We are giving you an amazing stove to oven to table pasta bake recipe today. When ground turkey is cooked in a deliciously seasoned tomato sauce with lots of veggies and becomes gooey, cheesy and meaty, all enveloped in your favorite pasta… This Ground Turkey Pasta Bake happens!!
Try this delicious ground turkey recipe for your every day weeknight dinner and see how everyone digs in. Make this pasta bake and feed the crowd, or re-purpose it for several meals.
They will all ask for it again and again…
Lately, we have been discovering that when ground turkey is cooked right with ample seasonings and flavor enhancers, all the meals turn out absolutely finger licking delicious. Our Ground Turkey Tacos and Ground Turkey Stir Fry prove that.
This lean meat doesn’t need to be all dried out and flavorless. You can create some wonderful healthy meals for your family with it.
Check out our Ground Turkey Recipes collection and get inspired for lots of great dinner ideas.
You Will Love This One Skillet Ground Turkey Pasta Bake Because…
- This ground turkey casserole is made with lean meat, which is a much healthier choice than other ground meats. It has great hidden veggie power from mushrooms and spinach.
- It’s a very filling, wholesome, one pot casserole meal that feeds a large crowd. In one skillet, you have carbs, proteins and veggies cooked together. Well balanced meal out of common pantry staple ingredients.
- It’s kid friendly comfort food loved by whole family.
- Quick hands on cooking time and the rest of the work is done by your trusty oven.
- It can be prepared ahead of time, and freezes wonderfully for future meals.
- It’s customizable to whatever other substitutions you have on hand, which we are discussing later in the post.
Ground Turkey Pasta Bake Ingredients
- Ground Turkey – We used 93% lean ground turkey meat. Feel free to use any available.
- Pasta – Today we went with penne pasta. But you can use any pasta that holds the meaty sauce well. Think rigatoni, shells, rotini, fusilli or even large macaroni.
- Veggies – Onion, mushrooms, spinach.
- Cheese – Mozzarella to get the gooeyness going.
- Tomato sauce – We like tomato sauce for speedier meat sauce, compared to diced tomatoes.
- Seasonings – Italian seasoning (you can add separate seasonings like oregano, thyme and basil instead), red chili flakes, salt and pepper, fresh parsley.
- Garlic – Such a great flavor booster for any meat sauce.
- Olive oil
How to Make the BEST Ground Turkey Pasta Bake
1. Boil pasta: Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in pasta and cook it al dente according to the package instructions, about 9-10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of past water for later use.
2. Make ground turkey meat sauce: While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat (we used oven proofed cast iron). Sauté onion and mushrooms for 5-6 minutes. Add in garlic, Italian seasoning, red chili flakes, salt and pepper and cook for a minute. Add in Ground turkey and cook for 6-7 minutes, until its no longer raw. Add in tomato sauce along with fresh parsley and cook for 7-8 minutes. Add spinach and cook till wilted. Add reserved pasta water and stir well.
3. Assemble and bake: Add in cooked pasta and one cup of mozzarella cheese, combine well. Spread the rest of the mozzarella cheese all over the pasta and bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starts bubbling.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Cooking pasta al dente (meaning firm and not fully cooked) is important, as it will continue cooking in the oven. This is to avoid mushy, overcooked pasta in the end. At the same time, DO NOT forget to reserve the pasta water to add later to the meat sauce. This will keep your meat sauce saucier and will not dry out the pasta bake.
- Use a cast iron skillet for this recipe, so it can go from stovetop to oven. Less pots means less clean up later.
- Use a pasta shape that holds the meaty ground turkey sauce beautifully in every bite. Thinks larger pastas with crevices and holes.
- Add ample seasonings and cook the ground turkey meat sauce for a little longer to develop all the good flavors.
Turkey Pasta Bake Variations
- You can substitute ground turkey with ground beef, ground chicken, ground pork or even ground sausage. With this pasta bake recipe, every time it would turn into one awesome meal.
- You can also add precooked meatballs or shredded rotisserie chicken for a quicker bake.
- Use kale or Swiss chard instead of spinach. Add other veggies like broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers or carrots.
- Play with cheeses. Use cheddar, parmesan or a mix of both instead of mozzarella.
- Don’t want to heat up the oven? No problem. Simply mix in the cheese, cover the skillet and cook until cheese is melted.
- Looking for a lighter option? Use whole wheat pasta and half the amount of cheese.
- Want to make it creamier? Add a dash of cream to the sauce before adding the pasta.
- For lazy days, use jarred marinara sauce to make the ground meat sauce.
Storing and Re-heating
Allow the ground turkey pasta bake to cool to room temperature. You can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 3-4 days.
Simply reheat it in the microwave, covered, until warmed through out. You can also reheat it on stove top by adding a splash of water.
This ground turkey casserole also freezes well, so makes a great meal prep option. I like to break leftovers into individual portions, wrap in cling wrap, put the wrapped portions into ziploc bags, and freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
There you go, now you know what to cook with ground turkey. Buy plenty of this lean ground meat and start cooking one delicious meal after another.
Make this super cozy, comfort foodie pasta bake with your ground turkey, and fall in love with this great lean meat, like us.
Ground Turkey Pasta Bake, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 8oz penne pasta
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 8oz mushrooms, sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1.5 lbs ground turkey
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 28oz tomato sauce
- 5oz spinach
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Pre heat oven to 350°F.
- Cook pasta al dente in salted water according to the instructions on the packet. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water.
- While pasta is cooking, heat oil in an oven safe skillet and sauté onion and mushrooms for 5-6 minutes. Add in garlic, Italian. seasoning, red chili flakes, salt and pepper, cook for a minute.
- Add in ground turkey and cook for 6-7 minutes, until it is no longer raw.
- Add tomato sauce along with fresh parsley, cook for 7-8 minutes.
- Add spinach and cook till wilted, then stir in reserved pasta water. Add pasta and one cup of mozzarella cheese, combine well. Spread remaining mozzarella cheese on top. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
- Let it rest for 10 minutes, then serve.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 410Total Fat 24gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 104mgSodium 815mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 4gSugar 6gProtein 31g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Never miss a recipe!
Join the GypsyPlate mailing list and get easy dinner recipes right in your mailbox. From homestyle comfort food to exotic dishes from around the world.