Turkey Pumpkin Pasta is lean ground turkey is paired with a creamy pumpkin sauce and penne pasta, then baked up until golden brown. It’s a comfort food dish for two!
Making dinner for a big family can be a challenge, but so can cooking for just two people. It might sound easy, when you think about the small amount of ingredients you’ll need, but that’s not where the problem lies. The toughest part about cooking for two is scaling the ingredients down to just two servings.
Think about it for a minute.
Packages of ground meat at the store are usually 1 pound (16 ounces) or larger. A typical serving size of meat is usually 4-5 ounces per person.
What are you supposed to do with the other 8 ounces of ground turkey? This is where meal planning for the week can fit into the picture perfectly. Have a recipe close by that uses similar ingredients and freezes well and you’ll be on your way to tackling two meals in no time.
For example, when I made this low fat turkey pumpkin pasta casserole recipe, I took the remaining 8 ounces of turkey and created a batch of my baked turkey meatballs. It was super easy and convenient.
They’re also both quick to make, and healthy, too. They’re both low in fat, and thanks to the pasta we use that has 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving, this pumpkin pasta casserole is healthier than similar pasta recipes would be.
I love making healthier choices for our family. This is a meal that I can feel good about making, and it’s so filling that I didn’t even feel the desire to overindulge in it.
Preparing it as a 2-serving dish made it an even better choice, because there were no leftovers to worry about!
Low Fat Turkey Pumpkin Pasta for Two
- 4 ounces (1/4 pound) dry penne pasta (or similar pasta)
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons white or whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
- 8 ounces (1/2 pound) lean ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed (or other heart healthy) oil
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon dried or 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 cups loosely packed kale, thick stems removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces (measure AFTER cleaning)
- 1 pound fresh (or 18 oz canned) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/8 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese
- 2 ounces (1/4 liquid cup) lowfat milk (any variety)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less, to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more or less, to taste)
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook the pasta to al dente, according to package directions.
- Melt butter in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and saute for 2 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally to prevent breadcrumbs from burning. Remove from heat and set aside.
- As the pasta cooks, heat oil in a heavy bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium high heat.
- When the oil is shimmering, add the ground turkey. Cook for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and add shallot; cook for 1 minute before adding the cinnamon, thyme, and kale. Continue cooking over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until turkey is browned and Kale is somewhat wilted.
- Add pumpkin puree, both cheeses, and milk to the skillet. Stir to combine and cook until warmed through (cheese should melt).
- Season generously with salt and pepper before tossing the (drained) pasta with the pumpkin mixture.
- Pour into a serving dish and garnish with toasted breadcrumbs.