by Olena

Low Carb Ground Turkey Skillet with Pesto

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Olena Osipov
5 from 72 votes

This Ground Turkey Skillet with zucchini, tomatoes and pesto is delicious 30 minute low carb ground turkey recipe that will become your family’s favourite! Minimum ingredients and effort with maximum flavour.

It came to life after wildly popular among readers Tex Mex chicken and zucchini and Caprese chicken and zucchini skillets. And flavors “borrowed” from this vegetarian healthy pasta recipe.

Low Carb Ground Turkey Zucchini Skillet with Pesto

Ground turkey skillet with zucchini and pesto is summer or year round must-do! This low carb ground turkey recipe is loaded with lean meat, juicy tomatoes, crunchy zucchini, store-bought pesto and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. And it all healthy! What else could you ask for when you feel tired?!

The other day was very-very hot and I just couldn’t bare standing at the stove for more than 15 minutes – usually that is when I use one of my summer Instant Pot recipes. I had originally planned to make zucchini boats but that’s next time when I feel fancy and a thought of oven warming up my kitchen isn’t a death sentence.

I would have loved to feast on cold Pad Thai zucchini noodles but that wouldn’t suffice for any of my boys’ appetite. All of the above mentioned circumstances called for a skillet. Chop-chop, stir and dinner is served. I love this type of recipes – taco skillet, chicken burrito skillet, sweet potato skillet!

Ingredients for Low Carb Ground Turkey Recipe

There is detailed recipe card below.

  • Ground turkey: 2 lbs of lean or extra lean ground turkey or even chicken. Use 1 lb of ground turkey meat for even healthier skillet.
  • Zucchini: 2.5 to 3 lbs dark or light green or yellow zucchini or squash.
  • Tomatoes: I like to use 1 pint of sliced in half grape or cherry tomatoes. Regular tomatoes will work too, they just break down more and form fresh tomato sauce like in this chicken breast and tomatoes.
  • Pesto: 3/4 cup store bought or any homemade pesto (hint: kale pesto). This recipe is perfect for using up leftover pesto from chicken with pesto (hint: that Costco size jar you bought).
  • Parmesan cheese: It is best to use freshly grated Parmesan and not from a shaker. More flavor and healthier this way.
  • Onion: Can be replaced with about 1 tbsp of onion powder or flakes.

How to Make Ground Turkey Skillet

I am using a very large skillet about 14″ wide to hold ground turkey and veggies. You can cut back on zucchini or turkey a bit if your skillet is 12″, smaller or not deep enough.

  • Cook onion: Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Cook meat: Add ground turkey and cook for 5-7 minutes, constantly breaking into pieces and stirring.
  • Cook zucchini but don’t overcook: Add zucchini, stir and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not overcook and stop cooking before you think zucchini is done – helps to avoid mushy squash.
  • Add pesto and cheese: Turn off heat, add tomatoes and pesto, then stir. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Tips and Variations

  • This recipe makes a lot: And since you can’t freeze leftovers, if you are cooking for 2 people, I recommend to cut recipe in half. Unless you are good with leftovers for 3 days.
  • Make sure you have proper cooking vessel: I use 14″ Green Pan, this 12 ” skillet might work too because it seems deeper. Also Dutch oven would be great!
  • Stop cooking zucchini before they look ready: Zucchini contain 90% if not more water, so to avoid mushy veggies and ground turkey, cook as per recipe and do not overcook. Stop cooking while squash still looks firm and crisp, it will get there with residual heat.
  • Mozzarella zucchini skillet: Instead of Parmesan cheese you can add slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and let them melt under the lid. Or even crumbled feta cheese or regular Mozzarella cheese.
  • Other meat: Ground chicken, beef, venison or lamb will work as well.

How to Serve, Store and Reheat

Serving low carb: Serve this ground turkey and veggies on its own or over a bed of spring mix, shredded lettuce or kale.

Full meal: For all my boys, I cooked young potatoes with dill as low carb isn’t for them. Brown rice, quinoa or whole wheat spaghetti would be good too.

Storing: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I do not recommend to freeze this dish as zucchini do not freeze well. If this recipe is too much, cut it in half.

Reheating: Reheat on a skillet with a splash of water while covered. Simmer on low, check and stir every 3 minutes until warmed through.

This 30 minute ground turkey zucchini skillet is delicious, easy and perfect dinner idea for a zucchini season!

More Favorite Zucchini Recipes

Low Carb Ground Turkey Zucchini Skillet with Pesto
Low Carb Ground Turkey Skillet with Pesto

Low Carb Ground Turkey Skillet with Pesto

This Ground Turkey Skillet with zucchini, tomatoes and pesto is delicious 30 minute low carb ground turkey recipe that will become your family's favourite! Minimum ingredients and effort with maximum flavour.
4.98 from 72 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American Ukrainian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 356kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs lean or extra lean ground turkey
  • 2.5-3 lbs zucchini cut into thin slices
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes cut in halves
  • 3/4 cup pesto
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 tsp oil

Instructions

  • Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Low Carb Ground Turkey Skillet with Pesto
  • Add ground turkey and cook for 5-7 minutes, constantly breaking into pieces and stirring.
    Low Carb Ground Turkey Skillet with Pesto
  • Add zucchini, stir and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Low Carb Ground Turkey Skillet with Pesto
  • Turn off heat, add tomatoes and pesto, then stir.
    Low Carb Ground Turkey Skillet with Pesto
  • Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve on its own or over greens for a low carb meal, or with brown rice or quinoa for complete with complex carbs meal.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Do not freeze as zucchini do not freeze well. If this recipe is too much, cut it in half.

    Reheating: Reheat on a skillet with a splash of water while covered. Simmer on low, check and stir every 3 minutes until warmed through.

      Video

      Notes

      • Ground turkey: Use 1 lb of ground turkey meat for even healthier skillet.
      • Tomatoes: Regular tomatoes will work too, they just break down more.
      • Parmesan cheese: It is best to use freshly grated Parmesan and not from a shaker. More flavor and healthier this way.
      • Onion: Can be replaced with about 1 tbsp of onion powder or flakes.
      • This recipe makes a lot: And since you can’t freeze leftovers, if you are cooking for 2 people, I recommend to cut recipe in half. Unless you are good with leftovers for 3 days.
      • Make sure you have proper cooking vessel: I use 14″ Green Pan, this 12 ” skillet might work too because it seems deeper. Also Dutch oven would be great!
      • Stop cooking zucchini before they look ready: Zucchini contain 90% if not more water, so to avoid mushy veggies and ground turkey, cook as per recipe and do not overcook. Stop cooking while squash still looks firm and crisp, it will get there with residual heat.
      • Mozzarella zucchini skillet: Instead of Parmesan cheese you can add slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and let them melt under the lid. Or even crumbled feta cheese or regular Mozzarella cheese.
      • Other meat: Ground chicken, beef, venison or lamb will work as well.

      Nutrition

      Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 510mg | Potassium: 1153mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1711IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 2mg
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      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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