This cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta is made with penne pasta and ground meat cooked with onions and a mouthwatering tomato-based sauce. It’s a quick and easy comfort food that makes a great weeknight meal for the entire family with its perfect balance of simplicity and cheesy flavor in every bite.
Are you looking for a new weeknight favorite??! You’ve come to the right place!
This creamy ground turkey pasta checks off all my boxes for a perfect weeknight meal. It’s quick to make with simple ingredients and provides comfort and flavor in every bite.
This one-pot wonder is made with a delicious blend of ground turkey, savory seasonings, and a creamy tomato sauce that is out-of-this-world delicious. It’s a time-saver on busy weeknights and satisfies those cravings for a cozy and flavorful dinner like this spicy Italian sausage pasta and creamy Cajun chicken orzo do.
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Ground Turkey Pasta:
Cream of Tomato Soup: This, along with diced tomatoes, the soup forms the base of the creamy sauce. It provides a rich tomato flavor and wonderful texture.
Cheese: Shredded mozzarella cheese melts over the top, creating a gooey cheesy layer that adds an incredibly delicious and comforting touch. Feel free to use your favorite cheese
HOW TO MAKE GROUND TURKEY PASTA: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add diced onion and ground turkey. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano
Step 2: When the ground turkey is cooked through and no longer pink, add the cream of tomato soup, diced tomatoes, and half of the cheese.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
Step 3: Add the half and half and stir to combine.
Step 4: Add cooked pasta to the skillet and stir well until the pasta is well incorporated into the sauce.
Step 5: Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and allow it to melt for a few minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or basil and serve immediately.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- Use a potato masher. When cooking and breaking up the meat, switch to a potato masher when it is halfway done. It helps to really break up the meat and make it fine.
- Brown the meat. A great way to amp up the flavor in this easy dinner is to let the meat brown as it cooks. Don’t stir it too frequently to give it time to brown and create flavor.
- Don’t overcook the pasta. For the best flavor, add al dente pasta to the meat sauce to prevent it from becoming mushy. Al dente means slightly firm. A good rule of thumb is to cook it about a minute less than the package instructions. The pasta will continue to cook when you add it to the creamy tomato sauce.
Taste and adjust as you go. Regularly taste the sauce as it simmers and adjust the seasonings gradually to achieve the desired taste.
STORAGE & REHEATING
- Storage: Leftover creamy ground turkey pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Reheating: To reheat a single serving, transfer it to a microwave-safe dish and heat in 30-second intervals until heated through. Or you can reheat on stovetop in a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add a splash of water or half and half to maintain creaminess and prevent it from burning on the bottom. Stir frequently until heated through.
- Freezing: You can freeze this ground turkey pasta bake for longer storage. Place it in a freezer-safe container and seal it tightly to prevent freezer burn. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat per the instructions above.
Additions and Substitutions
- Ground meat: Swap the lean ground turkey with another type of meat like ground beef or ground chicken. You can even use ground sausage to give it even more flavor.
- Seasonings: This easy ground turkey recipe has very basic seasonings but you can jazz this dish up with Italian seasoning, onion powder, or red pepper flakes for a kick of heat.
- No half and half? Use heavy cream and combine it with chicken stock or water to thin it out a bit. You can also use whole milk in a pinch and just let the sauce cook and thicken a bit.
- Add veggies: Consider adding extra veggies like green beans, bell peppers, sliced mushrooms, spinach, or zucchini. Saute them with the onions and turkey for extra flavor and nutrition.
- Tomato texture: Give this easy meal an extra dose of tomato goodness. Add a few tablespoons of tomato paste, or throw in some sun-dried tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes to give it a wonderful texture.
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
If you don’t have tomato soup, just use tomato puree in the same quantity. To enhance the flavor of plain tomato sauce, add a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity and season it with dried basil. This simple substitution will still give your pasta dish that rich tomato flavor and texture.
Yes! You can make the pasta sauce and combine it with cooked pasta and transfer it to a baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and cover. Keep it in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
To reheat, remove the cover and bake in a 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes until heated through.
While fresh basil and parsley are classic with any pasta dish, you can use any other fresh herbs like thyme, dill, or chives to garnish and change up the flavor profile of the finished dish.
TOOLS FOR THIS RECIPE
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Easy Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta
- 4 cups penne pasta, uncooked
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 10.7 oz. can cream of tomato soup
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley or basil
- Prep: In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Cook Turkey: While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add onion and ground turkey. Cook, breaking the turkey apart with a wooden spoon (Pro tip: Switch to a potato masher when the turkey is about halfway done-it helps get the meat broken up nice and fine!)Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano.
- Add & Simmer: When ground turkey is cooked and no longer pink (about 5-6 minutes), add half the cheese, the cream of tomato soup, and diced tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Add: Add the half and half and stir to combine.
- Finish: Add drained pasta to the skillet and stir well to combine. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese over the top and allow it a few minutes to melt. Garnish with fresh parsley or basil and serve right away!