Warm up your family with a plateful of our pesto meatballs with spaghetti on any weeknight when you need a hot meal on the table fast. This delicious recipe will satisfy the craving for comfort food without extra effort.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Dinner Fast. You can have this recipe on the table in thirty minutes or less, making it a easy weeknight meal.
Delicious Variation. The basil pesto adds a fresh twist to run-of-the-mill meatballs. Pesto-infused homemade meatballs are baked and then covered in red sauce and served over spaghetti with fresh basil for garnish. The whole family is sure to love this pesto pasta dish. Pair these with these easy dinner rolls for a delicious dinner.
Versatile. Enjoy your spaghetti and meatballs reheated for several days or make extra meatballs for meatball sandwiches.
Ingredients for Pesto Meatballs and Spaghetti
Just a few basic ingredients are needed.
Lean Ground Beef. You don't want to use 80/20 because the meatballs will shrink too much and be greasy.
Italian Bread Crumbs. These come with the seasoning built right in and add so much flavor to your meatballs while also helping hold them together.
Basil Pesto. You can buy this in small jars with pasta sauce at your grocery store.
Grated Parmesan Cheese. No need to buy the expensive kind for this recipe.
Salt and Pepper. To taste.
Spaghetti Sauce. Just pick your favorite brand!
Fresh Basil Leaves. A handful of fresh basil adds incredible flavor to any dish.
Spaghetti Noodles. Because spaghetti and meatballs belong together
Substitutions and Variations
There are several different ways you can change this recipe up.
You can make pesto turkey meatballs or pesto chicken meatballs by substituting ground turkey or ground chicken for the ground beef.
You can use a homemade pesto sauce, like this basil pesto recipe (my favorite fresh pesto)
If you don't want a marinara sauce, try an Alfredo sauce, a brown butter sauce, or a mushroom sauce instead.
Add a little minced garlic (1 teaspoon) to the sauce for added flavor.
Romano cheese is a good substitute for parmesan in a pinch. Just don't let the kids smell it while you are mixing up the meat.
If you just don't have spaghetti and want to get supper on the table, you can use any variety of your favorite pasta you wish.
How to make Pesto Meatballs and Spaghetti
Step 1 Prepare meatball mixture. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, pesto sauce, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
Form the meatball mixture into one-inch balls and place them on the baking sheet slightly separated.
place meatballs on cookie sheet. Bake the pesto meatballs for 25 minutes and then remove them from the oven.
Place the meatballs in a large skillet and cover them with your pasta sauce of choice and cook on medium-high heat.
Boil noodles and cook them until al dente. Strain.
Mix the noodles with the meatballs and sauce in a large bowl and serve! See full recipe for details.
Timesaving Tips for Pesto Meatballs
If you can't find Italian breadcrumbs, you can substitute them with panko breadcrumbs or an Italian "shake and bake" seasoning.
You can cook the pasta while your meatballs are baking to speed things up and get dinner to the table faster.
Make a double batch and freeze the meatballs in a freezer bag for later.
Separate leftovers into individual containers for a quick lunch box filler. Refrigerate the leftovers for up to three days in an airtight container. Freeze the leftovers for up to three months in an airtight container. If you are freezing the leftovers, it is far easier to reheat individual servings.
Serve with grated Parmesan cheese crusty bread. For an added kick, you can add some red pepper flakes.
Reheating your Leftovers
Use the microwave to reheat from cold or frozen. Make sure to stir and check the center temperature after microwaving. Add more time in thirty-second increments as needed.
You can also make ahead big batches of meatballs to use on busy nights. Make, bake, and freeze the meatballs on a large sheet pan. When you are ready for them, simply remove them, heat them in the skillet to thaw and cook them in the sauce for an even faster weeknight meal.
About 3 days. If you want then to last longer, you will need to freeze them.
Absolutely, this recipe includes how to do that.
Yes, the meatballs go great with just about any type of pasta.
More Great Meatball Recipes
- Grape Jelly Meatball Recipe
- Meatball Soup Recipe
- Easy Meatball Sandwiches from Scratch
- Chicken Buffalo Meatballs
Pesto Meatballs (with pasta)
- Cookie sheet
- Large Skillet
- Large Pot
- Large Bowl
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- ½ cup italian breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup basil pesto
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 24 oz spaghetti sauce
- Fresh basil leaves to garnish optional
- 1 lb spaghetti noodles
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, basil pesto, parmesan cheese, pepper, and salt. Mix well.
- Form mixture into 1 inch balls, and place on baking sheet.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- Set cooked meatballs in a large skillet, and cover with pasta sauce. Heat on medium high to warm through.
- Meanwhile, fill a large pot halfway with water and boil over high heat. Add noodles, and cook until al dente, approximately 10 minutes.
- Strain water.
- Serve noodles with meatballs and sauce over it, or mix it all together in a large bowl.
If you are not yet subscribing to my CELEBRATE THE SEASON newsletter, you can subscribe here. I share easy recipes for the season that the entire family is sure to love and also a few things that I don’t share here. I will email you only once a week as I know how valuable your time is and respect that tremendously!