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Caprese Chicken Meatball Skewers with Spinach Almond Pesto


When we were on the Amalfi Coast last year, one of the best food memories by far was eating the fresh mozzarella that is so famous in that area of Italy. It’s soft and creamy and was on every pizza we ordered. That’s the kind of mozzarella cheese you want to use. Years ago, you were out of luck if you wanted anything close to that kind of cheese at home. But now we have Galbani® Mozzarella Fresca™ in the grocery stores and it’s what I use when I need fresh mozzarella.

Galbani Mozzarella Fresca is made right here in the United States and is made in the traditional fior di latte method that they use in Italy. This mozzarella is soft, moist and melts perfectly on top of pizza. It was listed by the editors of Saveur Magazine as one of their favorite fresh mozzarellas. I use it in this delicious Two Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta recipe. I use it in my pizza-making classes. And, of course, I use it for the traditional Caprese salads in the summer. They have two types of fresh mozzarella: in tubs, packed in water and vacuum sealed without water. The kind in water is softer and the kind that is vacuum-sealed is a little firmer.

Galbani is hosting a Caprese Challenge and was nice enough to invite me to participate. It wasn’t hard to say yes because I’ve been using Galbani Mozzarella Fresca for a long time now. They sent me a wonderful case of all kinds of fresh mozzarella cheeses. Take a look at the extensive line of fresh mozzarella they have. I love the Perline, which my local store just started carrying a while back. If you don’t know where to buy Galbani Mozzarella Fresca, you can go to their site and use their store locator to find a grocery store near you that has it.

Plate from Fifty One and a Half

The Caprese Challenge involved creating a recipe using their Mozzarella Fresca. Readers can vote on my recipe at and can win weekly prizes and then have a chance to win a grand prize of $500! The contest runs from July 1 through August 9. I hope you pop over to their site and vote and give yourself a chance to win. The more times you vote, the more times you have a chance to win. On August 13, Galbani will announce the $500 winner.

So the next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up some Galbani Mozzarella Fresca. Buy the Bocconcini, slice it on a plate, drizzle a little good olive oil over it, a little coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper and take a bite. Heaven!

Caprese Chicken Meatball Skewers with Spinach Almond Pesto



For a printable recipe click here

Makes 26 skewers

I always have a tube of Amore tomato paste in my fridge for recipes that call for just a little tomato paste, like this one.


For the Chicken Meatballs:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • ½ cup finely diced onion

  • 1 large clove garlic, grated

  • 1 pound ground chicken

  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley


For the Spinach Almond Pesto:

  • 1 ounce hard cheese, like Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano

  • 1 ounce raw (unsalted, unroasted) almonds

  • 2 ounces fresh spinach

  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

  • ⅛ teaspoon coarse black pepper

  • a pinch of red chili pepper

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


For the Assembly:

  • 7 red cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 6 yellow cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 26 fresh basil leaves

  • 1 tub of Galbani® Mozzarella Fresca™ Ciliegine (about 26 pieces)


Baking the meatballs in the oven is easier and less messy than frying them


Preheat oven to 375º F and line a large baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and gently saute the onion for about 7 minutes, until soft. Add the grated garlic and saute for about a minute more. Transfer to a medium sized bowl and allow to cool.

Add the ground chicken to the onion mixture, along with the tomato paste, sea salt, pepper, oregano and fresh parsley. Mix gently but thoroughly, using your hands. Do not overmix. Form the meatball mixture into 26 small meatballs, about a tablespoon each. Place on baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking, make the pesto. In a food processor, grind the hard cheese and almonds until fine. Add the spinach, salt, and both peppers and process until spinach is ground. Scrape down with a spatula if you need to. Add the olive oil slowly through the feed tube and process until smooth.

When the meatballs are finished, assemble the skewers, with the meatballs on the bottom. Serve with the pesto.


Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Galbani and I was compensated for my time.


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Reader Comments (23)

I'm having a bbq this weekend and this recipe looks perfect for casual dining. Can't wait to try it!

What a great appetizer recipe.Thanks for sharing it.

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJovina Coughlin

I would like to buy their product but their website is impossible to navigate. Could not find a spot to search for a store.

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGloria

These are so pretty!! Great appetizer idea!

To all of you fellow foodies and followers of this fabulous blog. YEAH I'M A TALKIN' TO YOU! (Imagine that in the voice of Robert DeNiro or Joe Pesci- hand gestures optional) It took just seconds to vote on the website as a very small and quick way to thank Elaine for her many inspiring blog posts. Join in!! Capisce?

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

totally agree with you about galbani, it is the best commercial brand i have tasted. wonderful for endless caprese salads and caprese panini.

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternancy

Will definitely vote for Elaine. Everything I have made with her recipes has been fabulous! Also was unable to find where I could buy this on their web site. I will try again, I admit that I am not the most computer savvy person!

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMollycat

Ladies, go to the very bottom of the page and you will see "product finder" click and then put your zip code or nearest one and it will bring up a list of stores where you can find the products.

July 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRita

From The Italian Dish:

Gloria: In the third paragraph of the post, there is a link for a store locator. Just put your zip code in and select the product you are looking for. Hope this helps.

July 3, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

As always these look totally amazing! A question: in your instructions for the pesto you say to process the almonds with fresh mozzarella... do you mean parm instead? Although now I'm curious what a fresh cheese pesto would be like!

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCamille

From The Italian Dish:

Camille: Thanks for pointing that out! I fixed it. I did mean to say that you grate the hard cheese to make the pesto.

July 4, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Really a great appetizer recipe. Thanks for sharing it.

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjacobwaugh

Just wondering how these would fair in transporting? Would they be good cold? I need to take an appetizer next weekend an hour away from my house, but it must be 'ready to eat' upon arrival, no heating etc. available.

July 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

From The Italian Dish:

Katie: These are best at room temperature anyway so taking them cold and then letting them sit out just a little bit would be fine. I'm not a fan of cold tomatoes, so I would probably keep the tomatoes separate and then assemble them right before serving.

July 8, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Love your blog and all your wonderful recipes!


July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJody@Rooted in Thyme

Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog and adore your site. I've looked at nearly every recipe here.

I saw you asked on your recipe index page for readers to notify you if any links were broken. The links to the eclairs and stuffed peppers both don't work. Just letting you know :)

July 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Who said meatballs are to heavy for a summer meal?? This looks like a perfect appetizer for a hot summer day!


July 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAurora Importing

I made this dish to take to a BBQ and it was such a big hit that I made it again for a dinner party that I was having. Great recipies Thanks!

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

I would love these! Where did you find the short skewers, Elaine?

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

From The Italian Dish:

Claudia: I got the skewers at World Market but I know you can get them other places.

August 18, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Delicious and so pretty! I used three different color cherry tomatoes and didn't have ground chicken so I used beef and they were still splendid! The pesto could be eaten by the spoonful......thanks for another great recipe!

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDebi

I made this dish to take to a BBQ and it was such a big hit that I made it again for a dinner party that I was having. Great recipies Thanks!

January 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBess Adams

From The Italian Dish:

Bess: Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

January 10, 2017 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

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