Asiago Spinach Chicken Meatballs

I love taking some of my favorite family dishes and putting a big old twist on them. One of the best dishes my Dad makes is his basil pesto sauce with sausage over rigatoni, I love it so much. This recipe is the same basic idea, only with a few easy substitutions to make it just a little more lean and nutritious!  Instead of sausage I made the most incredible asiago spinach chicken meatballs. They got paired with a delectable kale walnut pesto and put over quinoa fusilli. Oh my goodness it was pure Italian heaven!

The amazing mixture for the asiago spinach chicken meatballs all put together.
I made the mixture for the asiago spinach chicken meatballs first. It was a simple combination of ground chicken, chopped baby spinach, lots of asiago cheese, breadcrumbs and seasoning. I dove in with my clean hands to mix it all together well.
The asiago spinach chicken meatballs ready for the oven.
I just took small handfuls of that mixture about the size of my palm, rolled them into little chicken meatballs and got them onto a lined baking sheet. The asiago spinach chicken meatballs went into the oven for 20 minutes to bake until they were cooked through and slightly crisp on the outside. With the size that I made mine I ended up with 14 of them. Well, really in the end it was twelve by the time I served it since I taste tested two when they were done! They were that good, I was so excited about them.
The gorgeous kale walnut pesto sauce for the chicken meatballs.
While the asiago chicken meatballs baked, I made the gorgeous kale walnut pesto. It was a cinch to put together right in my food processor. I pulsed all of the ingredients together into one glorious and gorgeously green sauce.
The chicken meatballs all put together with the pesto pasta into one amazing dish.
My timing was perfect because the meatballs, sauce and the gluten free quinoa fusilli I used were done at the same time. I just tossed those three components together thoroughly in the pot and dinner was done!

I can’t even tell you how happy this dish made me. The asiago spinach chicken meatballs were so incredibly tender, moist and full of flavor. With the creamy pesto sauce and tender pasta it was a complete home run. The best part here was that I got it on the table in just about 30 minutes! Oh, and if you have little ones in your house that are morally opposed to leafy greens this is a fantastic and delicious way to sneak them in. Mangia and enjoy, the handy printable is just below!

Asiago Spinach Chicken Meatballs with Kale Walnut Pesto over Quinoa Fusilli
Asiago Spinach Chicken Meatballs with Kale Walnut Pesto over Quinoa Fusilli

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5 from 1 vote
Asiago Spinach Chicken Meatballs with Kale Walnut Pesto over Quinoa Fusilli
Asiago Spinach Chicken Meatballs
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Author: Jeanie and Lulu's Kitchen
Ingredients
FOR THE MEATBALLS
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 3/4 packed cup baby spinach leaves finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 pinches truffle sea salt
  • 1 dash worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash Sriracha
  • 1 whole egg
FOR THE PASTA
  • 4 packed cups kale leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated asiago cheese
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 pinch truffle sea salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus additional for finishing
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 pound short dry pasta like fusilli
Instructions
  1. First, make the meatballs. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large mixing bowl combine the ground chicken, spinach, asiago cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha and the egg. Give it a thorough mix together with your hands.
  2. Take small handfuls of the mixture about the size of your palm and roll them into balls, then get them onto the prepared baking sheet. Get the meatballs into the oven to bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through and slightly crisp on the outside.
  3. While the meatballs bake, prepare the pasta and pesto sauce. Get a large pot of salted water onto the stove and bring it to a boil. When it is boiling pour the pasta in and let it cook until just tender, about 8 minutes.
  4. While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, quickly make the easy pesto sauce. Get out the food processor, and in the bowl combine the kale, garlic, asiago cheese, walnuts, salt, olive oil and milk. Run the processor until the mixture is a creamy, paste like sauce.
  5. The meatballs should be done by this point, take them out and let them rest a minute. The pasta should also be perfectly done at this point. Before you drain it, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and set it aside.
  6. Drain the pasta and get it back into the pot it cooked it. Spoon the pesto sauce all over it. Then add the meatballs and reserved cooking water to the pot and toss it all together. Finish the dish with a big additional drizzle of olive oil.
  7. Scoop the pasta and meatballs into big bowls and serve immediately. Mangia and enjoy!

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