Main Dishes

Baked turkey pasta (gluten free, dairy free options)

I have been on a pasta and Mac n cheese kick since I had Covid last week! Since I was not very hungry and not able to eat very much at a time and was losing weight daily, it’s as though my body was craving something dense with nutrition AND calories! However, this baked turkey pasta is super healthy and nothing to feel guilty about! Yay!

I got this recipe from ifoodreal.com – but will make a few tweaks such as adding mushrooms because I think it needs them and adding more protein! 1 lb of ground turkey is about 25 grams of protein per 1/4 serving, and this dish is more than 4 servings, so it ends up not having quite as much protein as I prefer. 1 lb works fine though but if you work out a lot and are aiming to up your protein levels I would do 2 lbs of meat for the 6-8 servings.

INGREDIENTS-SERVES ABOUT 6-8 DEPENDING.

1-2 lbs ground turkey

12 oz gluten free penne pasta noodles (I prefer gluten free!)

4-5 cups curly kale, stems removed, chopped

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 onion, diced

3-4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp avocado oil

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp rosemary

1 tsp basil

pinch of red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp salt

Black pepper to taste

2-14 oz cans tomato sauce (or 1 large jar of marinara; I would get extra in case you use 2 lbs of meat and want more sauce)

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 cup pasta water

2 cups shredded mozzarella (use vegan cheese if you are dairy sensitive!)

METHOD

Cook the pasta accordingly, undercooking by 3-4 minutes. Save 1 cup of the pasta water. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with oil. Next, preheat large pot over medium heat and add your oil and onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring, before adding the seasonings (salt, oregano, rosemary, basil, red pepper, black pepper). Stir for another 60 seconds and then add your meat. Brown the meat and break it up into little chunks! (Use 2 lbs if you want more protein. I only did 1 lb, but next time will likely use 2 to give it some extra filling qualities!) Add the mushrooms when the meat is about finished cooking and stir everything for about 7 minutes total.

Next add the tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, honey, pasta water and bring to a boil and stir. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-high and simmer for 2 minutes before adding the kale. Stir to combine, and add the cooked pasta, stirring again!

Now, transfer half of the pot into the baking dish, sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella evenly on top, and then pour the remainder of the pot into the baking dish, covering with the final cup of mozzarella.

Now place aluminum foil on top of the baking dish and place in the preheated oven, baking for 20 mins. Allow to sit and rest for ten minutes before removing the foil, and serve!

OTHER TIPS/ALTERNATIVES:

Use spinach instead of kale

Use jarred marinara sauce and omit the spices (not the salt, though!)

Use half ground turkey and half ground beef, or all lean ground beef if desired

Happy eating!!! You can reheat leftovers up to 4 days after cooking. Reheats well!

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