<div id="fb-root"></div>
<script async defer crossorigin="anonymous" src="https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v17.0&appId=1360880647827568&autoLogAppEvents=1" nonce="nOICdQjC"></script>

Our Hero, Pesto-Turkey Meatball and Flatbread Sammies

Written By Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole On November 4, 2013

pesto turkey meatball 2 copy

Flat bread, meet meatballs.  Ground turkey breast, oft maligned for its tendency to be dry, makes a fabulous meatball when spiked with Italian basil pesto. Moist and flavorful, the pesto adds only good fats, pairing beautifully with the flavor of the turkey. 

Here’s what we’re thinking: A healthy makeover of the meatball hero (you know the one, drenched in red sauce, smothered in mozzarella). Instead? Whole grain flatbread spread with a creamy Greek yogurt sauce, pesto turkey meatballs, topped with a sauce of pan-seared grape tomatoes, fresh garlic and crushed red pepper. A messy over-the-sink indulgence devoid of guilt. 

Our Hero, Pesto-Turkey Meatball and Flatbread Sammies

Makes 4 sandwiches

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, preferably full fat
  • 1 cup basil pesto, fresh or off-the-shelf, divided
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Coarse salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, roasted and slightly crushed, optional
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cleaned and halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 4 wholegrain flatbreads
  • Fresh basil, for serving


Combine yogurt with pesto in a small bowl. Start with a teaspoon of pesto, then add more until intensity of flavor you prefer. (Mixture will become more flavorful as it marinates.) Refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine turkey, 3/4 cup of the remaining pesto, egg, bread crumbs or chia seeds, salt, pepper, and fennel seeds (if using) in a large bowl. Mix with hands, thoroughly but gently; divide into 12 balls. 

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add meatballs, 4 or 5 at a time, browning on all sides. When juices run clear, remove from pan and keep warm. Repeat until all meatballs are cooked. Cover with foil and keep warm.

Wipe out pan and add remaining olive oil. When shimmering, toss in grape tomatoes and saute until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, tossing to combine, cooking for 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper; keep warm until ready to serve.

Warm flatbreads on both sides in a clean skillet over medium-high heat, To build sandwich, spread flatbreads with yogurt-pesto mixture and top with 3 meatballs each. Top with warm grape tomato sauce, fresh basil leaves and serve immediately. 

Diva Confession:  For a trendy pick-me-up for easy entertaining, slightly flatten the meatballs before cooking and serve on miniature pita breads spread with the yogurt sauce. To make the sliders more snack-friendly, whir the grape tomato sauce in the blender before topping. The pesto meatballs and grape tomato sauce are also delicious with healthful, nutty soba noodles. 

We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
<div class="fb-comments" data-href="<?php the_permalink() ?>" data-width="100%" data-numposts="5"></div>
Scott's Newsletter