Lemon Pesto Turkey Pasta

Leftover turkey anyone? Welcome to my new favorite way of putting turkey leftovers to good use. This is a quick and easy “carbonara” style pasta dish, with bow tie pasta, onions, chopped cooked turkey, and a couple of eggs mixed with basil pesto and lemon zest to help make a creamy sauce.

So good! I ate the whole batch. Not in one sitting, mind you, as much as I wanted to, but over several days. It reheats well. I used prepared basil pesto, but any good green pesto would work well, as long as it includes Parmesan cheese and garlic.

Lemon Pesto Turkey Pasta

Lemon Pesto Turkey Pasta Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4


  • Salt
  • 2 eggs (large)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
  • 1/2 pound of farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaping cup of chopped onion (about one medium onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey meat (leftover turkey thigh meat works great)
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1 Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp of salt for every 2 quarts of water.  (While the water is coming to a boil, prep the ingredients to save time.)

2 In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and pesto. Set aside.

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3 Add the pasta to the boiling water. The pasta should take 10 minutes to cook to al dente, cooked through but still a little firm. Cook on a rolling boil, uncovered.

lemon-pesto-turkey-pasta-3 lemon-pesto-turkey-pasta-4

4 While the pasta is cooking, cook the onions in a large sauté pan in olive oil on medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and chopped cooked turkey meat. Cook until heated through, then remove from heat.

5 When the pasta is ready, reserve 1/2 a cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.

lemon-pesto-turkey-pasta-5 lemon-pesto-turkey-pasta-6

6 Add the hot, drained pasta to the pan with the onions and turkey. Pour the egg mixture over everything and quickly stir to combine. The heat of the pasta will cook the eggs sufficiently, though keep the pan off the heat or the eggs in the sauce will curdle.

Salt to taste (depending on the saltiness of your leftover turkey and the saltiness of the pesto, you may not need any additional salt). Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to serve. (If you want, sprinkle with a little fresh lemon juice as well.) Add back a little of the reserved pasta water if you want the pasta a little more loose, or if it is too dry.

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Easy Roasted Lemon Pesto Turkey from Sarah's Cucina Bella

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Showing 4 of 23 Comments

  • Rebecca Day

    Another good looking Recipe, for my left over Turkey.

  • Becki's Whole Life

    I am so not hungry right now, but this actually sounds really, really good! Very fresh tasting and the pasta dish is so different from what we ate today so it sounds really yummy right now!

  • Martha

    Sounds wonderful! But why do we reserve 1/2 a cup of the pasta cooking water?

  • Liz

    Thank you for the nice recipe.

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