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Pesto Chicken Veggie Meatballs Recipe


A deliciously flavored meatball with extra nutrition for your kids

Pesto Chicken Veggie Meatballs. (Free of the top 8 allergens!) Perfect bite-sized meatballs for dipping or adding to pasta or sandwiches.

I don’t know what it is about tiny food that I love so much. Maybe it’s that it’s adorable. Maybe it’s that it’s delicious. Maybe it’s because I know my children are 97.8% more likely to eat something that’s tiny-sized. Probably that one.

There have been a few strategies we’ve used as a family to help expand our little ones’ palates, and making small or individually-sized portions has been one of the most successful. This Pesto Chicken Veggie Meatballs Recipe is the perfect size for little and grown-up eaters alike.

Pesto Chicken Veggie Meatballs. Perfect bite-sized meatballs for dipping or adding to pasta or sandwiches.

You can certainly serve these atop a steaming pile of pasta (any shape will do) and smothered in your favorite sauce (Alfredo, marinara, pesto–it all works). Our favorite way is to serve them with toothpicks and a dollop of your favorite pizza sauce on the side. This allows our toddlers to explore the new flavors at their own pace. It also helps with our daughter’s visual and tactile texture sensitivity. Letting her “mix” new foods as she’s ready feels much less overwhelming. She also tends to be more willing to try new foods when she has a sense of control.

If your little ones like helping in the kitchen, this is a great way for them to jump in and help! They can help stir the veggies as you chop them, scoop or roll meatballs and transfer them to your baking sheet or mat, drizzle olive oil, or help mix up the sauce while the meatballs bake.

Recipe tips:

  1. If you can’t find ground chicken breast at your local market, you can make your own by pulsing chicken breasts in a food processor fitted with a metal blade until they’re quite smooth and no large pieces remain. Ground turkey or beef would also work in this recipe.
  2. If you need a dairy and/or nut free pesto recipe, our favorite is this great recipe. It swaps raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for the pine nuts. It’s still just as delicious!
Pesto Chicken Veggie Meatballs (GF) - Perfect for parties, potlucks, and game days.


Pesto Chicken Veggie Meatballs

A deliciously flavored meatball with extra nutrition for your kids

3.75 from 71 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: appetizer, chicken, dairy free, gluten-free, meatballs, pesto, Veggies, zucchini
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 166kcal


  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 1/2 medium bell pepper, red
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup zucchini
  • 3 tablespoon pesto
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, plain
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Start by preparing the vegetable mixture:
  • Gently pat the zucchini dry with a paper towel or clean dish towel (no need to squeeze all the liquid out of it, just pat off some of the extra moisture). Add to a large bowl with the finely minced carrot and bell pepper. Add in the pesto, bread crumbs, and salt and stir to combine.
  • Fold in the ground chicken breast using your hands or a large fork, and toss together the chicken and vegetable mixture until it’s well-combined. Try not to over-work the mixture.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil or a slipat and drizzle with oil.
  • Using a 1″ scoop or a Tablespoon, make small (1-1 1/2″) meatballs and place them on the baking sheet. (you can also just use your hands to roll them out)
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. For a bit of browning, broil the meatballs an additional 1-3 minutes. If browning isn’t important, continue baking meatballs another 2-3 minutes, or till cooked through.
  • Serve with your favorite sauce, pasta, or on a sandwich. Enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Mention @SuperHealthyKids or tag #SuperHealthyKids!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 330mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g
Pesto Chicken Veggie Meatball Pin | Healthy Ideas & Recipes for Kids

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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Recipe Rating


I found it difficult to fold the whole zucchini into the minced chicken. Are you supposed to grate it? Might want to specify that. What’s a “slipat”? Maybe an editor could help you polish it up.

Justin – Yes, the zucchini is grated. Somehow that got missed in the directions. Thanks for the clear-up. As for the silpat, you’ll see a link and photo to one under the recipe. It’s a silicone baking mat. Hope that helps!

This was great! I’ve been having trouble getting my 14 month old to eat much meat, but he gobbled this up! I omitted the pepper because I haven’t introduced that yet. I also just tossed the carrot in the food processor as well as Chicken breast. Super simple! Thanks!

Hi I made these they were lovely only one thing I would like help with is…after cooking they were a little dry inside how could I make them more moist

This is the first recipe I have tried from this site…it was a hit! I grated the carrot along with the zucchini, the peppers have a slight crunch to them, I think the chopped carrott would have been a little too crunchy for my liking. I also used ground turkey cause it’s what I had on hand. Delish, and I will def make it again.

I am so confused…ok, so the comments say raw meat, but that isn’t specified anywhere. Are we also using raw veggies? It sounds like the zucchini is supposed to be chopped and cooked? What about the carrots and peppers? Would love to try this weekend. Please clarify.

My 10 month old loved these!!! I didn’t have zucchini so I added extra carrot and 1 stick of celery. I also added 1 egg yolk, bread crumbs, and mozzarella cheese and they stuck together well and were very moist!

Hi – I don’t want to sound alarmist, but I would not recommend any parent of a toddler serve these with toothpicks as is suggested in the directions. These can be swallowed by very young children and are therefore dangerous. You should really rethink and alter the serving suggestions. The recipe itself sounds great but I would not serve these with toothpicks unless the children were 4 and up!

Made them today they are fabulous! We will see at dinner if my son will eat them. He helped with the veggies, I cute them up and he put them in the bowl. Even if he likes them or not I will made again for myself. Great to freeze and eat later too!!

These were really good! Better than I even thought they would be! Whole family loved them. I put them in sauce and served them over pasta. I made them exactly as the recipe states and they were great! Might add some onion next time though.

Just wanted to let people know my experience. Followed the recipe as best as I could understand it, but meatball stuff ended up way too mushy. I’ll call that first experiment sloppy joe medallions. I then proceeded to add bread crumbs to the rest of the batch, until the consistency seemed right. Second batch ended up way better and actually resembled meatballs.

4 stars
These taste good but how are you supposed to know when the chicken is cooked? I baked mine a lot longer than suggested because I could not tell.

5 stars
Made the Chicken Pesto Meatballs – yummy & my 1 year old grandson ate them right up! Substituted onion for red pepper and used ground turkey instead. Also, I sautéed carrots, zucchini & onion first, then put in my food processor to make chop up finely. Made little meatballs for him and big meatballs for the adults!! Served with rotini pasta and homemade spaghetti sauce.

Hi Julie! Yup, these freeze well. You can put them right in the oven from frozen to warm them back up.

4 stars
I used turkey mince and red pesto (and the last scrapings of a jar of green pesto) and cut the peppers (she’s not a fan)
My 17month old gobbled them!
I did have to give them 20 mins and bigger ones still needed a little longer but otherwise very successful

5 stars
I made these last night and bub went for it with so much gusto! It was so yum that hubby and I also had it for dinner! Perfect recipe, I added spring onions to the mixture for extra flavour, but other than that it was delicious!

5 stars
My one year old daughter and I love this recipe. I love it because it has both protein and veggies so I know my daughter is getting a nutritious meal. However, I found that the recommended baking time is leaves the meatballs way under some. I had to cook them and additional ten minutes and turn them over half way through so one side wasn’t overdone. So I think the recommended cook time should be between 20-22 minutes turning over halfway. You are making chicken here and if its undercooked you run the risk of salmonella poisoning.

5 stars
My 4 year old daughter and 16 month old son love these. They are delicious! I’m not sure why there is so much confusion on how to make these…

4 stars
This recipe was delicious, but I think the carrots should be sauted a bit as they still had a crunch. Some modifications I used to make it dairy-free and gluten-free – almond meal instead of bread crumbs and non dairy pesto made using nutritional yeast instead of cheese. If you make the balls the size recommended in the recipe they are done after 13 min (see directions about it being 10 min + time for broiling or staying in over a few more minutes). These are delicious and will make them again and again.

Super yummy – my husband, 1 year old son, and I all enjoyed these over whole wheat fusilli with pasta sauce! Not sure what I did, but this made way more than 12-1 inch meatballs for me. Also agree that they need to be cooked longer than the recommended time. But huge winner in our house for sure! Will be making again 🙂

1 star
This recipe was a failure. The dryness of the chicken (because it’s white meat) really made it that my kids didn’t like them at all. I made sure to not overcook them. Maybe I will try with brown meat next time…

5 stars
My kids love these. I’ve been making them for 2 years now. I make a big batch and freeze them. Nice to have these on hand because I know my kids will devour them!

How are these dairy free with breadcrumbs? Every breadcrumb I have found contains milk. I’m substituting oatmeal for the breadcrumbs, hope it works