Prepare this creamy Ground Turkey Pasta with Broccoli for a cheesy comfort food meal your entire family will love! Made entirely in one pot in just 30 minutes!
Lean ground turkey, fresh broccoli, and piles of creamy shredded cheddar cheese combine to make this unbelievably tasty one-pot pasta dish.
Think ground turkey pasta meets broccoli cheddar soup, but creamier, more filling, and more satisfying!
It's kind of similar to this cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Lasagna, but faster to make and with fewer ingredients!
Why you'll love this recipe
- 30-minute recipe - Make this when time is tight!
- Just 6 main ingredients, not counting a couple of seasonings and some water. It's all easy to find items you most likely have on hand.
- One-pot meal - The turkey, veggies, AND pasta are cooked all in the same pot! This means fewer dirty dishes and faster cleanup!
- Kid-friendly - This recipe is such an easy and yummy way to get veggies and lean protein into my kiddos!
- Ground turkey: I like to use lean ground turkey with a little bit of fat, but never fat-free. The fat adds some flavor and moisture to the turkey. Substitute ground chicken if needed.
- Chicken stock: I've tested this recipe using 100% chicken stock and a stock and water blend. The stock plus water blend was best! All stock made the pasta far too salty.
- Pasta: Macaroni shells are my favorite! They cook quickly and trap pockets of melty cheese.
- Broccoli: Be sure to chop the broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces. This will ensure it fully cooks while the pasta is cooking and make it easier to eat.
- Heavy cream thickens the cheese sauce and adds a smooth and creamy texture.
- Cheddar cheese: Freshly shredded cheddar cheese will melt into the smoothest texture. Use mild or sharp, whatever you prefer is fine!
- Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, ground yellow mustard, and ground black pepper add lots of flavor! I omit added salt because the stock provides more than enough salty taste.
I recommend using a cast iron Dutch oven for one-pot pasta recipes. Any heavy-bottomed pan with deep sides will work, though!
How to make Ground Turkey Pasta
- Cook the ground turkey.
- Add the chicken broth and water, and bring to a boil.
- Add the dry pasta, broccoli, and seasonings, and cook until all liquid is absorbed.
- Stir in the heavy cream and shredded cheese.
- Serve and enjoy!
Step 1: Warm the olive oil over medium heat, then add the crumbly ground turkey. Cook the turkey until no pink remains, about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Drain any excess oil from the pot, then add the chicken stock and water and bring to a boil.
Step 3: Stir the dry pasta, chopped broccoli, and seasonings into the ground turkey and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
Step 4: Partially cover the pot while the pasta is cooking, stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom, and adjust the heat as needed. Turn off the heat once the pasta is fully cooked and all liquid is absorbed.
Step 5: Pour the heavy cream into the cooked ground turkey pasta mixture and add the shredded cheese.
Step 6: Stir until the cheese is melted and the turkey pasta is smooth and creamy. The pasta will continue to thicken as it cools. Serve warm and enjoy!
- Use fresh broccoli. I initially tested this recipe using frozen broccoli. The frozen broccoli wasn't an ideal choice because it became very mushy while cooking with the pasta.
- Boil the pasta on medium to high heat, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the cooking pot.
- Stir the pasta occasionally to help prevent it from sticking.
- Partially cover the pot while the pasta is cooking, leaving some space open for steam to escape.
Use cauliflower instead of broccoli if that's what you have on hand. Ground chicken is the best substitute for ground turkey, but ground pork is also an option.
Some ground turkey pasta recipes are made with tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. If that's what you're craving, this Pink Pasta Sauce with Ground Turkey recipe is a must-try!
How to store, freeze, and reheat
How to store: Store leftover ground turkey pasta in a glass, airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
How to freeze: Transfer cooled leftovers to a plastic ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
How to reheat: The turkey pasta and cheese sauce will thicken as it cools. Reheat on the stovetop in a saucepan over low heat. Add a splash of milk or heavy cream to thin the sauce back to a creamy consistency.
What to serve with
How to thaw ground turkey fast
According to the USDA food safety guide, cold water thawing is the safest way to thaw turkey quickly.
- Thawing will take about 30 minutes per pound of turkey.
- Ensure the turkey is in a leakproof plastic bag that prevents water from seeping in.
- Submerge the wrapped turkey in cold water.
- Replace the water with fresh, cold water every 30 minutes until the turkey is fully thawed.
Frequently asked questions
Ground turkey is mild in flavor and lends itself well to a variety of herbs, spices, and seasoning blends. Flavor ground turkey with fresh herbs, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, chili powder blends, curry powder blends, taco seasoning, fajita seasoning, or your favorite all-purpose seasoning blend.
Fresh raw ground turkey should be light pink or beige. If it has turned brown, grey, or green, it has started to go bad and should not be consumed.
Ground turkey complements the flavor of pasta. It will take on the dish's overall flavor, and provide satiety from its high protein content.
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