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Ground Turkey Vegetable Pasta

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Ground Turkey Vegetable Pasta is a light yet very filling dish. Lean ground turkey, loads of vegetables and fettucini pasta combine for a hearty meal that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.

This post and recipe card updated September 24, 2020
Overhead shot of finished ground turkey vegetable pasta in a white bowl with extra in a black skillet in the background

Growing up I ate turkey primarily on Thanksgiving. We always went to a family friend’s home for a big celebration, and every year they made extra turkey legs. Perfect for me, because the rest of the turkey was way too dry.

I ate a lot of turkey sandwiches in college, using the packaged turkey breast. And more recently I’ve become a fan of deep-fried turkey. I mean let’s be honest…there can’t be anything bad about fried turkey!

One of my favorite recipes is one I created by accident. I thawed ground turkey one day instead of ground beef, but the turkey wasn’t a viable option for the recipe I’d planned. So I went to the fridge, threw a bunch of stuff together, and created Ground Turkey Vegetable Pasta

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • It’s light and healthy, and ready in about 30 minutes
  • You can enjoy it without the pasta for a gluten-free meal
  • Mix in your favorite veggies, or swap out the turkey for another protein
Close up shot of right half of a white bowl of finished ground turkey vegetable pasta with a green napkin and a fork on the side

Accidents can be good, because Ground Turkey Vegetable Pasta is a staple in my menu plan. I make it regularly, and it’s my favorite go-to when I can’t decide what to make for lunch.

INGREDIENT TIPS FOR GROUND TURKEY VEGETABLE PASTA

For a long time I didn’t know ground turkey was a thing. I instinctively walked past the turkey in the fresh meat section of the grocery because I just assumed it was dry.

Like ground beef, you can choose from a variety of fat contents. My favorite is 93/7 (93% lean) because it has good flavor and you don’t need to add much oil at all.

For the vegetables I start with a combination of red, green and yellow bell peppers. Of course, you can use your favorite mixture.

I added baby portobello mushrooms one day because I needed to use up the mushrooms I had. Now I don’t make Ground Turkey Vegetable Pasta without them.

My most recent addition is bok choy. It’s another layer of flavor and another hearty vegetable. The white stems take longer to cook so I add them first, and then add the leaves in the last couple of minutes.

Another recent addition is Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. It adds moisture and a little sweetness to the savory vegetables.

For the pasta, I use Fettucini. I like the wider noodle because it has a little heartier bite, but any pasta shape will do. I add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the meat and vegetables and toss it all together immediately before serving.

FETTUCINI TIPS

  • Stir the fettucini with tongs as soon as you add it to the boiling water, to prevent the noodles from clumping together
  • Fettucini takes 17-18 minutes to fully cook, so I usually start it when I take the turkey out of the skillet
  • Drain the pasta right before adding it to the skillet, to prevent the pasta from sticking together
Overhead shot of finished ground turkey vegetable pasta in a white bowl with a green napkin on the side
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray. Add the ground turkey over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the turkey and set aside.

In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the fettucini according to box directions.

Add oil to the same skillet, and turn the heat to medium. Add the bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Stir together and cook for 3 minutes.

Overhead process shot: bell peppers, onion and garlic cooking in a black skillet

Add the bok choy stems, mix together, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir to combine.

Overhead process shot: mushrooms and bok choy stems added to other vegetables in a black skillet

Return the ground turkey to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and combine.

Overhead process shot: ground turkey added to the vegetables in the skillet.

Add the bok choy leaves and sweet chili sauce. Stir together and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the bok choy wilts. Drain the pasta.

Overhead process shot:

Toss the pasta with the other ingredients, finish with parsley and serve.

Overhead shot of finished ground turkey vegetable pasta in a white bowl, with a sprig of parsley on the side
SERVINGS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

How many does this serve? It depends! I’ll make half the recipe and have it for a hearty lunch or dinner. Or, I’ll make the full recipe and have leftovers for 3-4 days. So the full recipe will serve 4 easily, or 2 larger portions.

Don’t like bok choy? Substitute baby spinach in the last couple of minutes. Or, substitute finely chopped kale at the point you would add the bok choy stems.

Other protein options? Use ground beef or ground chicken instead.

What about leftovers? Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, it will last about a week.

Want a low-carb option? Omit the pasta and just have the meat and vegetables. You could also substitute whole wheat pasta for a heartier bite.

Overhead shot of turkey and vegetables in a black skillet
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Ground Turkey Vegetable Pasta

Ground Turkey Vegetable Pasta

Yield: 2-4 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Ground Turkey Vegetable Pasta is a light yet very filling dish. Lean ground turkey, loads of vegetables, and fettucini pasta combine for a hearty meal that's perfect for lunch or dinner

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces Fettucini pasta (or any long pasta shape)
  • 8 ounces lean ground turkey (I use 93% lean)
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup each red, yellow, and green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 small bok choy (prep instructions below) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cut 1/2" cut off the end of the bok choy. Chop the white stems into bite-sized pieces, and cut leaves into thin strips. Wash them well, to remove any residual dirt.
  2. Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and heat to medium. Add the ground turkey and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove the turkey and set aside.
  3. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the fettucini according to directions on box
  4. Add avocado oil to the skillet. Add the bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Stir together and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the bok choy stems, mix together, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir to combine.
  6. Return the ground turkey to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and combine.
  7. Add the bok choy leaves and sweet chili sauce. Stir together and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the bok choy wilts
  8. Drain the pasta, toss it with the other ingredients, and finish with parsley.

Notes

GROUND TURKEY TIPS

  • 93% lean is best because it has great flavor and you don't need to add much oil at all.
  • If you use 85% lean I recommend straining out the extra fat
  • I don't recommend 97% lean because it dries out too quickly.

FETTUCINI TIPS

  • Stir the fettucini with tongs as soon as you add it to the boiling water, to prevent the noodles from clumping together
  • Fettucini takes 17-18 minutes to fully cook, so I usually start it when I take the turkey out of the skillet
  • Drain the pasta right before adding it to the skillet, to prevent the pasta from sticking together


SERVINGS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Don't like bok choy? Substitute baby spinach in the last couple of minutes. Or, substitute finely chopped kale leaves at the point you would add the bok choy stems.

Want a low-carb option? Omit the pasta and just have the meat and vegetables. You could also substitute whole wheat pasta for a heartier bite.

Other protein options? Use ground beef or ground chicken instead.

What about leftovers? Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, it will last about a week.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 520Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 707mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 6gSugar: 17gProtein: 40g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, etc

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