I’m a sucker for quick pasta dishes that are easy to make and is ready in under 45 minutes. This Baked Ziti with Ground Turkey is the perfect weeknight dinner when you’re pressed for time. When time is limited due to work and extracurricular activities among other things, Baked Ziti with Ground Turkey is one of our meals of choice. It’s very filling while providing the nutrients that our body needs. For added fiber and other nutritious elements, I use the following ingredients:
- Ground turkey
- Whole wheat or whole grain penne pasta noodles
- Mozzarella cheese or your choice of cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Tomato based sauce (store bought is perfect as a time saver)
and that’s it. This 5 ingredient Baked Ziti with Ground Turkey is a pure winner. I often pair it with a fresh green salad drizzled with a light vinaigrette dressing for a complete and satisfying meal. Honestly, it’s not only easy to prepare but it has other advantages such as making for great left-overs, being kid-friendly, very economical, and clean-up is a cinch.
How to make Baked Ziti with Ground Turkey
- Ground turkey is a very lean meat and as a result I always add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the saute/frying pan before I begin browning the meat.
- Always cook your pasta noodles until they are al dente since the baked ziti will bake in the oven. You do not want your pasta noodles to become over-cooked.
- You do not have to opt for penne; however, I would recommend a pasta noodles that is more hearty and not as delicate as a heartier noodle will hold up better in my opinion.
- If you are straying away from refined or white pasta, go for whole grain or whole wheat as a healthier option.
- Be mindful of the sauce to pasta ratio as you do not want your pasta to absorb all of your tomato-based sauce which could result in a dry pasta dish which you definitely do not want.
I really hope you enjoy Baked Ziti with Ground Turkey. What’s one of your go-to pasta dishes when time is of the essence? I’d love to hear from you.
If you’re a fan of quick and simple pasta dishes check out my Ground Turkey Lasagna Rolls.
This Baked Ziti with Ground Turkey is as simple as gathering 5 key ingredients and putting them all together to create a dish that's simple yet healthy and robust.
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 lbs ground turkey
- 1/2 tsp salt add more or less to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 24 oz Italian sauce your favorite marinara or italian sauce
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese more or less
- 1/4 cup parm more or less
- 1.5 cups uncooked penne pasta or your preferred shape of pasta noodle
- 2 cloves minced garlic optional
- 1/4 cup red wine optional
- chopped parsley optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Boil water and cook pasta noodles according to packaging or al dente. When done, drain pasta. IMPORTANT: Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside
Shred cheese. Set aside.
Prepare a baking dish by rubbing a little butter around the inside of the dish to prevent any sticking.
In a saute pan over medium high heat, add olive olive. When oil is hot, add ground turkey. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to brown turkey until no longer pink.
Open a jar of your favorite pasta or marinara sauce and add to browned turkey. Add a dash of salt and minced garlic (optional). Taste sauce to make sure it is seasoned to your liking. Add wine and cook until alcohol has burned off and taste test again.
If sauce is too thick for your taste, add a little pasta water to loosen the sauce. Add pasta to sauce and stir until combined (be sure to pay attention to the pasta/sauce ratio). Pour into your prepared baking dish. Layer the top with grated cheese. Place foil over the baked ziti and bake in the oven until cheese is melted and gooey.
If you like the top to be slightly browned, remove the foil and continue baking for a few extra minutes until the top is slightly browned.
Sprinkle the top with parm and chopped parsley (optional).
Serve immediately and ENJOY.
Be mindful of the sauce to pasta ratio as you do not want your pasta to absorb all of your tomato-based sauce which could result in a dry pasta dish which you definitely do not want.
**Please note: Nutritional values serve as a guide only as values may vary.