Meaty and delicious, this healthy ground turkey spaghetti is a delicious cozy comfort food meal perfect for any busy weeknight. Lightened up with a meat sauce made of ground turkey then cooked in a savory sauce this simple pasta is cooked all in one pot for a fast and easy dinner. Everyone will love this great recipe.
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Table of Contents
Why We Love Ground Turkey Spaghetti
Who doesn’t love an easy and delicious meal that can be made quickly? This healthy ground turkey spaghetti recipe is easy, fast, and tasty. It makes it a really easy weeknight dinner that I know the family will love.
- Packed full of flavor– This dish is meaty and has a delicious savoriness to it that is just brought out even more by the balsamic vinegar. Don’t leave it out!
- Cooked In 30 Minutes Or Less – Fast and delicious for busy weeknights.
- All In One Pot– Less cleanup in the kitchen means more time! The pasta is cooked right in the same pot as everything else for this dish.
- Picky Eater Friendly– While all of our recipes are for families, this recipe is great for even super picky eaters.
I love cooking classic recipes with ground turkey. Turkey just lightens up any meal! Some reader favorite recipes with turkey recipes are my Mini Turkey Meatloaf Muffins, my mild but flavorful Ground Turkey Chili, and my Turkey Burger Sliders which can be cooked on the grill or in a pan.
Ingredients For Your Shopping List
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground turkey– Lean ground beef can be swapped in this recipe. See the notes in the recipe card at the bottom for more details for how to swap beef.
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup onion diced
- 3 cups marinara sauce- You can also use a 24 ounce jar of sauce. It’s close enough for this recipe you can simply use the whole jar.
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar – Don’t skip the balsamic vinegar, it brings so much flavor to the dish.
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley – Can use dried parsley, use 1 teaspoon.
- 8 ounces dried spaghetti noodles Break the noodles in half for this recipe. This is half of a one-pound box of dry spaghetti noodles.
- Salt and pepper
How To Make One Pot Spaghetti With Ground Turkey
Place a large dutch oven or large 5-7 quart pot on the stove. Turn the heat to medium high and add the olive oil.
Once the pot is warm spread the ground meat out in the pan to brown. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Stir and break up the meat as needed cooking it all the way through until brown, about 7-10 minutes.
Add the garlic and onion and soften it with the meat for about a minute until fragrant.
Add three cups of pasta sauce, low sodium broth, balsamic vinegar, italian seasoning and parsley to the pan. Give it a gentle stir to mix everything well.
Break the spaghetti in half and add to the pot in small handfuls. Try to spread out the pasta in the pan. Alternating the direction you place the pasta in the liquid can help to spread it out so it doesn’t clump together.
Push the pasta gently under the liquid but don’t stir. It’s best not to stir the pasta until after it has cooked with the lid on and has started to soften.
Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium heat to simmer. Cook the pasta covered for about 13-15 minutes or until tender. Stir the pasta occasionally while it cooks to help keep it from clumping, about every five minutes. Cover the pot with the lid again to continue cooking.
The pasta is done when it is tender. Shut off the heat and let the pasta stand for a 2-3 minutes to soak up a little more of the sauce. Serve with cheese or more parsley and enjoy!
Variation Ideas and Swaps
- Use Whole Wheat Spaghetti- Whole wheat spaghetti or whole grain pasta can be swapped in this recipe. Depending on the brand and thickness you may need to cook the pasta a few extra minutes with whole wheat.
- Stir In Spinach– Chopped spinach can be added at the very end of the cooking time. Stir spinach at the end of the recipe before letting the pasta rest with the lid on. This will wilt the spinach just enough to be delicious.
- Diced Tomatoes– You can use diced tomatoes but I recommend blending them in a food processor and using them cup for cup in place of pasta sauce. With blended tomatoes, you may need to let everything cook an additional few minutes depending on how watery the tomatoes are to cook off a little more of the liquid into a sauce. You can also add a tablespoon of tomato paste to help thicken the sauce faster. I usually add the tomato paste right after softening the onions and garlic, then add my other ingredients.
- Crushed Tomatoes– Crushed tomatoes are a little thicker than tomato sauce but will work well as a swap if you blend them in a blender or food processor first.
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes– Canned Fire roasted tomatoes can be swapped for the pasta sauce and add even more great flavor. You need two 14.5 ounce cans of fire-roasted tomatoes to swap for marinara.
- Add Fresh Herbs– Fresh basil, oregano, thyme or more parsley all give even more amazing flavor to this pasta if you have them. Add a handful to the pasta before cooking. Save some fresh herbs to garnish at the end before serving if you have them.
- Garnish– A little garnish can go a long way to making your pasta taste even more delicious! Try cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes or parmesan cheese.
Can I Use Other Shapes Of Noodles Or Pasta?
You can use other types of long pasta like fettuccine or pappardelle. Using another type of long pasta may affect the total cooking time by a few minutes. Keep checking your pasta until it is al dente.
I don’t recommend using other shapes of pasta that are short such as ziti or spirals with this recipe. The amount of liquid ratio may change and I have not tested it myself. If you do try another pasta shape tell us how it went in the comments!
Adding Hidden Veggies
I don’t tend to hide veggies in my dishes. I tell my family they are in the recipe if they ask and I serve veggies often on the table. That doesn’t mean I won’t bulk up a recipe with extra veggies to help us all.
This recipe is a really easy one to add a few extra veggies. If I’m adding extra veggies, I cook them right after browning the meat but before adding the tomato sauce and pasta.
Cook the veggies for a few minutes until they are soft, then add the other ingredients such as tomato sauce and pasta to the recipe. If this is your first time adding extra veggies start with 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup and see how your family likes it. The next time you can always add more or less.
Here are veggies I often add to pasta dishes like this:
- Riced Cauliflower – I often use frozen cauliflower and make sure I cook the water out of it before continuing with the recipe so it doesn’t affect the final cooking time of the pasta.
- Shredded Carrots– Shredded carrots give tomato sauce a natural sweetness that kids and adults both tend to like.
- Diced Zucchini- This one is a little more obvious visually in the sauce, but softens and cooks down nicely.
- Chopped Spinach– Frozen or fresh, chopped spinach disappears pretty easily into this dish. Again if using frozen vegetables make sure to cook the water out of them before adding the sauce and the pasta.
Savory, smooth, and full of Italian flavor, you should try this creamy tomato soup. It’s perfect for with a grilled cheese, and makes an amazing quick dinner or lunch.
Recipes To Serve With One Pot Ground Turkey Spaghetti
- Salad– A quick green side salad makes an easy and balanced side with this pasta for dinner.
- Zucchini “Fries“- These Zucchini fries complement the sauce in the pasta well, and are a delicious way to eat your veggies. serve them as a side or even as an appetizer.
- Garlic Bread– Garlic bread is a quick and easy side, and delicious for mopping up any leftover sauce from your plate. I like making garlic bread with french bread like this.
- Roasted Broccoli – I make roasted broccoli as a side for almost everything but haven’t written down my recipe yet, but my friend Sherri’s Roasted Parmesan Broccoli is pretty similar to how I make it as a side when I’m having italian style food!
What’s The Healthiest Tomato Sauce To Use?
Some jarred tomato sauces do have extra sugar added but there are healthier options. Look for a pasta sauce that has simple ingredients, doesn’t include meat or cheese already in the sauce and is low in sugar and salt for a lighter sauce. This list of healthy pasta sauces is a great resource to check if you are looking for a healthier pasta sauce.
Other Easy Recipes You Will Love
Bruschetta Chicken Pasta – Full of fresh tomatoes, delicious garlic chicken and tons of flavor. This thirty minute pasta dish is another reader favorite.
Baked Ravioli– This cozy casserole can be made with refrigerated or frozen ravioli. A cheesy bowl of baked pasta that takes less than 30 minutes to make, yum!
Easy Classic Baked Ziti– A classic cheesy baked pasta dish full of coziness, the perfect dish for the family or to share with friends.
Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta– This bright and flavorful pasta dish is packed full of tender chicken, lots of cheesy ricotta cheese and plenty of tender chicken.
Mac And Cheese With Broccoli– Creamy, cheesy homemade mac and cheese with tender broccoli, the ultimate family-pleasing recipe!
One Pot Ground Turkey Spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup onion diced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups marinara 24-ounce jar
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- 8 ounces spaghetti noodles broken in half
- Place a large dutch oven or large 5-7 quart pot on the stove. Turn the heat to medium high and add the olive oil.
- Once the pot is warm spread the ground meat out in the pan to brown. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Stir and break up the meat as needed cooking it all the way through until brown, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and onion and soften it with the meat for about a minute until fragrant.
- Add three cups of pasta sauce, low sodium broth, balsamic vinegar, italian seasoning and parsley to the pan. Give it a gentle stir to mix everything well.
- Break the spaghetti in half and add to the pot in small handfuls. Try to spread out the pasta in the pan. Alternating the direction you place the pasta in the liquid can help to spread it out so it doesn’t clump. Push the pasta gently under the liquid but don’t stir until it has cooked a little bit with the lid on the pot.
- Bring the pot up to a boil, then cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium heat to simmer. Cook the pasta covered for about 13-15 minutes or until tender. Stir the pasta occasionally while it cooks to help keep it from clumping, about every five minutes. Cover the pot with the lid again to continue cooking.
- The pasta is done when it is tender. Shut off the heat and let the pasta stand for a 2-3 minutes to soak up a little more of the sauce. Serve with cheese or parsley and enjoy!
- Sometimes this dish can turn out too liquidy depending on the pasta sauce you choose. If your pasta is too watery, try cooking it uncovered at medium for a few minutes at the end to cook down the liquid a little more.
- If you used a super thick pasta sauce, you may need a little more liquid. If your sauce is looking too thick, add some water ¼ cup at a time.
- Ground beef can be used instead of ground turkey. If using ground beef drain some of the grease from the meat from browning themeat before adding the garlic and onion.
- If using dried parsley in place of fresh parsley use 1 teaspoon of dried parsley.