One pan Ground Turkey and Zucchini Skillet with tomatoes and pesto is a delicious 30 minute low carb recipe that will become your family’s favorite! Minimum ingredients and effort with maximum flavor.

This dish came to life after reader favorites Tex Mex chicken and zucchini and Caprese chicken and zucchini skillets. And flavors “borrowed” from this vegetarian healthy pasta recipe.

Low carb ground turkey and zucchini skillet with pesto and tomatoes in skillet.

Ground turkey and zucchini skillet with pesto is a 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.

The other day was very-very hot and I just couldn’t bare standing at the stove for more than 15 minutes.

I had originally planned to make zucchini boats but that’s next time when I feel fancy and the thought of the 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 an easy skillet meal.

Chop-chop, stir and a healthy dinner is served.

I love these type of recipes and so does my family, taco skillet and Tex Mex sweet potato skillet just to name a few!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Turkey zucchini skillet is healthy and made in one pan! What else could you ask for after a busy day?! Here are some other highlights:

  • Low carb: Protein packed and can fit a variety of diets including keto, paleo and Whole 30.
  • Flavorful: Simple fresh ingredients that are naturally gluten free and grain free!
  • Lean: Lower in fat from lean ground turkey and vegetables!
  • Easy: One skillet, 30 minutes and perfect for weeknight healthy dinner ideas!
Ground turkey with zucchini, tomatoes and pesto garnished with basil in a skillet.

Ingredients for Ground Turkey Skillet

Simple ingredients will make this one pot meal a new family favorite! And bonus this recipe is perfect for using up leftover pesto from pesto chicken (hint: that Costco size jar you bought).

  • Ground turkey: 2 lbs of lean or extra lean ground turkey or even ground chicken. Use 1 lb ground turkey meat for even healthier skillet.
  • Zucchini: 2.5 to 3 lbs dark or light green zucchini or use yellow summer 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.
  • Pesto: 3/4 cup store bought or any homemade pesto (hint: kale pesto).
  • 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 and Zucchini Skillet

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

Chopped onion in skillet.

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.

Ground turkey in large skillet.

Cook meat: Add ground turkey and cook for 5-7 minutes, constantly breaking into pieces and stirring.

Ground turkey and chopped zucchini in skillet.

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. It helps to avoid mushy squash.

Add pesto and cheese: Turn off heat, add tomatoes and pesto, then stir. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Substitutions

  • Cheese: 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 shredded Mozzarella cheese. Try zucchini lasagna, next!
  • Veggies: Substitute some of the zucchini for some other garden veggies such as bell pepper or green beans.
  • Other meat: Ground chicken, ground beef, venison or lamb will work as well. Depending on how lean it is, you may need to drain excess fat.
  • Red pepper flakes: Add a pinch for some heat.

Tips for Best Results

  • 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 contains 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.

FAQs

How to serve this low carb ground turkey skillet dinner?

Serve this ground turkey and veggies on its own or over a bed of spring mix, shredded lettuce or kale. In the fall, I have served it over spaghetti squash as well for a low carb idea.

For all my boys, I cooked young potatoes with dill as low carb isn’t for them. Instant Pot brown rice or Instant Pot quinoa would be great for some complex carbs.

Can I substitute the tomatoes?

Not a tomato fan, no problem! Use bell peppers or top with avocado at the end.

Should I salt the zucchini to remove moisture?

No need to, unless you want the extra step.

How to Store

Storing: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days as meal prep for healthy lunch ideas.

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.

More Healthy Ground Turkey Recipes

Alternately, browse 45+ delicious healthy zucchini recipes!

Low carb ground turkey skillet garnished with parmesan cheese.
Low carb ground turkey and zucchini skillet with pesto.

Low Carb Ground Turkey and Zucchini Skillet

One pan low carb Ground Turkey and Zucchini Skillet with tomatoes and pesto ready in 30 minutes!
4.97 from 89 votes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 356
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

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.
  • Add ground turkey and cook for 5-7 minutes, constantly breaking into pieces and stirring.
  • Add zucchini, stir and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn off heat, add tomatoes and pesto, then stir.
  • Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve on its own or over greens for a low carb meal, or with Instant Pot brown rice or Instant Pot quinoa for complete with complex carbs meal.

Video

Notes

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

Nutrition

Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 510mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just make your ground turkey and zucchini recipe and it was delicious I add some garlic and I made it exactly as you did thank you for such healthy and delicious recipe.

  2. 4 stars
    Once I found pesto, it was easy peasy. I normally use IP but this was easy in a large skillet. I added a little minced garlic to the onion — I love garlic. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    This will be one of my new go to favorites, especially with zucchini coming fresh out of the garden. So much flavor, loved it!

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