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 Recipe

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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.

lemon-pesto-turkey-pasta-1 lemon-pesto-turkey-pasta-2a

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.

Links:

Easy Roasted Lemon Pesto Turkey from Sarah's Cucina Bella

Lemon Pesto Turkey Pasta on Simply Recipes

22 Comments

    • Elise

      Hi Martha, thanks for the reminder, I had forgotten to mention to add a little of the pasta water back into the dish if the pasta seems too dry or you want the whole thing more loose. Fixed now.

  1. Barbara Perry

    Made this for supper – it was very easy and definitely addicting!! A keeper for sure! Thanks for a great recipe,,,,,, Barb

  2. Aaron

    This was quick, easy and great! I’ll probably be making it with leftover chicken on a regular basis.

    Elise, I’ve been making recipes from your site for over 5 years now (your mom’s stuffing was the first), and they have all been so solid! I know I never have to pre-test anything if I have folks coming over; it’s evident you’ve done all the testing out any cook would need. Thanks for all the work you put into this! :)

  3. Ellen

    So happy to have found this recipe – used the left over dark meat turkey tonight in this delicious and satisfying dish. It was a big hit. Love to find creative ways to use leftovers rather than just having the same meal all over again. Thank you, Elise!!

  4. Julie

    Made this tonight for supper and it was great! We halved the recipe and used penne pasta. After tossing everything together, sprinkled on shredded Parmesan cheese and put the pan under the broiler to melt.

  5. Olga

    Many thanks for the recipe! All family simply delighted. Unfortunately my English is bad therefore it is compelled to write through the translator. Very few good qualitative recipes on the Internet. Personally to you thanks. I will wait for new recipes! Yours faithfully Olga

  6. stephieZ

    Since I still have turkey left over, despite making chipolte turkey pozole (my favorite way to use up turkey), I will be trying this recipe out later today. I’m sure it will be great.

  7. Anne Jacobs

    This was delicious! The lemon zest really sings. I am cooking for the construction crew building my deck this week and this dish was a solid hit. Many thanks,

  8. Jean Binder

    This recipe was easy and an amazingly good combination, BUT I got salmonella from it even though I stirred in the eggs immediately after draining and adding the hot hot noodles. The eggs cooked and got warm, but apparently not warm enough. To avoid this, I would want to return it to the heat or put in the microwave. Since it was all mixed, I don’t think the curdling would have been significant at all…but eggs today are just not safe unless thoroughly cooked.

  9. Sarah

    Loved this recipe! I found some excellent ready-made basil pesto at Whole Foods, and used pasteurized egg whites instead of the egg. This would also be great with sundried tomatoes!

  10. Alexandria Snyder

    Thank you for this recipe. I was looking for a pasta dish with turkey when I came across your recipe. I made it tonight. Not only was it quick to assemble (very important for a weekday dinner) but my husband and I really liked it.

Post a comment

Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.

Some HTML is OK. URLs are automatically converted to links. Line breaks are automatically converted to paragraphs. The following HTML tags are allowed: a, abbr, acronym, b, blockquote, cite, code, del, em, i, q, strike, strong