I recently took a poll on my Instagram stories asking what kind of fall recipes you all are looking for: sweet treats or savory dinner recipes. I got a lot of messages saying “both”, but otherwise, dinner recipes won by a landslide! With that being said, I wanted to deliver. My mom has cooked some variation of this dish for years, and I wanted to put a bit of a healthier spin on it. So today I present to you: Healthy Ground Turkey Pasta Bake.
This healthy pasta bake is super versatile
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you can (and should) always adjust recipes to please your personal preferences and taste buds. If a recipe calls for broccoli but you despise broccoli, substitute cauliflower or something else you love! Absolutely feel free to do that here, as well.
Here are some options for ya:
- Do you prefer long spaghetti noodles over shapes? Or vice versa? Use whichever one you like best!
- I used broccoli, but feel free to substitute Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, zucchini, spinach, kale, etc.!
- If you want to make this even more of a *fall* recipe, use some type of pumpkin butternut squash pasta sauce (I’m obsessed with the one from ALDI)! Or, you can just use a normal marinara sauce. I always try to find pasta sauces with no added sugars if possible!
- If you do not have an ALDI near you, check your local grocery store for some of these seasonal pasta sauce flavors!
- The man in my life always wants meat, hence the ground turkey in this recipe, but I wanted to give it a little protein boost too! You could also use ground chicken, or cooked chicken breast cut up into bite-sized pieces, or tofu/tempeh if you want meatless options. I have also used meatless crumbles, which is delicious. The protein possibilities are endless.
other reasons to love this recipe
First, let’s talk about the most obvious reason. It’s PASTA. Pasta is delicious, duh. And I promise — it can absolutely fit into a healthy, balanced diet. The key is balancing it out with some protein & veggies, which is exactly what this recipe does!
- It’s balanced. You’re getting whole grains, non-starchy veggies, and high quality protein all in one!
- It makes great leftovers for work lunches or quick & easy weeknight dinners.
- It’s easy to make and as previously mentioned, very versatile.
- The prep time is pretty quick. You do have to bake it for about 20-30 minutes, but I have found that’s about the perfect amount of time to clean up the kitchen so it’s already done by the time you’re finished with dinner! You may even be able to squeeze in a mini workout in the kitchen. ; )
- Did I mention it’s freaking delicious?
Have I convinced you yet? Okay, here’s the recipe.
This recipe was inspired by the version found on The Cookie Rookie, who has tons of delicious and beautifully photographed recipes! Go check Becky out!
Healthy Ground Turkey Pasta Bake
- 16 oz whole wheat spaghetti noodles
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1/2 Tbsp avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups broccoli cut into florets
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 24 oz marinara sauce no sugar added
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan divided in half
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- Fresh cracked black pepper and Italian seasoning to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook spaghetti according to package instructions using a large pot.
- While spaghetti is cooking, cook ground turkey in a large skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Use a wooden spoon and/or spatula to break the meat up and stir it until cooked through. When meat is cooked and no longer pink, drain any grease if necessary, and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
- Rinse out the same skillet and wipe with a paper towel. Return to medium-high heat. Drizzle ~1/2 Tbsp avocado oil and add broccoli florets. Cook for about 5 minutes, until broccoli starts to brown, then add chopped onion and garlic, stirring with a spatula to incorporate. Cook veggies for an additional 5 minutes or so, or until onion is translucent.
- When spaghetti is al dente, drain water using a large colander, then transfer cooked spaghetti back to the large pot. Add all ingredients to the pot with spaghetti: cooked ground turkey, broccoli, garlic and onion, marinara sauce and 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan. Stir until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Transfer spaghetti, turkey and veggie mixture to a greased 9×13 pan. Top with 1 cup mozzarella cheese & remaining Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the top. Add dried Italian seasoning and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste, if desired.
- Put in oven to bake for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and pasta bake is hot throughout. Serve immediately.
- Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Voila – Healthy Ground Turkey Pasta Bake is served! I hope you give this one a try and add it into your recipe rotation! It is even picky eater approved. ; )
Share the love by pinning this recipe on Pinterest and/or tag me on Instagram @wellnessforthewin so I can see your creations!