Need a super easy weeknight dinner? This Meaty Marinara Pasta Recipe has a great sauce, is meal prep friendly, and quick to make!
If there’s one thing that makes it onto our menu every single week, it’s pasta dishes. Pasta is a family favorite around here.
Doesn’t matter whether it’s mac and cheese, Chicken Alfredo, whatever. Pasta is cheap and versatile. And even Allison loves it- even though she only eats it with butter and Parmesan cheese.
Jarred pasta sauce is great too, but sometimes I like to make my own homemade spaghetti sauce.
This Meaty Marinara Pasta was a HUGE hit with me and John. And with just a few ingredients (Most of which you can keep in your pantry), you’ll definitely add this to your rotation of weeknight dinners! The meaty sauce adds plenty of protein and is easy to meal prep for future dinners.
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need:
Lean ground turkey/ lean ground beef
Meat: I used ground turkey in this, but feel free to use another ground meat, Italian sausage, or other favorite meat.
Pasta sauce: If you’re short on time, feel free to use your favorite jar of tomato sauce /pasta sauce. If you’re not a fan of red sauce, use a creamy Alfredo!
Seasonings: Use whatever you have at home. Other suggestions are garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning.
Pasta: I used penne for this dinner, but usually I use whatever is available- including partial boxes of multiple kinds of pasta! To make this lower in carbs, you can also make zucchini noodles.
Vegetables: Different vegetables can be cooked inside the sauce to add flavor and stretch the meal! You can add green pepper or other bell pepper, fresh mushrooms, or even shredded carrots or zucchini.
How to Make
In a large pan, add the ground turkey and onion and cook on medium heat until the meat is fully cooked.
Add the garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes, then drain any excess grease. You may not have to do this if you have leaner meat.
Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Stir and cover, letting it simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes. During this time, prepare your favorite pasta.
Divide the sauce and pour over the pasta (Or stir all the pasta into the sauce) and enjoy!
How to Store
I like to divide this dish into individual food storage containers so we can grab them for an easy lunch the next day.
It’ll stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days.
How to Freeze
Did you know that you can freeze pasta and spaghetti sauce? This is one of those great recipes that’s freezer friendly. I’ve made big batches of meals just like this for future use as easy meals, and it’s SO helpful.
The easiest way to freeze this delicious recipe is to divide into individual freezer-safe containers. Make sure you label them with the date, then place them in the freezer.
If you just want to freeze the meaty marinara sauce, pour it all into a gallon-size freezer bag and lay it flat in the freezer.
Typically, meals like this will stay fresh in the freezer up to 3 months. They’re still safe to eat after that, but they do risk getting freezer burn.
What to Serve as a Side
In addition to sprinkling Parmesan or a generous amount of mozzarella cheese, you can serve this pasta alongside many great sides! Adding a vegetable will help make this a complete meal, but there are other options too. Here are my favorites:
- Side salad
- Steamed broccoli
- Garlic bread
This is SUCH an easy recipe that the whole family will enjoy. Add this to your meal plan next week and see what you think!
- 1 pound ground beef or turkey
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teasoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 8 ounces dried pasta (About 1/2 a box)
- In a large pan, add the ground turkey and onion and cook on medium heat until the meat is fully cooked.
- Add the garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes, then drain any excess grease. You may not have to do this if you have leaner meat.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Stir and cover, letting it simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes. During this time, prepare your favorite pasta.
- Divide the sauce and pour over the pasta (Or stir all the pasta into the sauce) and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 530Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 577mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 46g
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.