Ground turkey and red lentil pasta tossed in a tomato salsa base sauce with jalapenos and shredded cheese with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and fresh tomatoes and flavored with garlic, white wine, cumin, and paprika.
“Helped Her Hamburger”
Growing up in the States, there’s probably a memory of you eating or making macaroni and cheese for the millionth time. Moreover, sometimes you get sucked into buying that "helper" box and adding the ground beef.
I'm sorry, but for me, those were good memories! Of course, blame the trio: Kraft, General Mills, and Betty Cocker! Hahaha. Furthermore, there's nothing like settling in with a warm bowl of cheesy pasta in your hand.
Seriously, name something and post it in the comments!! This loaded cheesy ground turkey and red lentil pasta dish is the adult version. For example, we add white wine, fresh basil, tomatoes, mushrooms, and gluten-free pasta. Let's get to it!
Are you looking for more red lentil pasta dishes? Check out the Plant-Based: Italian Sausage with Spicy Creamy Lentil Pasta recipe. If you are also crazy about pasta like me? Then try the Loaded Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta and Jalapeño Pesto and Argentinian Shrimp Pasta, and Spicy Pesto Chicken Pasta Homemade One-Pot-Meal, for gluten-free use red lentil and chickpeas pasta.
Ingredients and Instructions
When I said loaded, I meant it. But most of the items you probably have anyway, there are a lot of staples here. To begin with, you'll saute onion, bell pepper, garlic, jalapenos, mushrooms, tomatoes, and carrots.
Then, add the tomato paste and white wine. Afterward, add some Italian herb seasoning. However, if you don't have that on hand, use dried oregano or a combination of rosemary, oregano, thyme, and marjoram.
The other spices used are smoked paprika and cumin. However, you can get away with taco, adobo, and Italian seasoning. Then, you'll add salsa.
Additionally, I love to use tomatillo salsa verde and fire-roasted tomato salsa. But your favorite spicy salsa will do. Finally, you'll finish with some shredded cheese; again, check out the notes in the recipe card for more detail because you can use a variety or just one type of cheese.
See the red lentil pasta recipe card for quantities.
Busy Folks - Become a better home cook with cooking tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. In addition, some related detailed steps can be found there.
- Water, Chicken, or Vegetable Broth - You can use water if you don't have any broth. I was able to use water, and it came out tasting great.
- Cooking Wine, Optional - Wine gives the sauce a nice bold finish. But if you don't have it or can't use it. No worries, it will still come out great!
- Salsa - As you can see, salsa was used instead of tomato pasta sauce. For instance, pasta sauce tends to be a bit sweeter. In addition, using fresh tomatoes gave this dish some acidity. Meanwhile, the tomato paste provided sweetness without the extra sugar. And finally, the salsa gave extra heat with a more robust flavor.
- However, if you wish to use tomato pasta sauce, you can replace those three ingredients mentioned above.
- Additionally, my recommended salsas are tomatillo salsa verde and fire-roasted pepper salsas. Sometimes, I also like to mix the two. However, using one over the other on its own is great as well.
- Cheese Selection - Use what you have on hand. For instance, alone or combined with cheddar, Monterey jack, Colby, or Colby jack. You can also use a blended mix, usually labeled "Mexican" or "Fiesta."
- However, if you use mozzarella, mix it with another cheese, like cheddar. For example, using just mozzarella will make your pasta very stringy.
- Jalapenos - Mix up your peppers; add some Fresno chili, Serrano, and Anaheim peppers.
Change Heat Level - Modify the red lentil pasta recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings.
- Cheesy Mixed Mushroom Pasta - Omit the ground turkey and triple up on the mushrooms; you can use a variety of mushrooms as well.
- Ground Chicken or Beef Cheesey Pasta - Don’t like turkey? You can use ground chicken or beef instead.
- Cheesy Orzo Pasta - Do you dare to try it? Replace the lentil pasta with orzo pasta. Yum!
- Cheesy Chicken Chipotle Pasta - Use chipotle peppers in adobo instead, with some seared chicken pieces.
How about some Curry Lentil Turkey Stew for dinner tomorrow?
- Medium Saute Pan - Used for making the one-pot red lentil pasta meal. Because it's wide enough to saute and deep enough to boil and simmer like the All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Sauté Pan with Lid.
Kitchen Must Haves - Find other tools I use here.
- Refrigerator - To store in the fridge, you can place the red lentil pasta mixture in a shallow 2-inch container to cool down quickly. Then, store in an air-tight sealing container. The meal will last up to two days.
- Freezer - Follow the refrigeration process mentioned above. Then, you can place it in the freezer in a labeled, airtight container.
Air Tight Food Containers - I use Glass Food Storage Containers with a plastic clipping lid to store food. For example, I always suggest glass storage containers since you can microwave them and hold food without staining the container, and the glass keeps them at a more stable temperature, which keeps the food fresher longer.
- Why Add Cheese Slowly?
- If you are shredding your own cheese, I suggest combining your 1 cup of cheese with ½ teaspoon of cornstarch to help with a more stable melting.
- Already shredded cheese is usually coated with cellulose to prevent clumping. It also assists in melting into a creamier consistency instead of separating into solids and oil.
- And this is why you will lower your heat in the recipe to prevent separation. For example, you want to keep it stable by slowly adding your cheese.
- What Pasta Shape to Use?
- Whatever is your favorite or that you can find. It is recommended to use ½-inch to 2-inch in size pasta shapes. For example, try using ziti, rigatoni, fussilli, penne, gemelli, catappi, farfalle, or orechiette.
Frequently Asked Questions
Red lentil pasta is low on the glycemic index and a good source of soluble fiber, which helps with heart health by lowering cholesterol levels.
Looking for other pasta recipes like this? Try these:
Looking for other pasta recipes like this? Try these:
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- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat to prevent foodborne illness from contaminated uncooked meats.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
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