If ground turkey is a freezer staple in your home, this Mexican Ground Turkey Casserole is a must-have for your online recipe box! A delicious Mexican-inspired casserole featuring taco-seasoned ground turkey, a quick-fix tomato sauce, pasta, and Monterrey Jack cheese.
This is a family-friendly dinner you can get on the table with very little effort. After just 15 minutes on the stovetop, the casserole goes in the oven and your work is done. With minimal prep and maximum flavor, you’ll find this a dinner casserole perfect for any night of the week.
GROUND TURKEY CASSEROLE INGREDIENTS
- Taco-Seasoned Ground Turkey
- Canned Tomatoes
- Diced Onion
- Diced Jalapeños
- Monterrey Jack Cheese
- Rigatoni Pasta (or tube-shaped noodles)
Ground turkey is mild in flavor and the perfect vessel for taking on big Mexican flavors. The turkey itself is seasoned with ground beef and once in the casserole dish, is combined with a savory Mexican tomato sauce. This sauce very closely resembles Ranchero Sauce.
ABOUT RANCHERO SAUCE
Ranchero sauce is a smoky tomato sauce featuring onions, jalapeños (or serrano peppers), cumin, and paprika. It’s not spicy in nature, mostly just savory and totally full of flavor. Often times, Ranchero Sauce comes together completely on the stovetop and served over dishes like Huevos Rancheros or Ranchero Chicken, but in this case, the oven will do half the work for us.
In addition to taco-seasoned ground turkey and a quick-fix Ranchero sauce, this casserole also houses Rigatoni pasta (which is perfect for soaking up sauces in baked pasta dishes), and a topping of stretchy Monterrey Jack cheese. It’s very much a Mexican-inspired Ground Turkey Casserole, and it leaves no taste bud untouched.
HOW TO MAKE GROUND TURKEY CASSEROLE
- Cook pasta to al dente.
- Add taco seasoning to ground turkey and brown on the stovetop.
- Remove turkey and add diced onion and jalapeño to the pan. Saute until softened.
- Add crushed tomatoes and spices, and stir.
- Add everything to the casserole dish, stir, and top with cheese.
- Bake until bubbly.
COOK PASTA TO AL DENTE
Because the pasta will continue to cook while it’s in the oven, it’s best if you cook it to al dente. This means the pasta will still have a little bit of bite or “chew” to it. While the pasta is cooking, you can easily knock out your turkey and veggie to-do’s.
ONE PAN…SO MUCH FLAVOR.
Once the turkey is browned, you’ll use a slotted spoon to move it aside, and the onion and jalapeño will cook in the same pan, picking up all that flavor left behind by the taco-seasoned ground turkey. Then, once the vegetables have softened, you’ll add in the crushed tomatoes and seasoning.
BAKE UNTIL BUBBLY
At this point, the turkey, the pasta, and the sauce get transferred to the casserole dish, topped with Monterrey Jack cheese, and baked to bubbly perfection.
The first time I put this casserole on the table, I received zero complaints from two young children and one very picky grown-man husband — this is when you know you’ve got a dinnertime winner on your hands, folks. My little family managed to gobble the whole thing up in just two nights, and it’s one of those dishes we make again and again.
You are guaranteed dinnertime success with this Mexican Ground Turkey Casserole recipe! Loaded with flavor, quick to prep, and a meal the entire family will love. Please, enjoy!
5 MORE GROUND TURKEY RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Easy Patty Melts feature quick-cooking ground turkey patties topped with smoky cheese, caramelized onions, served on wheat toast.
- Healthy Taco Salad with taco-seasoned ground turkey, crisp lettuce, tortilla strips, a homemade Catalina dressing and more!
- Green Chili Turkey Burger are made fast on the stovetop, speckled with canned green chilis and topped with a quick and easy avocado-mayonnaise spread.
- Turkey and Black Bean Tostadas are an easy Tex-Mex dinner idea, featuring ground turkey taco meat, a black bean puree, Monterrey Jack cheese, and fresh vegetables.
- Turkey Ricotta Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash is the perfect healthy substitute for spaghetti pasta and ground beef meatballs!
A ground turkey casserole featuring a quick and easy Ranchero sauce with hot peppers and canned tomatoes, and topped with Monterrey Jack cheese.
- 1 pound Rigatoni pasta
- 3 tablespoons Canola oil separated
- 1 pound 85/15 ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 white onion finely diced
- 4 jalapeños stem removed, seeded and finely diced
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
- 2 cups freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375° and have ready a greased 9x13” casserole dish.
Place a large pot of heavily salted water over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook to al dente according to package instructions. Strain and add to casserole dish.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large saute pan or Dutch oven and allow to come to temperature. Add turkey and taco seasoning, and break apart the meat, sautéing about 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the turkey from the pan using a slotted spoon and disperse evenly over pasta.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, followed by the diced onions and jalapeños. Saute for 6-8 minutes, or until softened. Add in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Stir to combine and carefully pour over the pasta and turkey.
Add half of the cheese to the casserole and gently stir everything to combine. Scatter the remaining cheese across the top and bake, uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the casserole is hot all the way through. Serve and enjoy.
Would pair well with: