This Turkey Kielbasa Pasta Bake is an easy, creamy comfort food that the whole family will love! Turkey kielbasa and penne pasta tossed in a rich, flavorful cream sauce and topped with gooey mozzarella.
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As you know, I love coming up with ways I can take classic comfort foods (like a hearty baked penne pasta!) and turn them into a something that’s healthier and lighter, but just as delicious.
One of my favorite ways to lighten up a recipe is to use turkey! It’s healthy, it’s a great source of lean protein, and it can be cooked and served in so many different ways, whether we’re talking air fryer turkey nuggets, turkey pot pie, turkey meatballs, grilled turkey burgers, turkey sloppy joes, you name it.
This Turkey Kielbasa Pasta Bake recipe is a lightened up version of a classic. It’s made with broth and milk instead of heavy cream and turkey kielbasa for a leaner option. It’s an easy, healthier dinner that the whole family will love!
For more quick and easy fall turkey recipes, visit ThinkTurkey.ca.
Ingredients for Turkey Kielbasa Pasta Bake
- Butter: I like to use salted butter. If you use unsalted butter, you may want to add more salt yourself, but you can taste the sauce before adjusting the seasonings.
- Onion and Garlic: cooked in butter to create an aromatic base for the cream sauce.
- Italian Seasoning, Salt, and Black Pepper: a simple trio of seasonings that adds another layer of flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour: helps thicken the sauce.
- Whole Milk and Vegetable Broth: you can swap the milk with half-and-half to give it a richer flavor if you prefer.
- Penne Pasta: be sure to cook the pasta al dente according to package directions so it doesn’t overcook in the oven. Feel free to use any other short pasta shape instead!
- Turkey Kielbasa: halved and sliced before incorporating into the pasta. No need to cook it first. Kielbasa is already cooked!
- Mozzarella Cheese: melted over the top of the pasta for a gooey, cheesy finish.
How to make this turkey kielbasa pasta bake
This baked penne pasta recipe is the perfect quick and easy throw-together meal!
- Make the sauce: Cook the onion, garlic, and seasonings in melted butter over medium-high heat. Add in the flour, then whisk in the milk and broth. Cook until thickened.
- Make the pasta: Cook the penne pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain, then combine the cooked pasta and finished sauce with sliced kielbasa.
- Bake: Place the mixture in a greased baking dish, top with shredded cheese, and bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes.
Pasta Bake FAQs
Kielbasa is a type of lightly smoked sausage that originated in Poland. It’s typically made with pork or a combination of pork and beef. However, it can also be made using other types of meat!
In this baked penne pasta recipe, we’re using turkey kielbasa. It’s healthier and leaner but with all of the same smoky and spicy flavor!
Yes! Turkey kielbasa is already cooked, so all you have to do is warm it up and it’s ready to go.
If you choose to do so, you can brown the kielbasa in a hot skillet with oil before adding it to the pasta. This isn’t totally necessary but does add a nice crisp that contrasts deliciously with the creamy pasta.
This turkey kielbasa pasta bake is delicious on its own or served with an easy side dish or two. Try it with a simple side salad, a scoop of roasted or steamed veggies (Easy Broccoli Salad is one of our favorites!), or a side of garlic bread to soak up the creamy sauce.
Absolutely! See my detailed tips for making ahead and freezing in the section below.
Make ahead and storing
To prep the pasta bake ahead of time, simply assemble as instructed but leave off the cheese. Cover and place in the fridge up to 24 hours. To freeze, assemble as directed, leaving the cheese off, then freeze for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to serve, thaw in the fridge if frozen, top with cheese, then bake as directed (I like to add a splash of water or broth before baking so that it doesn’t dry out). You may have to add a little bit of time since the assembled pasta will be cold.
Leftover baked pasta will last in an airtight container for in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen then microwave or warm on the stove until heated through.
More baked pasta recipes you’ll love
- Baked Spaghetti
- Baked Ziti with Italian Turkey Sausage
- Rigatoni Pasta Bake
- Baked Tortellini with Turkey and Vegetables
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Turkey Kielbasa Pasta Bake
- ¼ cup salted butter
- 1 small onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk (you can use half and half for a richer flavor)
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 3 cups dry penne pasta (high fibre if desired) 275 grams
- 2 cups turkey kielbasa (halved and sliced) 280 grams
- 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F if baking right away (optional: you can also cover and refrigerate or freeze for another day). Lightly grease a 9×13" baking dish.
- Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent. Stir in garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and cook 1 minute.
- Stir in the flour until no white streaks remain. Cook for 1 minute.
- Whisk in the milk and broth, and cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. This should take between 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the penne pasta to al dente in a large pot of boiling, salted water (according to package directions). Drain.
- Combine cooked pasta, thickened sauce, and sliced kielbasa in baking dish and stir well.
- Top with shredded cheese and bake until bubbly, about 20-25 minutes. You can also place in the refrigerator to cool, then cover and refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 3 months.
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