This is such an easy, light, and refreshing pasta with fresh vegetables, ground turkey, and a homemade, garden-fresh, lemon balm pesto!
Light and easy ground turkey penne pasta made amazing with a fresh lemon balm pesto is one of my new favorites! This is such any easy recipe to tweak as you wish if you want more tang with the lemon, salt from the parmesan, or load it up with more veggies! This pasta has the best flavor when enjoyed fresh, but of course you can save leftovers and just touch it up with fresh lemon juice a day or two later!
From Scratch Lemon Balm Pesto is easy and lightens up any dish. It really brings this pasta together, but of course there's more to it. I added veggies, more parmesan, more almonds, and more lemon juice to finish off this pasta! Don't forget the ground turkey, which adds protein, flavor, and great texture.
Penne Rigate is a great pasta option for this recipe because the ridges help hold the sauce. You can always change up the noodles to use a spaghetti noodle, gluten free option, spiral noodle, whatever you want!
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Ground Turkey Penne Rigate with Lemon Balm Pesto
- 6 ½ oz. penne rigate noodles (equal to 2 cups uncooked and 4 cups cooked)
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic (about 4 large cloves)
- ½ cup diced yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped kale
- ¼ cup chopped or slivered almonds
Lemon Balm Pesto
- ¾ cup lemon balm leaves firmly packed
- ⅓ cup freshly grated parmesan
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon diced green onion
- 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped almonds
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic granules
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Start noodles. Cook until al dente. Set aside.
Make the Lemon Balm Pesto
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Make Vegetables and Meat
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium-low heat. Once hot, add onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add ground turkey along with ⅛ teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season. Cook for about 5 minutes with a lid on, chopping the meat as it cooks. Add kale and continue cooking for 5 more minutes with the lid off.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the noodles, meat mixture, and pesto and combine gently. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan, sliced/chopped almonds, and fresh squeezed lemon juice.