Pesto Chicken Meatballs Over Lemon Arugula


  • For the meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko (if you can’t find whole wheat, regular is fine)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the pesto:
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed parsley
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • For the arugula salad:
  • 5 cups loosely packed baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all of your meatball ingredients together (chicken, panko, egg, salt) until just combined
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and form your meatballs. Using about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture for each ball, roll the meat in between your palms to form the balls and place them on your parchment paper
  4. Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes, remove from oven, turn them over, and bake for another 5 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, make your pesto
  6. In a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, cilantro, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper
  7. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped
  8. With the food processor running, drizzle in your olive oil
  9. Remove the lid, scrape down the sides, and place the lid back on
  10. Turn the food processor back on and add water, one tablespoon at a time (scraping down the sides in between each tablespoon), until you get the consistency of pesto that you desire. It will most likely be between 2 and 4 tablespoons of water (maybe a little more, maybe a little less – it really depends on what you like)
  11. Season your pesto to taste with salt and pepper
  12. Let your pesto sit in the fridge until everything is ready
  13. For your arugula salad, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing (lemon, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste) and set aside until ready to serve
  14. When the meatballs are done baking, remove them from the oven and toss together in a bowl with all of your pesto until they are all evenly coated
  15. To serve, start with about 1 cup of arugula, dressed to your preference, and top with about three pesto coated meatballs