Baked Pesto Meatballs (Perfect in sauce or as Canapé)

I love beef and I love pesto, so combining the two, much like our pesto panna cotta (image below), was an inevitable happenstance!

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Baked pesto meatballs
Baked pesto meatballs

Baked pesto meatballs make a great alternative flavour to your regular meatball pasta dish but one of my favourite ways of serving them is also as a canapé, at the end of a cocktail stick, with either a piece of cheese, cucumber or marinated/roasted tomato.

Pesto panna cotta
Pesto panna cotta

Here, it’s been baked in a simple tomato sauce, with some peppers (capsicum) & tomatoes. I love adding chargrilled peppers and roasted tomatoes for added depth.

You’ll find the recipe for homemade pesto here, it’s a 5 minute job, so, please do make it yourself.

Shall we get our aprons on?

If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Lin xx

Baked Pesto Meatballs (Perfect in sauce or as Canapé)

Delicious Italian meatballs with a twist – these ones are zinged up with pesto!
5 from 21 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: meatballs, pesto
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
Calories: 579kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


The Meatballs

  • 500 g minced beef
  • 100 g pesto, preferably home made
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 80 g white breadcrumbs, about 3 slices of bread
  • 60 g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • small handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil depending on how fatty your meat is

The Sauce

  • 400 g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • half each green and red capsicum, sliced, fresh or chargrilled
  • 2 tomatoes in rounds, or handful roasted
  • 2 Tbsp sundried tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil if needed
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Mix all the meatball ingredients (apart from the oil) in a large bowl.
  • Make medium sized balls, you should get about 2 dozen.
  • Heat the oil on medium high heat and brown the meatballs, turning them, for about 2 minutes each side. Do this in batches, no overcrowding as you want the meatballs to fry not stew.
  • Place all the meatballs, in a single layer, in a large, oven proof dish and turn the oven on to 180˚C (350˚F).
  • We'll be using the same pan for the sauce. If there is much fat left, tip all but 1 tbsp of it out. Add the 1 tbsp of olive oil if not. Heat this on medium heat.
  • Fry the onions for about 5 minutes until soft.
  • Add everything else in and bring to a simmer. Check seasoning.
  • Pour this sauce all over the meatballs and bake in the hot oven for 25-30 minutes, at which point the sauce will be bubbling at the edges.
  • Serve with pasta, bread or rice.
  • Some mozzarella will go very nicely if serving the Baked Pesto Meatballs with pasta or bread.


Calories: 579kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 820mg | Potassium: 791mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2263IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 276mg | Iron: 5mg
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8 thoughts on “Baked Pesto Meatballs (Perfect in sauce or as Canapé)”

  1. Azlin, I love these! And I love your other pesto recipes too, you are so clever! Have subscribe to your blog, Chef!

  2. Marsha Davenport

    I was on your pesto page, and had to come and look at this recipe, as I love meatballs! Well, I have to tell you that I made them last weekend for a party and everybody wanted the recipe. Thank you!

  3. Dawn Esposito

    Wow, this is simply amazing, never thought to make meatballs with pesto. I bet they taste amazing, thank you, I’ll have to give these a go!

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