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March 19, 2020


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Pizza Meatballs with Pesto Pasta

We could all use a little comfort (and health) during this challenging time and where better to find solace than with a delicious, healthy meal. Jill's recipe will dish up both comfort and flavor.

So, create your own personal retreat by filling your home with great tunes and scented aromas and cozy up to comfort.

Pizza Meatballs with Basil Pesto Pasta
The aroma of this dish will call people to the kitchen and the taste will make them smile. We could all use a smile. :) 

*Substitute spices with others, such as Italian seasoning for the meatballs and fresh spinach for the pesto. 

Ingredients: (makes 54 meatballs – serves 6 to 12 entrées)

1 – 1 pound Ground Wild Idea Buffalo Meat
1½ – cup pizza sauce
1 - teaspoon oregano
1 – teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
½ - teaspoon thyme
1 - teaspoon black pepper
½ - teaspoon salt
½ - teaspoon garlic powder
2 - tablespoons olive oil, plus more for rolling meat balls
1 – cup crushed seasoned bread stuffing (*Optional - if you leave out, reduce pizza sauce to 1 cup)
Pasta of your choice - cooked al dente
Basil Pesto *recipe below or purchased


  • Mix all ingredients other than the meat together.
  • Crumble in the ground buffalo meat and mix until well incorporated.
  • Rub your hands with olive oil to roll the meat balls and place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake at 425°in a preheated oven, on the top rack for about 7 minutes.
  • Prepare pasta per directions, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water. Do not rinse the pasta.
  • Pour the reserved pasta water back in the pot and add the pasta and desired amount of pesto. Toss to incorporate and heat through.
  • Place desired amount of pasta on plate and top pasta with 4 to 6 meatballs.

Basil Pesto
*I am not a pine nut fan, but if you are, add ¼ cup to ingredients.


2 - cups fresh basil leaves, packed
2 - cups shredded parmesan cheese
3 - garlic cloves, chopped
1 - teaspoon salt
1 - teaspoon pepper (I like a little more)
2 - tablespoon. lemon juice
1 - cup olive oil

Preparation: Place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate.

Photo Credit: Jill O'Brien


Liz Aicher

March 19, 2020

This meatball recipe looks a lot like mine, altho I use chopped garlic, sweet peppers, onion, eggs and forget the pizza sauce! I take 4-6 meatballs into the wilderness with me for part of my lunch. Very satisfying! I am going to try the pesto sauce – it looks delish! Thanks, Jill, for all your good recipes featuring Wild Idea Buffalo!


March 19, 2020

This looks great! As I’m “sheltering in place” for the duration, but love to cook and bake (and can take it next door to my fire chief neighbor for his troops), I’m thinking I may try this as a meat loaf. I’m not big on meatballs. But meatloaf and pesto (WITH pinenuts; pesto is a staple here!) or sauteed spinach sounds terrific!

Jill, I love your practice of combining all spices first. I use that tip now for all my chilis and it makes a huge difference. Combining these spices and then adding the ground bison will make Grandma’s Meat Loaf rise to the 21st century!

Y’all stay safe up there!

Paula Wahl

March 27, 2020

Fantastic recipe! We used zucchini noodles.

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