Who says you can’t have a cheesy pasta situation on a high protein diet? This broccoli and ground turkey pasta has nearly forty grams of protein per serving with only thirty-eight grams of carbs and eleven grams of fat.
It’s super easy to make, with everything coming together in a single pot. And it makes a big batch that’s perfect for simple weeknight dinners or Sunday meal prep.
While this recipe makes six big servings, you could easily double up on all the ingredients and make my creamy Italian ground turkey soup.
Add some orzo to your shopping list, and you could make my lemon pepper broccoli and ground turkey orzo. Pick up some butter, mushrooms, and sage, and you’ll have everything to make my brown butter ground turkey and mushroom orzo for a full week’s worth of meals. Or if you think tomatoes are missing, be sure to check out my healthy turkey bolognese recipe.
I use a 5.5 quart Dutch oven from MadeIn Cookware for all my Dutch oven recipes. It’s enameled cast iron and works wonders for heat retention and cooking larger dishes like this. Different pots may require slight adjustments to cook time, especially in regards to the pasta.
All right, I’ve included everything else you need to know in the recipe card below. If you enjoy this ground turkey and broccoli pasta, I greatly appreciate recipe reviews!
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
- 8 to 12 oz Broccoli Florets, cut into bite-size pieces*
- 1 pound Ground Turkey
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning
- 2 cloves Garlic, crushed or minced
- 1 Tablespoon Chopped Calabrian Peppers (optional)
- 8 oz Jumbo Pasta Shells
- 3 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 3 oz Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan, freshly grated
For the Ricotta Sauce
- 15 oz (1 3/4 cup) Low Fat Ricotta
- 1/4 cup Milk
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Black Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
- Use a food processor to blend the ricotta, lemon zest, and milk together until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the broccoli and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is vibrant green and slightly browning in spots. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining half tablespoon of oil to the pot, followed by the ground turkey. Brown one side for 3-4 minutes before breaking apart and fully cooking.
- To the fully cooked turkey, add the lemon pepper seasoning, garlic, and Calabrian chiles. Stir together and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute.
- Add the pasta shells, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Cook, uncovered, for 16-20 minutes until the pasta is just shy of al dente and very little to no broth remains. If the broth cooks off too quickly, add another 1/2 cup as needed.
- Turn the heat to low and fold in the parmigiano reggiano, followed by the ricotta sauce and cooked broccoli. (You can add another ounce or two of cheese if your sauce isn't as thick as you'd like.) Garnish with red pepper flakes, black pepper, additional grated parmesan, and lemon juice, if desired.
Nutrition Facts Notes
The macros were calculated with Kroger Private Selection jumbo pasta shells, 99% lean ground turkey, and Lawry's lemon pepper seasoning.
With a high protein pasta like chickpea-based Banza, each serving has 385 calories, 40 grams of protein, 32 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber, and 13 grams of fat.
Swapping low fat ricotta for whole milk ricotta takes each serving to 425 calories, 35 grams of protein, 39 grams of carbs, and 16 grams of fat.
Modifications & Ingredient Substitutions
*Broccoli lovers will want to go with the higher end to have broccoli in every single bite.
The ricotta cheese sauce works fine without blending, but it will have a slightly gritty texture. For the smoothest cheese sauce, blending is necessary.
If you can't find Calabrian peppers, you can use a bit of tomato sauce, sun dried tomatoes, chili garlic sauce or another form of chile paste, or omit altogether.
You can easily turn this dish into a soup by covering the pasta as it cooks and adding a bit of milk to the ricotta sauce. See my cheesy Italian ground chicken soup for an example.
If you'd like a stronger lemon flavor, add fresh lemon zest at the end. I like to start with the zest of just one lemon to avoid an overpowering flavor.
Pan roasting the broccoli is the easiest method, but you can get even better, more evenly roasted broccoli in an air fryer or oven while the pasta cooks. Toss the broccoli florets in olive oil and roast at 450ºF for about 12-15 minutes
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 390Total Fat: 11gCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 3gProtein: 36g