your finger tips. I like the meatballs are made from turkey too, however, turkey is a lean meat and can be a fickle beast. Mix the meat mixture enough until the ingredients are combined, then stop. Avoid over mixing otherwise the meat gets to compressed and can get tough!

When rolling the meatballs with your hands, be sure to moisten them first with water. The meat mixture will be less likely to stick to your fingers.

Spaghetti with Turkey-Pesto Meatballs

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetite. Their recipe calls for fresh bread crumbs instead of quinoa. I’ve made this recipe with bread crumbs before and it’s great. However, quinoa is packed with more nutritional value than bread, so I would rather get the additional health benefits of quinoa than wasting the calories on bread made with refined sugars.

If you don’t have quinoa and prefer bread crumbs, use fresh crumbs instead of store bought. The taste and texture of your meatballs will be noticeably different if you use fresh. It’s simple to make homemade, fresh bread crumbs. Simply put the fresh bread in a food processor, pulse the blade a few times, until your bread is breadcrumby consistency.

Love pasta but have a gluten allergy? You can substitute the pasta for the gluten free brands!

Enjoy this spaghetti and turkey meatballs,it’s comfort food at it’s best! 😀

Spaghetti with Turkey-Pesto Meatballs

Spaghetti with Turkey-Pesto Meatballs


  • 1 24oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • ½ lb ground turkey
  • ¾ cup Quinoa (cooked and completely cooled)
  • cup homemade or purchased pesto
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ teaspoon Lawry's salt (or normal salt)
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley (for garnish)


  • Cook the Quinoa according to the directions of the brand you choose. (I like to cook my quinoa the night before to ensure it's cool, if you cook it the same day, allow it to completely cool).
  • Pour half of the jar of tomato sauce into a heavy, medium sized skillet.
  • In a medium sized bowl, add the turkey, quinoa, pesto, egg white, lawry's seasoning salt, and pepper Using your hands, gently mix the ingredients together until they are just combined. Be careful not to compress the turkey too much, otherwise your turkey will be tough.
  • Wet your fingers, then form the turkey mixture into approx 8 meatballs. You may have more or less meatballs depending on how big or small you make them.
  • Now, place the meatballs in the sauce, in a single layer. Spread the remaining tomato sauce over the meatballs. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Then cover the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, stirring occasionally, for approx 20 minutes.
  • While your turkey meatballs are simmering in the sauce, cook the spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water according to the brands directions, or until al dente.
  • Drain the pasta into a colander. Plate as much pasta as you want onto your plate, then spoon the turkey meatballs, along with the tomato sauce, on top of the pasta. Top with the parm cheese and fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish, whatever you fancy. No joke on the cilantro. I didn't have parsley when I made this so I used leftover cilantro… worked really well 😀
  • Enjoy a fast, and easy supper!


Make sure the Quinoa is completely cooled before using. I make mine either the night before or in the morning to ensure it’s not warm when it’s time to use it.
If you’re not big on Quinoa, you can simply substitute bread crumbs (fresh bread crumbs work better)

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