Pesto pasta, meatballs and perfectly roasted glazed carrots—dinner is served! Featuring 3-ingredient roasted glazed carrots, chicken meatballs and a delicious pesto pasta, weeknight meals just easier and tastier! 

Photograph of three plates filled with carrot top pesto pasta, roasted carrots and chicken meatballsThe best thing about this meal is that it can all be prepped ahead of time. Each component—the carrots, meatballs and pasta—can either completely be made ahead or prepped ahead of time. That’s not all, this meal makes great leftovers for the week ahead as well! 

This recipe features a batch of my baked chicken meatballs (no need to bake them off ahead of time, we will bake them with the carrots) and a batch of my carrot top pesto. However, if you don’t want to make homemade pesto, you can substitute with your favorite pre-made variety—I recommend using refrigerated pesto as opposed to the jarred variety, it’s much fresher. 

Photograph of chicken meatballs in a white bowl with pesto pasta and roasted carrots

Meal prep tips

You can get this pesto pasta and meatball dinner on the table fast! To do so there are a few things to keep in mind/organize. The timeline is the biggest thing.

Up to a week before

  • Make the pesto and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
  • Alternative to the recipe below: you can cook the meatballs fully and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to eat, reheat in oven (decrease temperature to 350-degrees) for 10 minutes. 

1 day before 

  • Prep the meatball mixture and store in a glass bowl or container tightly covered with plastic wrap. 
  • Wash and halve the carrots. 
  • Alternative to the recipe below: you can cook the pasta and toss with the pesto; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator  and reheat when ready to serve. 

30 minutes out

  • Preheat oven to 400-degrees. 
  • Fill a pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. 
  • The carrots and meatballs can roast at the same time in the oven. Since the carrots take a few minutes longer, pop them in before you start rolling your meatballs. 
  • While the carrots and meatballs cook, drop some salt into your pot of boiling water, add your pasta and cook to al dente. Be sure to reserve some cooking water for later! 
  • Toss the cooked pasta with your pesto and serve! 

Photograph of a large serving dish filled with pesto pasta, chicken meatballs and roasted carrots Variations

Personalize this dinner by using your favorite pesto recipe (I’ve got a few for you to choose from!) and roasting whatever vegetables you have on hand. 

You can also use a variety of different pasta shapes! I like to use orecchiette, penne and spaghetti. 

Photograph of chicken meatballs in a white bowl with pesto pasta and roasted carrotsMake sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or comment below if you make this Pesto Pasta with Meatballs.

To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can click the button on any of the photos, or the red button on the side bar or below the recipe. Happy cooking!

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Photograph of three plates filled with carrot top pesto pasta, roasted carrots and chicken meatballs

Pesto Pasta with Meatballs & Roasted Glazed Carrots

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Pesto pasta, meatballs and perfectly roasted glazed carrots—dinner is served! Featuring 3-ingredient roasted glazed carrots, tender baked chicken meatballs, and a delicious pesto pasta, weeknight meals just easier and tastier! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons honey 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound large carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 1 recipe chicken meatballs, unbaked
  • 12 ounces dry Cavatappi pasta
  • 1 recipe carrot top pesto or pesto of choice 

Instructions

Heat oven to 400F with racks set in middle and lowest positions. Coat one baking sheet with nonstick spray and line another with parchment paper. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. 

Whisk honey, oil, pepper and salt together in a large bowl. Add carrots and toss to coat evenly; arrange in a single layer, cut-side down, on nonstick-coated baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to lowest rack in oven and roast until carrots are fork-tender and starting to brown; 30–35 minutes, flipping halfway through. 

Meanwhile, form meatballs, according to recipe instructions, into 1-inch balls and arrange 1-inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to middle rack in oven and bake meatballs until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the centers register 165°F, 10–12 minutes. 

Add a hefty pinch of salt to boiling water, stir in pasta and cook to al dente according to package directions; reserve 1 cup cooking water then drain and transfer pasta back to pot. 

Stir ¾ cup pesto into cooked and drained pasta, adding pasta water by ¼ cup as needed until desired consistency is reached. 

Serve roasted glazed carrots, chicken meatballs and pasta together and enjoy. 



Nutrition

  • Calories: 565
  • Sugar: 12
  • Sodium: 876mg
  • Fat: 22g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 63
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 30g
  • Cholesterol: 86mg

Keywords: Pesto pasta and meatballs, pesto meatballs, roasted glazed carrots

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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