Mint Pesto Pasta with Ground Turkey and Arugula

Mint pesto is such a pensive condiment …

Pesto Turkey Arugula Pasta 4

I had a bunch of mint that was on its last leg, so before the whole thing went bad I impulsively dumped it all into my food processor and then scrambled around the kitchen looking for additional items to make a pesto. I didn’t have any more greens at the time, so this pesto is admittedly more parmesan and pecans than anything else (no problem as far as I’m concerned).

Pesto Turkey Arugula Pasta 3

I can’t say that I have an official recipe for this, because I made it up as I went, but basically it’s: fresh mint, pecans, parmesan, a clove of garlic, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and extra virgin olive oil. Blend it all up until it’s your preferred consistency. Then put it in a cute jar and admire it from afar.

Pesto Turkey Arugula Pasta 6

I decided to use my pesto right away, so that night I made a huge batch of pasta for the family. I also made this up as I went, but I’ll give you a basic rundown.

Pesto Turkey Arugula Pasta 1

Mint Pesto Pasta with Ground Turkey and Arugula

Yield: this makes quite a lot of pasta, so halving it would be plenty for 4. 


  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Small white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 boxes of whole wheat penne pasta (12 oz. each)
  • Pint of grape tomatoes, halved
  • Couple of handfuls of arugula (i.e. rocket)
  • Mint-pesto pasta (loose recipe above)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper


Bring large sauté pan to medium heat and pour olive oil in. Drop chopped onion in and cook until nice and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Place turkey in pan and carefully break up into small pieces as you cook the meat. Stir frequently until cooked all the way through. Carefully placed lid on pan and drain any excess liquid from the turkey into the sink by making a tiny crack between the lid and pan. Place pan back on burner and add minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat down to low and add grape tomatoes and arugula. Let cook just until tomatoes start to break down slightly and arugula begins to wilt.

Meanwhile, bring large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add a good handful of salt. Then dump pasta in and cook according to box directions (usually 10 minutes or so for al dente). Stir frequently to ensure pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Before draining, scoop out about a cup of the starchy cooking water and set aside. Drain pasta and then place back in pot on the burner. Turn heat down to low.

Add meat mixture and 1/2 cup of pesto to the pot of pasta. Add in about half of the starchy cooking liquid and stir over low heat so everything can meld together. Add more liquid and pesto, as needed, until the pasta is creamy looking and the noodles are well saturated.

Serve pasta in a big bowl with fresh arugula scattered over the top.

Pesto Turkey Arugula Pasta 2

Pesto Turkey Arugula Pasta 7

One thought on “Mint Pesto Pasta with Ground Turkey and Arugula

  1. Pingback: 20 Ground Turkey Recipes You've Never Tried Before | Muscle For Life

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