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Easy Rigatoni Recipe (Creamy and Gluten Free Option)

Easy Rigatoni Recipe (Creamy and Gluten Free Option)

This One-Pot Creamy Rigatoni Recipe is made with tender rigatoni pasta, ground turkey, fresh veggies, and savory seasonings tossed in a delightful vodka tomato sauce for an easy dinner that will satisfy the whole family. With minimal prep time, a quick cook time, and a total time of less than 30 minutes, it’s the perfect comforting weeknight dinner. Top it off with fresh basil and some shaved Parmesan cheese, and dinner is ready!

Overhead view rigatoni with sausage and topped with shaved Parmesan in white bowls

This post was created in partnership with Primal Kitchen.

Recipe Highlights: Rigatoni Recipe

There’s a lot to love about this creamy rigatoni pasta recipe including:

  • A healthful comfort food dinner full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and nutrients such as vitamin A and vitamin C
  • Naturally dairy-free and gluten-free-friendly
  • Cooks in a single large pot such as a Dutch oven or a very large skillet for minimal prep time and easy clean-up
  • Great to prepare in advance and reheat when you’re ready to eat
  • Avocado oil infuses a rich flavor and healthy fats
  • The use of pre-made pasta sauce makes it easy to assemble, cutting down on prep time and cook time while guaranteeing your pasta dish always has amazing flavor
All ingredients for rigatoni arranged together in small bowls

Ingredients To Make One-Pot Creamy Rigatoni

Here’s what you’ll need to make this rigatoni recipe today:

  • Avocado oil – we love Primal Kitchen avocado oil as a quality-tested, premium oil to add flavor and good fats. May sub olive oil
  • Ground turkey – may sub ground beef or ground sausage, or use ground Italian sausage and omit the additional spices
  • Garlic cloves
  • Seasonings – you’ll need Italian seasoning, crushed fennel, ground sage, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes
  • Zucchini
  • Rigatoni pasta – use gluten-free, if needed. Or, feel free to substitute any other small, tubular noodle shape such as ziti or penne
  • Vodka sauce – we love to use Primal Kitchen No-Dairy Vodka Sauce in this recipe. May sub a 24-ounce jar of pasta sauce, such as Primal Kitchen Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce and then add in 1/4 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • Water – may sub low-sodium chicken broth
  • Fresh spinach
  • Garnishes – fresh basil and shaved Parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese for a little extra calcium

Glass jar of Primal Kitchen Avocado oil with small glass jar filled with avocado oil

Ingredient Spotlight: Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is one of our favorite go-to cooking oils. It has a fairly neutral flavor, making it versatile and easy to use. We love using Primal Kitchen because they test their Avocado Oil for purity, so we always know we’re using the highest quality.

This high heat cooking oil is Non-GMO Project Verified, Keto Certified, Certified Paleo, and Whole30 Approved®.

Save 20% on our favorite premium, quality-tested avocado oil from Primal Kitchen using code REALFOOD20

Shop Our Favorite Avocado Oil

For the complete directions and ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card below. All of our recipes include the nutrition analysis, listing kcals, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, sodium, and more per serving.

Vodka sauce being poured over rigatoni noodles, zucchini, and sausage in skillet
Overhead view rigatoni in skillet

How to Make This Skillet Rigatoni Recipe

Unlike baked rigatoni recipes, this quick stovetop dish comes together with simple ingredients in a single pan with no baking dish required. You don’t even have to drain pasta water!

  1. Cook the turkey: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey, garlic, and seasonings. Sauté and stir until the turkey is cooked through and crumbled. It’s not necessary to drain excess liquid from the pan.
  2. Cook the pasta: Add the zucchini, uncooked pasta, vodka sauce, and the water or broth. Stir the ingredients in the pan, making sure the pasta is covered with the sauce. Cover the pot, and cook the pasta until it is al dente, stirring once or twice.
  3. Add the spinach: Stir in the spinach until it wilts. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm with garnishes, if using.
Overhead view rigatoni in white bowls topped with shaved Parmesan

What Side Dishes Go with Rigatoni?

This One-Pot Creamy Rigatoni Recipe pairs wonderfully with a variety of fresh side dish recipes. We love to pair it with a Copycat Olive Garden Salad for a restaurant-inspired meal at home. And you can never go wrong with a side of garlic bread or Gluten-Free Garlic Cheddar Biscuits.

More Italian-Inspired Recipes To Try

Use gluten free rigatoni. As Registered Dietitians, we recommend using a gluten-free lentil or chickpea pasta for a boost of fiber, protein, and nutrition. 

Since the Primal Kitchen Vodka sauce is dairy-free, simply omit the Parmesan cheese garnish to make this recipe 100% dairy-free.

Servings: 68 servings 1x


  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (we like Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil)
  • 1 lb ground turkey (may substitute ground beef or ground sausage, or use ground Italian sausage and omit the spices below)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground sage
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt 
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into half-moons
  • 8 oz rigatoni pasta (use gluten-free, if needed) 
  • 1 23- to 24-oz jar vodka sauce (we like Primal Kitchen No Dairy Vodka Sauce)*
  • 2 cups water or chicken broth
  • 3 oz fresh spinach (2 large handfuls)
  • Optional garnish: Fresh basil, shaved fresh Parmesan (omit for dairy-free)

  1. In a Dutch oven or very large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. When hot, add the ground turkey, garlic, and all of the seasonings (Italian seasoning through crushed red pepper). Cook and stir until the turkey is cooked through and crumbled, 6-8 minutes. If there is excess liquid, it’s not necessary to drain the pan. 
  2. With the heat still on medium-high, add the zucchini, uncooked pasta, vodka sauce, and the liquid (water or broth). TIP: After adding the vodka sauce to the saucepan, pour the 2 cups water or broth into the empty jar and swirl it around to get out any last bits of the pasta sauce, then pour that into the saucepan)**.
  3. Stir the ingredients in the saucepan so that the pasta is covered with the sauce, then cover the pot and cook for 10-15 minutes, removing the lid to stir the ingredients once or twice. 
  4. After 10 minutes, test a pasta piece to check if it is cooked to your desired doneness. If not, re-cover the pot and cook a few more minutes, as needed.  
  5. When the pasta is cooked to desired doneness, remove the lid and stir in the spinach until it is wilted, about 1 minute.

Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive so we can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.


Use code REALFOOD20 to save 20% on all Primal Kitchen products (these are our favorites). For this recipe, we recommend using the Primal Kitchen No-Dairy Vodka Sauce.

*May sub 1 (24-oz ounce) jar of regular pasta sauce plus ¼ cup half-and-half or heavy cream for the vodka sauce (not dairy free). 

**Primal Kitchen pasta jars have a convenient measure built into the side of the jar. Use that to measure 2 cups of liquid by adding the broth or water directly to the jar, shaking it to get all the pasta sauce still left on the inside of the jar, then pour it all back into the saucepan. 

If using gluten-free pasta, you may need to reduce the pasta cooking time to 6 minutes (taste test at 5 minutes and adjust timing until pasta is cooked to desired doneness). We tested with Banza gluten-free rigatoni, and it was al dente at the 6- to 7-minute mark.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Calories: 380
  • Fat: 16 g
  • (Sat Fat: 3 g)
  • Sodium: 577 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 35 g
  • (Fiber: 4 g
  • Sugar: 7 g)
  • Protein: 22 g
  • Cholesterol: 53 mg


© The Real Food Dietitians

Rigatoni topped with Parmesan cheese in white bowl

Frequently Asked Questions

What can be made from rigatoni pasta

Rigatoni noodles work well in baked pasta recipes or one-pot pasta dishes like this rigatoni recipe. Or, simply cook it according to package directions, and toss it with a meat sauce, your favorite pasta sauce, or a drizzle of oil and crushed tomatoes.

What is the difference between rigatoni and penne?

Rigatoni is larger and wider than penne and has ridges on the outside. Meanwhile, penne is smaller in size and has a diagonal cut at both ends with a smooth texture.

Is rigatoni gluten free?

Traditional rigatoni pasta is not gluten-free as it is made with semolina flour and durum wheat flour, both of which contain gluten.

How long does this rigatoni recipe last?

Once cooked and cooled, leftovers can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. Or, store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Pin It Now To Make It Later

Overhead view white bowl filled with rigatoni with sausage

The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel Cook of Half Acre House.

This is a sponsored post. Although we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always – 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating high-quality recipes and content for you.

For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish a recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words. Link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

Jessie Shafer

Jessie Shafer

Jessie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living near Denver, CO where she splits her time among nearby playgrounds, typing away at her trusty laptop, and heating up her home kitchen with delicious experiments. Her best taste tester is her husband, a Denver firefighter with a well-trained palate. A former magazine editor-in-chief, Jessie has a long career in food publishing and health writing. While she once played centerfield for the Northwestern University softball team, Jessie now prefers her fitness in the way of biking up mountain passes and chasing two busy toddlers (the latter proving to be the more exhausting activity).

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