This ground turkey pasta combines ground turkey, kale, carrots, and a delicious sauce in a super simple and yummy dish!
Easy Pasta Dinner
There are nights that I am just craving pasta, but I don’t want a red sauce like this sweet meat sauce.
This ground turkey pasta is one of our family favorites and a recipe we’ve been making for years – ever since we discovered the magic of perciatelli noodles.
If you’ve never had perciatelli noodles (or bucatini, which is very similiar), they’re one of our favorites because unlike spaghetti or linguine, they have a hole inside the noodle. And somehow that hole makes all the difference in soaking up the sauce.
It’s truly magical and one of the best parts of this dish!
You’ll love this recipe because it combines a handful of veggies with ground turkey (hello healthier pasta dish!) with a super easy to make sauce and it’s all done in under 30 minutes.
Just a few quick notes on the ingredients:
- Chicken broth – we typically use chicken bone broth but you can use bone broth, chicken broth, or chicken stock just fine
- Pasta – this recipe is best with perciatelli or bucatini but if you can’t find those for some reason, you can also do it with any long noodle pasta like spaghetti, it just won’t be quite as good
- Ground turkey – as long as it’s ground turkey breast, you’re good. It doesn’t matter if it’s 93% lean, 98% lean, or even 99% lean
There are a few steps to make this recipe and honestly, it’s pretty hard to screw up. Those are my favorite kind!
1 – Prep ingredients
Before you get started, make sure all of your ingredients are washed, chopped, and ready to go. This recipe moves fast so you’ll want everything prepped beforehand!
Bring a pot of salted water to boil then add your kale and boil for 3 minutes. Remove the kale using a slotted spoon or spider strainer (keep the water boiling – you’ll use it to cook the pasta later in the recipe) and place it in an ice bath to shock the kale and stop it from cooking.
Strain the kale and slice into thin strips.
This keeps the kale from getting too wilted when you add it to the pasta – and the texture of the kale adds a nice touch to this ground turkey pasta!
2 – Make the ground turkey pasta
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat then cook the carrots and celery in the pan for about five minutes.
Then add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Make sure you’re ready with the ground turkey before adding the garlic so you don’t burn it!
Add the ground turkey in and cook for about six minutes or until the turkey is fully browned.
Once the turkey is browned, add in your thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf and cook for one more minute.
Add 1/2 cup broth to deglaze the pan, then add in the rest of the broth and kale then bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer the sauce until it reduces in half.
While the sauce is cooking, cook your pasta in the kale’s boiling water according to package instructions but do not strain.
Add the cooked pasta directly to the sauce from the boiling water and mix to coat completely.
Remove the bay leaf from the pasta. Then serve hot with parmesan cheese on top and crunchy toasted bread on the side.
Scrape the sides of the pan when you add the broth to add even more flavor to the sauce. All those brown bits from cooking the veggies give the broth its flavor.
Break up the ground turkey into small bites as you are browning it so they’re easy to eat in one bite with the pasta.
Cut the veggies evenly so that they’ll cook evenly. If the carrots and celery are totally different sizes, you’ll end up with some cooked and some not quite so cooked when you’re ready to add the garlic.
Wring out the kale with your hands to remove excess water. If it’s still wet at all, it will dilute the sauce when you add it to the pasta.
Perciatelli, also known as bucatini, is a thick long noodle pasta that has a hole running through it. Because of the hole, it holds sauce better than a noodle like spaghetti.
I’ve seen them at many regular grocery stores, Walmart, or you can buy online.
Yes, if you can’t find perciatelli or bucatini noodles, you can make this with spaghetti or linguine – the noodles may just not take on the sauce as well.
I don’t recommend freezing this because the sauce won’t maintain the same consistency when frozen.
Store any leftovers for up to five days in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat by adding the pasta to a pan on the stove with a little bit of chicken broth (so it doesn’t get dry) and heat over medium-heat until it reaches your desired temperature.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
- Spinach and artichoke pasta
- Ravioli with a creamy garlic butter sauce
- Sweet spaghetti sauce
- Gnocchi sorrentina
- Homemade egg noodles
Ground Turkey Pasta
- 1 bunch kale washed and stems removed
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 4 celery ribs diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb ground turkey
- kosher salt
- ½ T dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 lb perciatelli or bucatini pasta
- grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Bring a 6-quart pot of generously salted water to boil. Add the kale and boil for 3 minutes.
- Remove the kale with a slotted spoon and shock in an ice bath to stop further cooking. Leave kale water boiling in the pot because you'll use it to cook the pasta later.
- Once cooled, strain the kale and wring the excess water out with your hands. Slice the kale into thin strips.
- Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the carrots and celery and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook the carrots and celery until lightly browned and soft, about five minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute making sure to stir to keep the garlic from burning.
- Add the ground turkey and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt. Break up turkey and cook until browned, about six minutes.
- Add the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf and cook for another minute.
- Add 1/2 cup chicken broth to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the remaining cup of broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer the sauce until it reduces by half.
- While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta in the kale's boiling water according to directions on the package but do not strain.
- When the pasta has about a minute left to cook, add the kale to the sauce and stir to incorporate so kale can heat up.
- Once pasta is cooked, add pasta directly into the sauce from the pasta pot and mix to coat. Salt to taste but don't salt too much because you still need to add salty Parmesan cheese.
- Serve hot with grated Parmesan cheese on top.