by Olena

Ground Turkey and Broccoli Pasta

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Olena Osipov
5 from 130 votes

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One pot Ground Turkey and Broccoli Pasta with turkey, broccoli, tomatoes and Parmesan cheese has incredible taste and is ready in 30 minutes! It’s a healthy ground turkey recipe that your family will beg you to make over and over again.

Other healthy meals with ground turkey that are in our dinner rotation include healthy turkey burgers, turkey meatloaf and turkey meatballs.

Ground turkey broccoli pasta in a stock pot with parmesan cheese.

Healthy Ground Turkey Recipe

This! This healthy ground turkey recipe is the best use for a pack of ground meat. I made this healthy pasta recipe with ground turkey and broccoli after work one day. I promise you, I sat on a chair with a cup of tea for at least 15 minutes while dinner was cooking. Only recipe that beats this one’s cook time is spaghetti with tomato sauce and mac and cheese.

The flavors of meat, pasta, parsley and garlic are unbelievable together in this healthy dinner idea. My 14 year old asked “Mom, what’s the sauce?”. Um, nothing really. Simple food like this turkey chili or zucchini ground turkey skillet is the best. And it’s healthy!

Why Make Healthy Ground Turkey Recipe with Pasta?

  • Easy and quick: Healthy dinner perfect for busy weeknights – your time is 10 minutes, idle time is 20 minutes. 
  • Kid friendly: Most kids love pasta (and broccoli).
  • No food waste: When you don’t know what to make with ground turkey and yet it’s in your fridge.
  • Lots of broccoli: When you have to use up large amount of broccoli. Also see healthy broccoli salad and healthy chicken broccoli casserole.
  • Simple: When life is busy and there is not much time, this dish is a dinner win.
  • Healthy: Low fat ground turkey, nutrient filled broccoli, fresh herbs and carbs make for a satisfying weeknight dinner!

Need more help with dinner? Check out iFOODreal healthy meal plans.

ground turkey, broccoli, pasta and parmesan cheese

Ingredients for Ground Turkey and Broccoli Pasta

  • Ground turkey: I used 1 lb of extra lean ground turkey. Equivalent substitute is ground chicken, but pork and beef are OK if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Pasta: Short pasta like penne, elbow macaroni, bow ties etc. For health benefits, I recommend to use whole wheat or whole grain pasta. Gluten free pasta like brown rice, quinoa, chickpea etc. is healthy and full of fiber too.
  • Broccoli: Fresh or frozen. Frozen is pre-cooked, so might need less cook time.

Broccoli is considered a superfood! It contains a wealth of nutrients and antioxidants. Did you know 1 bunch of broccoli (just over 1 lb) contains 17 grams of protein?! 

  • Other veggies: Tomato for a pop of color and taste and onion for aromatic savory taste.
  • Parsley: Use Italian flat leaf parsley rather than curly parsley – more flavor.
  • Garlic: Grated garlic is more flavorful rather than minced – so you will need less.
  • Stock: Any low sodium stock like chicken, veggie or beef will work. Also bouillon cubes diluted in water.
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated for best taste.
Ground turkey, broccoli, parmesan, tomatoes, broth, onion, olive oil, garlic, spices,  parsley and small pasta shells.

Buy large chunk of Parmesan cheese and grate yourself vs. a shaker kind full of preservatives and cellulose. It freezes well, lasts a lifetime and adds even more flavor at the end to this pasta and soups like Instant Pot lentil soup.

fresh grated parmesan

How to Make Ground Turkey and Broccoli Pasta

  • Saute onion and turkey: Preheat large Dutch oven, pot or deep skillet with a lid on medium heat. Swirl oil in a hot pot and spread with spatula to coat its bottom. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes or just enough till fragrant. Then cook ground turkey just until small enough pieces. Meat doesn’t have to be cooked through and pink is OK.
  • Cook with pasta for 10 mins: Add pasta, stock, seasonings and everything should come to a boil as you stir. Level with spatula and cook covered on low heat for 10-12 minutes. It’s OK to open lid once to check on pasta. Pasta should be al dente – not too soft. So it doesn’t become a mush when we cook broccoli further.
  • Add broccoli and let stand: When past is ready (al dente), turn off the heat. Add broccoli, tomato, garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir, cover and let stand for 3-5 minutes or if you like very soft broccoli, keep cooking for another 3-5 minutes. You can chop parsley and grate Parmesan cheese in the meanwhile.
  • Garnish and serve: Add parsley and Parmesan cheese, gently stir and watch it all come together. Serve hot.

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Spaghetti or any long pasta: Broken into pieces spaghetti, fettuccine or any long pasta is just as fine. Break in half or more to prevent lumps.
  • If you like soft broccoli: If you like soft cooked broccoli, add it 3 minutes earlier or use frozen broccoli. I like broccoli firm similar to a broccoli salad. And this is what this recipe is.
  • Tomato substitution: You can skip tomato all together or use sun dried tomatoes. Diced bell pepper is good too. One reader even added a small amount of tomato/leftover spaghetti sauce.

More pasta recipes you may love include healthy pasta with broccoli and sun dried tomatoes or creamy healthy Tuscan chicken pasta.

  • Other vegetables: Cauliflower, another cruciferous vegetable, would be your best substitution. Diced carrots, green beans or kale would also work, adjust time accordingly. Diced sweet pepper could be added with turkey.
  • Mushrooms: Sliced mushrooms could be added with turkey.
  • Fresh herbs: Fresh basil could be used instead of fresh parsley.
  • Splash of white wine: After sautéing turkey, quickly add a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan.

This healthy ground turkey recipe with pasta is very flexible! Customize it with extra spices, use pasta shapes you have on hand, clean out the veggie drawer- be sure to leave a comment so we can hear what ‘extras’ you add!

Tips for Best Results

  • There is some liquid left after cooking pasta: It’s OK. It will get absorbed by pasta with time as you let it sit “to cook” broccoli and before serving. It also makes “the sauce”. You can add more water just in case your ground turkey and broccoli pasta looks dry to you.
  • Oil: The best oils for frying are those that have high smoke point. My go-to is avocado oil or coconut oil. Light olive oil, grapeseed oil or organic canola oil works.
  • Gluten free pasta: It cooks faster than whole wheat and could stick more, so keep your eye on it.
  • Dairy free: Skip the parmesan or use nutritional yeast.

FAQs

Can I use leftover holiday turkey in this pasta dish?

This recipe is great for using leftover your holiday turkey! Dice the leftover turkey into small pieces and add in with your pasta, stock and seasonings.

Can I use ground beef in this easy pasta with broccoli recipe?

Yes, you can use any ground meat including beef, chicken, pork etc. For beef and pork, use the leanest you can find, otherwise you will want to drain it after cooking.

What varieties of pasta work best in this healthy ground turkey recipe?

I used small shells, but any small pasta shape works – macaroni, ditalini or rotelle. If you can find alpahbet shapes, those would be fun for young kids! See recipe notes on how to even use long strand pasta.

Can I use dried parsley instead of fresh?

While I prefer fresh as it adds the best taste, you could add a pinch of dry herbs or just leave out.

How do I avoid mushy pasta?

Cook only to al dente. I recommend checking your pasta 1-2 minutes before you think it is done. You can remove one piece to a plate and if it cuts easily, it is done. Remember, the pasta shape you use and the type (gluten free, whole wheat etc) can affect cooking time.

Could I use rice instead of pasta?

I have not tested this using rice, you could try, though! The general rule is 1 1/2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice, you may need to adjust and add liquid as it cooks.

Can I use frozen broccoli?

Sure can! Frozen broccoli is blanched, so it may require less cooking time.

How do I add additional flavor?

This ground turkey broccoli pasta recipe is very versatile! Add sun dried tomatoes, a small amount of pesto, leftover spaghetti sauce, additional herbs and spices. Be sure to check out the additional variations above for loads of ideas.

A red pot with melted cheese, broccoli, pasta, ground turkey and tomatoes.

How to Serve This Pasta with Ground Turkey and Broccoli?

This healthy ground turkey broccoli pasta is truly a one pot meal with fiber, fat and protein. If you are feeding hungry boys like me, you could add some additional sides.

Browse 65 favorite side dishes to find a few your family will love!

How to Store and Reheat One Pot Pasta Dish?

Make Ahead: For meal prep, cook ground turkey and onion, store in the refrigerator. Chop broccoli and tomatoes, store in separate containers refrigerated. On cooking day, proceed with step 3 of putting it all together and cooking pasta.

Storing: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing it as pasta doesn’t withstand freezer in general. If recipe is too large, cut it in half.

Reheating: To reheat, add leftovers to  the pot, or if you refrigerated in same pot place it on the stove, add a splash of broth or water and reheat on low while covered, stirring a few times. Basically you want food to steam through.

More Healthy Dinner Recipes

ground turkey and pasta with a spoon in a pot
Ground Turkey and Broccoli Pasta

Ground Turkey and Broccoli Pasta

One pot Ground Turkey and Broccoli Pasta with turkey, broccoli, tomatoes and Parmesan cheese has incredible taste and is ready in 30 minutes! It's a healthy ground turkey recipe that your family will beg you to make over and over again.
4.97 from 130 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: One Pot
Cuisine: American Ukrainian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 379kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 3 cups any short pasta
  • 3 cups veggie or chicken stock low sodium
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb broccoli florets
  • 3 tomatoes diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves grated
  • Red pepper flakes a pinch
  • 1/2 cup parsley finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated

Instructions

  • Preheat large Dutch oven or pot on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add ground turkey and cook for 5 minutes, breaking into pieces and stirring with spatula.
  • Add pasta, stock, salt and pepper; stir and level with spatula.
  • Then cover and cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes, checking after 10 minutes. Brown rice pasta and any gluten free pasta cooks faster than wheat.
  • When pasta is al dente (not too soft, so it doesn't become a mush), turn off heat and add broccoli, tomato, garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Add parsley and Parmesan cheese and gently stir.
  • Serve hot.

Make Ahead: Cook ground turkey and onion, store in the refrigerator. Chop broccoli and tomatoes, store in separate containers refrigerated. On cooking day, proceed with step 3 of putting it all together and cooking pasta.

    Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I wouldn’t recommend freezing.

      Reheating: To reheat, add leftovers to  the pot, or if you refrigerated in same pot place it on the stove, add a splash of broth or water and reheat on low while covered, stirring a few times. Basically you want food to steam through.

        Video

        Notes

        • Pasta: Broken into pieces spaghetti, fettuccine or any long pasta is just as fine. Break in half or more to prevent lumps. Gluten free pasta will cook faster.
        • If you like soft broccoli: If you like soft cooked broccoli, add it 3 minutes earlier or use frozen broccoli. I like broccoli firm and this is what this recipe is.
        • Tomato substitution: You can skip tomato all together or use sun dried tomatoes. Diced bell pepper is good too.
        • There is some liquid left after cooking pasta: It will get absorbed by pasta with time as you let it sit “to cook” broccoli and before serving. It also makes “the sauce”. You can add more water just in case your ground turkey and broccoli pasta looks dry to you.
        • Oil: The best oils for frying are those that have high smoke point. My go-to is avocado oil or coconut oil. Light olive oil, grapeseed oil or organic canola oil works.
        See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 594mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g

        Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes without permission. Nutritional info is approximate.

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        280 comments on “Ground Turkey and Broccoli Pasta

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        1. 5 stars
          I’ve commented on this recipe before but I’m just popping back in to say that this continues to be a big family favorite, my go-to, easy to cook, easy to eat healthy dinner. My kids are always happy when they see this is on the menu! It makes for super easy leftover school lunches the next day. Any this is the meal I make for other families too if they just had a baby or if someone is sick or something like that. Always a big hit! Thank you!

          1. Thanks Shana for your kind words! This is amazing to hear and so glad the recipe continues to be a winner for your whole family and also to others (thanks for sharing it!)!

        2. 4 stars
          I made this tonight for dinner and I’ll added some shredded mozzarella cheese that I had a little bit of at the end and it was good.

          1. Freezing is not recommended, pasta doesn’t hold up well in the freezer. You can cut the recipe in half if needed.

        3. 5 stars
          Delicious! Tastes like something you’d order at a restaurant yet so easy to make. I added a little lemon juice and paprika for a kick- very good!

          1. Hi Lynne, this recipe has not been tested for the IP, so it’s hard to say! If you try, definitely let us know.

          2. I followed the directions in my insta pot and it worked perfect. Just cook on sauté mode and when covering make sure to leave the valve open.

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