Baked Pasta with Ground Turkey

5 from 102 votes

This Baked Pasta with Ground Turkey recipe is made with whole wheat pasta, lean ground turkey, marinara sauce - a comfort dish the whole family will love!

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Real comfort is not just a pasta dish. It’s a baked pasta dish! Something magical and miraculous happens in the oven when all the flavors of a simple pasta dish smothered in cheese gets bubbly and melted. That magical thing is this baked turkey pasta!

Cooked ground turkey and sauce in a skillet
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Recipe at a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Italian-American
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop & Oven
Dietary Info: Lightened Up
Key Flavor: Cheesy & Savory
Skill Level: Easy

Summary

  • Cozy Comfort Food: Sometimes, you just need a warm, nourishing meal! This baked pasta with ground turkey is the perfect comfort food for colder weather. 
  • Kid-Friendly: This homestyle bake has everything kids love—melted cheese, savory sauce, and yummy ground meat. It’s so easy to make, and your family is sure to ask for seconds!
  • Ready to Freeze: Ground turkey pasta bake is the ideal freezer meal. It’s nourishing, reheats well, and retains its savory flavor even after a few months. Just pop it in the oven and enjoy its cheesy goodness about 40 minutes later!
  • Well-Balanced: This dinner has nutrient-dense carbs, lean protein, and yummy veggies that are healthy and delicious!

RECIPE VIDEO TUTORIAL

How to Make Baked Pasta with Ground Turkey

To start, brown ground turkey with onions. Then add the garlic, seasoning, marinara and fresh basil. As it is, it’s a simple chunky marinara. It’s full of flavor and you can use to top off any pasta you’d like.

But take it a step further by stirring in the pasta, topping it with mozzarella cheese, or any cheese for that matter, and you’ve got your favorite weeknight dish – baked pasta with ground turkey. Let’s have a moment with the cheese pull if you will…

 Baked Pasta with Ground Turkey in a skillet

Don’t be afraid of the carbs because the whole wheat pasta actually packs a lot of fiber and good carbs that your body craves. So have some pasta once in a while, it’ll satisfy that natural cravings without going overboard. When I make this, I make sure to make a side salad and start with that first because this recipe is so mouthwatering, flavorful and irresistible not to have seconds (and thirds?!)

Turkey pasta served on a white plate

And if you’re thinking this baked pasta recipe is too much for you and your family to eat at once, prep and freeze some! Just divide the recipe into two smaller pans or casserole dishes and freeze one for later. Then when you’re ready, you just need to pop it in the oven and add 15-20 minutes to the baking time. Easy, peasy and definitely cheesy!

Top tips to make Baked Pasta with Ground Turkey

  1. Use whole wheat pasta shells in this dish for extra fiber.
  2. If you use a store bought marinara sauce, chose with with low added salt and sugar.
  3. Cook the pasta al-dente.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you prepare this turkey pasta bake in advance?

You can make the baked pasta with ground turkey ahead of time and freeze for up to 3 months. There’s no thawing necessary. When ready to serve, just place it in the oven for an extra 20 minutes. You can also keep it in the fridge unbaked and covered for a day.

How long will this turkey pasta bake last?

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, and you can reheat it in the oven or microwave.

How do you know when the pasta is cooked?

Pasta should be cooked al-dente (with bite) and the best way to check when it’s ready to be drained is to taste it. It should be firm to the bite, if it’s soft and gummy it’s over cooked.

top down shot of turkey pasta in a skillet

This baked turkey pasta dish was a real hit with the whole family and it’s so easy to make! It’s such a great option for a weeknight meal with very little prep time.

For more pasta recipes:

I hope you love this healthy-ish feelgood Baked Pasta with Ground Turkey recipe. If you make it, please leave me a comment telling me how you like it, or use hashtag #feelgoodfoodie on Instagram so I can see your recreations.

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Baked Pasta with Ground Turkey

This Baked Pasta with Ground Turkey recipe is made with whole wheat pasta, lean ground turkey, marinara sauce – a comfort dish the whole family will love!
5 from 102 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Entree
Calories 416
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
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Video

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups marinara sauce store-bought or homemade
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil plus more for garnishing
  • 12 oz whole wheat pasta shells
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Cook whole wheat pasta shells according to package instructions, drain and set aside.
  • In a cast iron skillet or other oven safe skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, add the onions and ground turkey and cook until the turkey is browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and Italian seasoning, and cook for another 2 minutes until well combined.
  • Add in the marinara sauce, fresh basil and then stir in the cooked pasta.
  • Top with mozzarella cheese and bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately.

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Make Ahead: You can make the baked pasta with ground turkey ahead of time and freeze for up to 3 months. There’s no thawing necessary. When ready to serve, just place it in the oven for an extra 20 minutes.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However you can substitute ground chicken or ground beef instead of of ground turkey. You can also make your own marinara sauce and change up the seasoning if you’d like.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 416kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 63mg, Sodium: 647mg, Potassium: 663mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 560IU, Vitamin C: 7.4mg, Calcium: 190mg, Iron: 3.8mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine Italian
Course: Entree

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. Jess says:

    10 out of 10 I do recommend! Follow the recipe like the lady said! Simple recipe made me feel like a chef!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thanks so much, Jess!

  2. mk says:

    this was great as a base recipe. it would have been too bland made exactly the way you wrote for my husband and myself. i doctored the sauce by adding red wine, red pepper flakes, more garlic and more italian spices. very good recipe overall. easy and end result is delicious.

    1. Yumna says:

      Glad you liked it!

  3. Ursula says:

    I made this because I had all the ingredients on hand except fresh basil so I used dry. It turned out delicious and was easy to make. Two pluses in my book! I love fresh basil also will try that next time. It’s a keeper!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      So glad to hear that you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you!!

  4. Mary says:

    Very happy with how this dish turned out. The only thing I had to do different was that my oven proof cast iron skillet was not going to be able to hold all the pasta and sauce. So once I had the pasta and sauce together, laid it out in a 9 by 13 dish to melt the mozzarella over it in the oven. This tasted even better once the leftovers were refrigerated overnight. I guess something about refrigeration makes the flavors of leftovers desirably stronger. Good recipe, tasty quantities of the basil, Italian seasonings, all of it. Will save this recipe and use again.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it so much!! I totally agree that something about it tastes even better the next day!

  5. Kim says:

    Simple and delicious! Will add it to my recipe arsenal exactly as-is! With additional veggies I could see this being a great foundation for a lazy lasagna. 🙂

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Aww thank you so much! So glad to you enjoyed it. Haha, it is like a lazy lasagna!

  6. Alisha Ross says:

    I tried this last night after finding it on Pinterest and we loved it! It’s definitely on my list to make again!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Yay! I hope you like it!

  7. Jessica says:

    This was so easy to make and my family loved it, even my lil picky eater. My husband and daughter had seconds so this is definitely a family favorite! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      So glad to hear that! Thanks so much for sharing!! 🙂