Pesto-Parmesan meatballs recipe

Hey guys! Lucky for you, Mariel and Mary Anne from the fabulous budget-cooking blog Feast On the Cheap are sharing a delicious meatball recipe with you today. I was especially excited when Mariel told me she would be sharing a meat recipe. As you may have noticed, my blog is a little lacking in this area. This particular recipe looks fabulous, don’t you agree? I’m super excited to try it myself. A big thanks to these two talented ladies for guest posting today. I hope you enjoy!


Mariel here from Feast on the Cheap. My mom and I are so thrilled to be guest posting on Cheap Recipe Blog. We are big fans of Haley’s budget-conscious philosophy and even bigger fans of her incredibly humbling food photography. Hopefully we can do her proud with this dish!

When my one-year-old son first started eating table food, I was still at a place in my post-partum “adventure” where cooking felt a bit Sisyphean. I’d browse inspiring recipes, print them out, buy all the ingredients and then they’d sit untouched in the fridge. I tended to rely heavily on Whole Foods’ prepared and packaged meals, justifying the sky-high price tag by telling myself it was the next best thing to home-cooking.

One of my son’s favorite meals was spaghetti with pesto-Parmesan chicken meatballs from their poultry department. But we ran through the small package pretty quickly and although delicious, they were a lot saltier than I’d like for my little one.

Once I got back into the kitchen in earnest, this was one of the first things I decided to recreate.

Since we don’t eat much red meat and because my guy is now drinking cow’s milk, which is lower in iron than formula, I went with beef instead of chicken and snuck in some spinach.

Pesto-Parmesan meatballs recipe

These are absolutely heavenly, just like “mama” might make and they’re a total snap to prepare. They take all of five minutes of actual hands-on time, which feels miraculous when that’s about all the time you have to get dinner ready.

More Great Meatball Recipes

Pesto-Parmesan meatballs recipe

Pesto-Parmesan Meatballs

Yield: 10-12 racquetball-sized meatballs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

The grand total for this recipe assuming a “well-stocked” kitchen: $14.51 Cost per meatball: $1.20.


  • 1 1/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
  • A pinch of salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with Pam or cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly with your (clean) hands. Roll the meatball mixture into racquetball-size balls (somewhere between a golf ball and a tennis ball). Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1-2 inches apart.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes then flip and bake for another 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve alone or atop spaghetti with marinara.