I wish I could say the most popular dinner recipes in my repertoire come from meandering the aisles of my favourite farmers’ market, where I wait with anticipation for inspiration to strike. In reality, instead of wondering what the local squash might whisper in my ear, I turn to my inner voice and ask: “What can I make/prep in advance?” or “What can I make in advance, but also double for another day?” or better yet “What can I made in advance, double for another day AND be certain everyone will agree on?”
These days that last question is the most important one, and the answer is almost always pizza meatballs.
When I shared a teaser pic of this recipe on Instagram, my “likes” blew up, so I feel fairly certain you’ll adore this recipe as much as I do. Aside from the fact that that I’ve incorporated a few shortcuts to reward those of us who are lazy cooks (i.e. there’s no need to mince garlic and chiffonade basil when a spoonful of pesto delivers the same flavourful results!), the best thing about this recipe is that cooks in less than 30 minutes and can be served in a myriad of ways (see below).
I like to use ground chicken or turkey for meatballs, but feel fairly confident these would also taste good with beef or pork, if that’s your preference. Also, definitely consider doubling or tripling the recipe and freezing the extra uncooked meatballs for dinner on another day.
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1-pound ground chicken or turkey
6 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons pesto
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large egg, whisked
Zest of ½ lemon
1 14-ounce can pizza sauce
½ – ¾ cup grated mozzarella cheese
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1. Preheat oven to 400°F and move the rack to the middle of the oven. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over a parchment-lined baking sheet and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, using your hands, gently combine the chicken, panko, pesto, Parmesan cheese, salt, red pepper flakes, egg and lemon zest.
3. Using a large cookie scoop (approx. 3 tablespoons), divide the meat mixture into balls and place a few inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
4. Combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with a large spoonful of the pizza sauce and brush over the top of each meatball. Bake for 15 minutes.
5. Remove the meatballs from the oven and spoon some more of the sauce over each meatball. Top with the grated mozzarella, dividing it evenly between the meatballs and sprinkle with dried oregano.
6. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and browned. Gently warm the remaining pizza sauce and serve on the side.
- Serve alongside spaghetti tossed with pesto and cherry tomatoes.
- Spoon the extra pizza sauce over a toasted bun and top with meatballs and extra cheese to make a meatball sub.
- Bowl meals are some of the best meals and these are a great protein addition to any bowl you make.
- Serve over polenta.
- Serve with zucchini noodles.
- Make a pizza meatball salad: butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, bocconcini cheese, pizza meatballs (sliced), red onions, croutons.