Paleo Pesto Meatballs

Pesto and I, we have a thing. When the word pesto is on a menu, my eyes jump straight to it. Sort of like a metal detector... but for basil. Just another reason to love this time of year! Pesto on everything! 

I'm not sure when this vision of pesto on meatballs came to me. It's a totally simply idea, but for some reason I let the idea roll around in my head for weeks before I actually broke down and tried it out. 

The verdict? Pesto never fails. Even in a 20-minute meal, pesto feels and tastes glamorous. 

In my recent reader survey, I asked what you guys wanted to see more of around here. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond! I'll do my best to share more of what you want. First up: more stove-top dinners. These Pesto Meatballs aren't just a stove-top dinner--they're one of the simplest stove-top dinners I've shared to date. Chances are, you have the ingredients already. But simple doesn't mean boring... it's amazing what a little basil can do to make something taste so good! 

While I like just eating these next to a salad, they're also great with spiralized zucchini "spaghetti". Add some extra pesto and swirl it into the zoodles for good measure. 

Paleo Pesto Meatballs

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free   |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

Serve them over zoodles or just eat them with a fork, Pesto Meatballs are simple but tasty.

Serves: 4   |    Total Time:


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2/3 ounce basil leaves
  • 5 walnut halves
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast


  1. Place beef in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mince 1 garlic clove and add that to the bowl. Mash the seasoning into the meat and then shape the beef into meatballs, 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter.
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. (If you are using a lean meat, add some coconut oil to the pan now. I use 80/20 for this recipe and need no additional fat in the pan for cooking).Place the meatballs in the pan so that they have about 1 inch in-between (cook them in 2 batches if necessary). After 5 minutes, flip the meatballs over. They should be browned on the bottom. Cook them on the other side for 5 more minutes, with the lid on, until cooked through.
  3. While the meatballs cook, prepare the pesto. Place the basil, remaining garlic cloves, walnuts, nutritional yeast, and olive oil in a blender (in that order). Blend on medium, scraping the sides of the blender with a spatula as necessary, until pesto sauce has formed a consistent but corse texture.
  4. Scoop pesto into pan with meatballs. Use a spatula to move meatballs around until they are coated in pesto. Serve hot.