Sorrel Pesto Pasta with Salmon Meatballs

Happy Friday! I have a not-Mexican inspired recipe today for your Cinco de Mayo, cause I'm a rebel like that.

Sorrel Pesto Pasta with Salmon Meatballs

Remember how I was talking about the produce that only appears for a few weeks every year to remind me that seasons are still a thing?

Well, sorrel isn’t quite as elusive as some other foods, but it does seem to be easier to find certain months out of the year, and right now we seem to be in the sweet spot, so I’m trying to use it up while I can buy it. Also, sorrel can be a little bitter, so the younger, earlier leaves tend to have more of the lemony essence I love it for. 

That lemony zing pairs excellently with a fatty fish like salmon, and here, I’ve made meatballs that cannot be simpler, using already cooked, canned sockeye salmon as a starting point, mostly for convenience and price. There’s no debating at the fish counter necessary here, and no waiting for your frozen filet to thaw*.

*If you are worried about sustainability or ethical sourcing, seek out Alaskan wild pink or sockeye salmon.

The salmon gets mixed up with your basic meatball binders of egg and breadcrumbs, along with shallot and garlic and a heap of dill, then baked and perched on top of a mound of whole wheat (so virtuous!) pasta tossed with a light, herby pesto. 

I'm really into my food shouting the season at me these days, and this entire green situation is very vocally "Spring" isn't it?

For the pesto, I’ve combined the above mentioned sorrel with dill for extra zippy, salmon-friendly fun, and kale for the color and it’s bulk. You blend it up with some olive oil and lemon and that’s it! This lighter version has no expensive nuts or cheese, and the focus stays on the bright, green herbs.

But it’s ok, if this all seems too healthy, you can drizzle a little lemony creme fraiche on top of the whole mess like I did, and feel perfectly fine about it.

Salmon Meatballs & Pasta

Sorrel Pesto Pasta with Salmon Meatballs

For the pesto: (adapted from Everything I Want to Eat)

  • 1 cup kale, stemmed and torn into pieces
  • 1 cup sorrel leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1/2 cup dill, stemmed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • salt to taste

For the Meatballs: serves 4

  • two 6 oz cans salmon, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tbs dill, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced

For serving:

  • whole wheat pasta 
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche (optional)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
  1. In a blender or food processor, add the kale, herbs, lemon juice and olive oil, and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
  2. Make the meatballs: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  3. Mix all ingredients until well combined then let chill for at least 10 minutes. Using a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure, scoop balls of the mixture onto the baking sheet. Press and form further into balls if needed. Bake 10-15 minutes, until set and crisping on the outside.
  4. To serve: Make desired amount of pasta according to package directions, then toss with the pesto. Top with salmon and if using, mix the creme fraiche with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt then drizzle on top.