Pink Pasta Sauce, also known as pink sauce pasta, is a rich and creamy tomato sauce made with cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and tomato puree. The addition of ground turkey and fresh spinach make this a satisfying and delicious weeknight dinner.
Pink Pasta Sauce tastes like a cross between a red sauce and alfredo sauce, kind of similar to vodka sauce.
Pink sauce, also called rose pasta sauce and pink sauce pasta, is any tomato sauce recipe that has added heavy cream. It is a popular restaurant dish in the middle east, where they use heavy cream to turn the sauce into a pinkish-orange color.
Instead of heavy cream, I use cream cheese. The cream cheese works perfectly to give the dish a rich & creamy flavor without being too heavy.
Why you'll love this recipe
- This pasta dinner recipe is easy enough for a busy weeknight, and also special enough for date night at home!
- The recipe makes a large quantity! Once you add the tomatoes, spinach, and ground turkey, the pasta really bulks up.
- This is an all-in-one meal! By all-in-one, I mean it contains carbs, protein, and vegetables. There is no need for any extra side dishes!
- Pink Pasta Sauce has so much flavor. The cream cheese adds rich flavor and a creamy texture. There are a lot of different variations of this recipe, but I truly think this is the best pink sauce!
Pasta - My original recipe called for gluten-free pasta. I've since made the recipe with all different kinds of pasta and learned that both gluten-free pasta and wheat-based pasta work! I love Bionaturae Organic Gluten Free Rice & Lentil Pasta for this recipe.
Ground turkey - I always purchase lean ground turkey that is about 85-93% lean. Not fat-free or 98-99% fat-free lean ground turkey. Fat adds flavor and moisture to ground turkey.
Cherry tomatoes, onions, and garlic - You can use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes. You can use either a white or a yellow (brown) onion for this recipe.
Tomato puree - Canned tomato puree gives this pasta recipe the red sauce component.
Cream cheese - Cream cheese is what turns the tomato sauce in this recipe from red to pink. Use a block of cream cheese, not a canister of spreadable or whipped cream cheese.
Shredded parmesan cheese - Freshly shredded parmesan cheese will work the best. Preshredded cheeses don't always melt that well.
Fresh spinach - Fresh spinach gets mixed in at the end of cooking time to add flavor, nutrition, and some color.
Salt, black pepper, dried thyme, dried oregano, garlic powder, and dried basil - All of these herbs and seasonings are used to flavor and enhance this delicious pasta dish! They give the pink pasta sauce an Italian Pink Sauce flavor.
Kitchen tools needed
- Stovetop skillet - You will need 1 large skillet to cook the ground turkey and the tomato cream sauce.
- Large pasta pot - This is needed to cook the pasta
- Measuring cups and measuring spoons
- Cutting board and chopping knife
- Slotted spoon - This is helpful when transferring the ground turkey to the rose sauce (pink sauce).
How to make Pink Pasta Sauce
Step 1: Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Salt the pasta water and add in the pasta. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of starchy pasta water. Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.
Step 2: While the pasta cooks, cook the ground turkey in a large skillet. Season the turkey with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. When the turkey is fully cooked and no longer pink, remove it from the pan and set it aside.
Step 3: In the same large skillet, sauté the onion, garlic, and cherry tomatoes in olive oil until the tomatoes are soft and bubbling. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil, and dried thyme.
Step 4: Add the canned tomato puree to the cherry tomato skillet. Mix well and bring to a light simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat to low and stir in the cream cheese and the shredded parmesan cheese. Cook until the cheeses have melted and you have a light and creamy sauce.
Step 5: Remove from heat and add the fresh spinach. Mix the spinach into the sauce until the spinach begins to wilt. Add in the ground turkey and cooked pasta and mix until thoroughly combined.
If the sauce is too thick, add the reserved pasta water. Start with ¼ cup and slowly add more until you achieve your desired consistency. I only add about ½ cup because I prefer a thicker sauce.
Step 6: Serve and enjoy! This dish reheats well so you can make it in advance if you'd like and reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop when you're ready to eat.
- Ground turkey - If you don't have ground turkey, substitute ground chicken, ground pork, crumbly sausage, or ground beef. Make it vegetarian and substitute it with a ground meat alternative like Gardein Beefless Ground.
- Fresh spinach - Substitutions for fresh spinach include kale and swiss chard. My post on Substitutes for Swiss Chard will give you lots of different leafy green ideas! You could also substitute with broccoli or cauliflower.
- Pasta - I have been loving Bionaturae GF pasta. You can choose whichever pasta you prefer though! Elbow macaroni or penne pasta would both work well.
- Add some crushed red pepper flakes for a little heat!
- Add some fresh basil or fresh parsley for garnish when you're ready to serve. The flavor of both herbs would lend well to this recipe.
- You could try adding a splash of heavy cream, whole milk, or half and half.
- I think mixing in some freshly shredded mozzarella cheese would also be delicious!
This Pink Pasta Sauce is a meal all on its own. If you want to add some sides though, I would recommend freshly baked bread, garlic bread, pizza, salad, and white wine. Don't forget to top it with freshly grated parmesan cheese!
How to store and reheat
How to store: Pink sauce pasta will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge, stored in an air-tight container. Glass is always preferable!
How to reheat: I like to reheat this recipe right in the microwave. Heat it for 1 minute at a time, until desired warmth is reached, stirring in between each minute.
Frequently asked questions
I have not tried freezing this yet myself. However, after some research, many experts indicate that freezing a tomato cream sauce is perfectly fine. Some have said that the texture of the sauce may change slightly during thawing though, and become somewhat grainy.
Yes! I think it would be delicious on tortellini, ravioli, stuffed shells, or spaghetti.
They are similar in the fact that they both contain cream. Vodka sauce contains an additional ingredient though, vodka!
Hungry for more?
Check out my highlights on Instagram for weekly family dinner ideas!
Did you make this recipe? Tell me all about it in the comments below! I love hearing from my followers and answering any of your questions!