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This easy ground turkey pasta recipe is hearty, very flavorful, and ultra comforting! It uses simple, wholesome ingredients to make the coziest meat and tomato sauce for pasta.
You may also enjoy this Ravioli Soup next.
This post is sponsored by our long-term partner DeLallo – thank you for supporting the brands that keep Salt & Lavender cooking! I only work with brands whose products I love. All opinions are my own.
Why you’ll love it
There’s nothing quite like how good your kitchen smells with a meaty sauce simmering away. This one has similar building blocks to a Bolognese, but it’s on the lighter side with ground turkey and takes less time to make! Using pantry staples makes it that much easier.
I use DeLallo’s tortiglioni because it’s a sturdy pasta that shines with full-bodied sauces. They’re perfect little tubes for all that sauce! This ground turkey pasta is fuss free to throw together when you want comfort food, and using good-quality ingredients is a game changer.
Did you know?
Tortiglioni has Latin origins and means to spiral and refers to the shape of this pasta. It has ridges that spiral around the noodle that are ideal for capturing sauces.
What you’ll need
- Tortiglioni – if you like rigatoni or penne, you’ll adore DeLallo’s tortiglioni! It’s a similar shape and made in Italy with a traditional method to have the absolute best taste and texture.
- Olive oil – for sautéing
- Onion, celery, carrots, garlic – the base of a good sauce
- Ground turkey – it’s lean, inexpensive, and not as heavy as beef
- Tomatoes – we’re using a can of DeLallo crushed San Marzano tomatoes. They’re bright, sun-ripened Italian plum tomatoes.
- Seasoning – my signature flavoring includes Italian seasoning, dried oregano, Worcestershire sauce, and crushed red pepper flakes (gentle heat, not spicy) for a wonderful flavor profile
- Heavy cream – a splash of creaminess for extra flavor and silkiness
- Basil – a pop of freshness to top it all off
- If your local grocer doesn’t have their products, you can shop online at DeLallo and have charcuterie, pasta, olives, and more delivered right to your door.
- DeLallo is a family-owned company based in Pennsylvania that started in 1950. They stock only the best products, and their gourmet (yet totally affordable) Italian goodies are the perfect gift for the foodie in your life!
How to make ground turkey pasta
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
In a large pot, sauté the onions, carrots, and celery in the olive oil until softened. Add the ground turkey and garlic, and cook, breaking it apart as you go. Stir in the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, oregano, salt, and crushed red pepper.
Simmer, stirring occasionally, with the lid slightly open, for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, boil up the tortiglioni until al dente. Stir the cream and basil into the sauce. Taste, season with pepper and extra salt if desired. Toss with the pasta, and top with parmesan if using.
Substitutions and variations
- You could swap the ground turkey for ground chicken, ground pork, or ground beef.
- This sauce is flexible, so you could throw in other veggies if you happen to have some.
- I don’t recommend subbing the cream for a lower fat alternative as the tomatoes are likely to curdle it. I love the way it mellows the sauce and adds a little richness and more flavor, but you can leave it out if need be.
What to serve with ground turkey pasta
Leftovers and storage
- Leftover sauce will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge or can be frozen for 3 months. Reheat slowly over a low heat.
- I recommend boiling fresh pasta for leftovers if you’re not going to eat all 6 portions at once — the pasta tends to soak up the sauce and puff up.
If you enjoyed this ground turkey sauce for pasta, please leave a star rating and review below! You can also find me on Instagram, and tag me #saltandlavender if you made it.
Ground Turkey Pasta
- 16 ounces DeLallo Tortiglioni see note
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 sticks celery chopped finely
- 1 large carrot peeled & chopped finely
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can DeLallo San Marzano Style Crushed Tomatoes
- 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt see note
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream optional but recommended
- 1 generous handful fresh basil torn
- Pepper to taste
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese optional, to taste
- Add the olive oil, onions, celery, and carrots to a Dutch oven/soup pot over medium-high heat and sauté for 7-8 minutes.
- Add in the ground turkey and garlic and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spoon as you go along.
- Stir in the canned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes, and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid slightly open, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, boil a large, salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
- Stir in the cream and basil and let it warm through.
- Give it a taste and season with pepper and extra salt if needed and toss with the drained pasta. Serve with freshly grated parmesan if desired.
- If you’re not using sea salt or kosher salt, you may need to add less, but it really depends on your preferences. You can for sure add as much as you need “to taste”, but it needs to be sufficiently salted to bring out the flavors.
- You can definitely make less than the full 16 oz of pasta if you’re not going to feed 6 people right away – this sauce (by itself) freezes well!
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