Turkey Pasta Casserole is a delicious meal made with elbow pasta, ground turkey, garlic, mustard, tomato puree, garlic powder, and cheese. It’s perfect for a weeknight dinner that the whole family will love. This dish will definitely be requested again and again.
What is Turkey Pasta Casserole?
This turkey casserole is the best potluck dinner for feeding a crowd. You can also freeze it before baking so you can pull it out when you don’t have time to stand in the kitchen and cook and need to get dinner on the table quickly. Don’t forget to save the leftovers because they taste great the next day for lunch.
- 3 cups half-cooked elbow pasta: Par-boil the pasta by only cooking it halfway through before pulling it out of the water.
- 1 pound (500 g) ground turkey: You can find ground turkey next to the chicken at the grocery store.
- 1 medium onion.
- 2 garlic cloves, minced: Make sure the garlic is fresh and not dry after it’s peeled.
- 1 tablespoon mustard: Yellow mustard helps offset the tomatoes.
- 3 ¼ cup tomato purée: You can buy cans of tomato purée next to the tomato sauce at the grocery store.
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt: Use kosher salt rather than table salt.
- 1 ½ teaspoon pepper: Freshly ground black pepper is best for the flavor.
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder: A little extra garlic flavor helps really bring out that flavor.
- ⅔ cup cheese: Shredded cheddar cheese goes well with these ingredients.
- 2 tablespoons sugar: Some sugar makes sure the tomatoes don’t make the dish too sour.
How to make turkey pasta casserole:
Here’s a brief overview of how to make this dish. See the recipe card below for the specific recipe instructions.
1. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
2. Saute onions with some olive oil for 5-7 minutes. Add in the sliced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
3. Add minced turkey into the onions and cook, mashing with a fork, for 10 minutes.
4. Season with salt, pepper, mustard, garlic powder, and pour in tomato puree. Add sugar to balance the flavor.
5. Cook the sauce for 10 minutes then mix in elbow pasta and transfer into the baking dish.
6. Top with cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
Tips for success:
Here are a few tips for success and variations you can try to make this the best turkey pasta casserole you've ever had.
- Add chili powder to the dish for a Mexican flavor.
- Substitute the noodles with white or wild rice.
- Add more vegetables like broccoli, diced potatoes, or tater tots.
- You can use ground beef or ground chicken instead of ground turkey.
What can I use if I can’t find tomato purée?
If you aren’t able to find tomato purée at the grocery store, you can substitute tomato sauce. It is slightly thinner but will work. You can also make your own tomato purée by blending fresh, ripe tomatoes in a blender or food processor.
Can I make this dish in an instant pot?
It’s easy to make turkey casserole in a pressure cooker. If you want to save space in your oven or just want to make this a one-pot dish, the instant pot is your friend. You can sauté the vegetables and turkey right in the pressure cooker. Then add the seasonings and other ingredients, seal on the lid, and set it to cook for 20 minutes. Carefully release the steam, remove the lid, and serve immediately.
Can I make turkey pasta casserole ahead of time?
You can make this dish ahead of time if you need it. Follow the instructions and allow it to cool right before baking. Once it’s cool, wrap it in plastic wrap or cover it with aluminum foil and put it in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it this way too. Take it out when you’re ready, bake, and serve.
How to store turkey pasta casserole:
Store any leftover casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat it in the microwave with 30-second increments until it’s hot all the way through.
To freeze the entire casserole, wrap it in aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Label it with what it is, how to cook, and the date. Labeling will help you remember later. Remember that if you cook it from frozen, it will take longer to cook in the oven without thawing first. Keep the foil on until the last 30 minutes of cooking so the top can brown.
Is this turkey and pasta casserole healthy?
Yes, this dish is healthy. It’s filled with fresh vegetables and lean ground turkey.
Is this dish keto-friendly?
You can leave out the pasta if you’re on a low-carb or keto diet.
What other kinds of pasta can I use?
Some other noodle options are mini penne, farfalle, shell, or ziti. Any of these will taste great in this casserole.
- 3 cups half-cooked elbow pasta
- 1 pound (500 g) ground turkey
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 3 ¼ cup tomato passata
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅔ cup cheese
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
- Saute onions with some olive oil for 5-7 minutes. Add in the sliced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add minced turkey into the onions and cook, mashing with a fork, for 10 minutes.
- Season with salt, pepper, mustard, garlic powder, and pour tomato passata in. Add sugar to balance the flavor.
- Cook the sauce for 10 minutes then mix in elbow pasta and transfer into the baking dish.
- Top with cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 709mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 8g