Italian Polenta Ground Turkey Casserole

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Try one of my all-time favorite recipes for dinner tonight! Layers of creamy polenta, Italian seasoned ground turkey & roasted cherry tomatoes make up this delicious, gluten free turkey casserole. This healthy recipe is also easy to make in under 45 minutes!

Turkey casserole topped with roasted cherry tomatoes

As a food blogger, it’s hard to pick your favorite recipe. Shoot, it’s hard to pick your top 10 favorite recipes, but this one is definitely in my top 10!

I originally shared this recipe on the blog in 2014 and I’ve made it at least 100 times since then! It’s so easy to toss together. I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand and Kurt and I both love it! Bonus, it’s on the healthy side, low in calories and gluten free!

I like to make it for an easy weeknight dinner, then eat the leftovers for lunch throughout the week. It seriously makes the best leftovers! But the great thing about this dish is that it also looks fancy enough to serve at a dinner party.

I made it for one of my best friends and her husband. Their response, “this is the best thing I’ve ever eaten that you’ve made”! Coming from people who have eaten dozens of my recipes over the years, I took this as a huge compliment!

A layer of creamy polenta + basil pesto + Italian seasoned turkey and veggies + roasted balsamic cherry tomatoes = a seriously scrumptious casserole! I can guarantee you this will be one of the best casserole recipes you’ve ever tried!

Ground turkey casserole topped with heirloom cherry tomatoes and chopped fresh parsley

How to Make Ground Turkey Casserole

  • Sauté veggies. Add olive oil to a large skillet on the stove over medium high heat. Sauté onions, mushrooms and garlic in the olive oil.
  • Cook ground turkey. Add ground turkey to the skillet and cook through. Add Italian seasoning. Reduce the heat on the stove and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
    • Quick Tip! Lean ground turkey or extra lean ground turkey breast can be used in this recipe.
  • Assemble the casserole. 
    • Spread prepared polenta in the bottom of a large casserole or baking dish. An 8″ x 10″ casserole dish works well for this casserole.
      • Quick tip! You can purchase prepared polenta at the grocery store, crumble it and spread it in the bottom of the casserole dish. Or you can prepare your own creamy polenta at home before making this dish.
    • Spoon pesto over the polenta in the casserole dish. I typically use basil pesto in this recipe. Kale pesto, spinach pesto or sun dried tomato pesto will also work just fine.
    • Spoon the turkey mixture over the polenta and pesto.
    • In a large bowl, toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour the tomatoes over the turkey in the casserole dish.
  • Bake the casserole. Place the casserole, uncovered, in a 400°F preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with grated parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley or basil, if you’d like.

Ground turkey casserole instructional images

Is this turkey casserole gluten free?

Yes! All of the ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten free. Polenta is corn-based and therefore makes a great addition to a gluten free diet.

Can I use leftover shredded turkey to make this casserole?

Yes. Instead of ground turkey, you can turn this into a leftover turkey casserole using cooked, shredded turkey.

Simply add two cups of cooked, shredded turkey to the sautéed veggies with the Italian seasoning. Let simmer for 5 minutes before adding to the casserole.

How to Reheat a Turkey Casserole

One of my favorite things about this recipe is how delicious the leftovers are! It’s easy to reheat this ground turkey casserole in the microwave or oven.

In the oven, cover the casserole with foil and place in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes. In the microwave, place the casserole in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave for 2 minutes.

How long will this casserole stay good in the refrigerator?

This casserole will stay good in the fridge for 5-7 days. I like to divide the leftovers into 2-3 containers to place in the refrigerator. I then reheat and eat them for lunch throughout the week.

Casserole dish filled with Italian ground turkey, roasted cherry tomatoes and chopped parsley

Try these other easy Italian recipes made in under an hour!

  • Italian Sausage Shells & Cheese – this kicked up version of boxed shells and cheese is so delicious! It’s also a great easy weeknight meal, made in just one pot!
  • Bruschetta Grilled Chicken Zoodle Bowls – have you tried the most popular Italian recipe on the blog? It’s both healthy AND delicious, a winning combination!
  • Italian Meatloaf – seriously THE BEST meatloaf ever! It’s like one giant meatball of goodness and the entire recipe is made in under an hour!
  • Italian Drunken Noodles – this fun spin on a classic Thai noodle dish is guaranteed to become a new family favorite!
Turkey casserole topped with roasted cherry tomatoes
5 from 3 votes
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Italian Polenta Turkey Casserole

Layers of creamy polenta, Italian seasoned ground turkey & roasted cherry tomatoes make up this delicious, healthy, gluten free turkey casserole recipe!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 504 kcal
Author Whitney Bond

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil divided
  • ½ cup onion diced
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 18 oz prepared polenta
  • ½ cup basil pesto click link for homemade recipe
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese optional topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions & mushrooms, saute 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.

  4. Add the ground turkey and cook through.
  5. Add the Italian seasoning to the ground turkey.

  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Place the polenta in the bottom of a baking dish.
  8. Cover with the pesto.
  9. Top with the cooked ground turkey mixture.
  10. In a large bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes with the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
  11. Pour the tomatoes over the turkey.
  12. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

  13. Remove from the oven and top with the parmesan cheese, if you would like.

Recipe Notes

  • You can purchase prepared polenta at the grocery store, usually found near the pasta, or make your own polenta at home before preparing this recipe.
  • This recipe is gluten free.
  • Leftover shredded turkey can be used in place of the ground turkey. Add two cups of cooked, shredded turkey to the sautéed veggies with the Italian seasoning. Simmer on low for 5 minutes.
  • This casserole can be reheated in the oven or microwave. 
    • In the oven, cover the casserole with foil and place in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes.
    • In the microwave, place the casserole in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave for 2 minutes.