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.

      138 comments on “Low Carb Ground Turkey Skillet with Pesto

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      1. 5 stars
        We are trying to eat low carb more often and this recipe was easy to prepare and so tasty! I am enjoying all of your recipes. It makes meal prep much easier and I know the meals will be healthy and delicious! Thank you!

          1. 5 stars
            I made this for dinner tonight. HOMERUN! My family looked up at me after their first bites and said “What is in this?” It was easy and everyone is happy! ❤️

            The best part was that my husband can’t eat tomatoes due to tummy issues. I scooped some out for him and then added them in for the rest of us. I love tomatoes so this was the cherry on top for me!!!

      2. 5 stars
        I made this for dinner last night and my husband and I truly enjoyed it! Definitely going to make this again!

      3. 5 stars
        I like being creative and I actually make this all the time and found the exact recipe lol. I use for tacos with yellow corn tortillas yum!

      4. 5 stars
        I just made this for our dinner tonight because I had some leftover ground turkey. It was absolutely delicious.I did make some adjustments because when I went shopping I only bought two large zucchini for 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey and I needed three. So I added in 1 cup of chopped mushrooms and 1/2 half of a green pepper chopped which I added to the onions prior to adding the meat. I also had some leeks so I did half and a sweet yellow onion and a half leeks. It easily made five servings. And it was juicy and especially flavorful with the burst of cherry tomatoes.

          1. 5 stars
            This recipe is incredibly simple and has the the benefits of being both fast and healthy. I served it with Jasmine rice and my two year old and four year old loved it! Who doesnt love pesto. Thank you so much for this yummy recipe. Perfect for weeknight dinners.

            1. I agree about pesto…it’s amazing. But what’s even more amazing is that this recipe is kid approved at your house! WIN!

      5. 5 stars
        Oh my goodness! This was absolutely delicious. Definitely one of those recipes I’ll make over and over again.

      6. 5 stars
        I have been meaning to leave a review for this. I have cooked it several times now.
        It has become our go-to quick, easy and healthy meal. We LOVE it! Thank you so much.

      7. 5 stars
        Simple and yet very delicious! I have cooked it several times and shared the food and recipe with friends. What a hit!
        Thank you so much.

      8. 5 stars
        I made this earlier this week and both my husand and I liked it very much. I added fresh spinach because I had to use it before it went bad and used shredded mozzarella instead of parmesan. So easy and delicious! I served the leftovers the second night over quinoa which was also very good. Definitely a keeper!

      9. 5 stars
        Highly recommend this recipe it’s absolutely delicious and the best part it takes the any effort to be made. I enjoyed it with a side of rice and some arugula salad. I had leftovers which I definitely took advantage of that and the next day we had pasta with the leftover toppings.

      10. I’m trying to meal prep and I’m having a hard time getting the right serving size of this dish. Do you have a healthy serving for 1 serving? Like 1cup or 3 1/4cups ?

      11. 5 stars
        I made this tonight and was so happy with the result. It was bursting with flavor and color! My son is not a fan of zucchini but he loved it and went back for seconds. I had mine over a bed of microwavable brown rice. It was a quick and fresh meal. So easy. Definitely adding this one to my repertoire and looking forward to trying your other recipes. Thank you for this!

      12. 5 stars
        Loved this dish! I followed the steps exactly. You are so right about the cook time for the zucchini. It was perfect. Great flavor. Will make it again and can’t wait to send it to my sister.

      13. 5 stars
        WOW!!! So simple, so delicious. A one pot wonder:) We have made this several times now, and at my daughter’s suggestion have also substituted spinach for the zucchini which was also fantastic. We had a small portion of the spinach version leftover and it made fantastic omelets. This will be served regularly at our house and I have shared the recipe with my foodie family and friends. Thank you!

      14. 5 stars
        Super fast and yummy. I used Roma tomatoes and extra onion but recipe looked like the picture. All three of my male family members loved it. Super easy clean up. Thx!

      15. 5 stars
        This is an excellent dish. I made homemade pesto (have a large plant in my garden) and followed the recipe. The only thing I did different was I sauteed the zucchini in a separate skillet since I had so much of it. Served this over smashed potatoes but rice or pasta would work too (with pasta I would save some pesto to add to it). My husband and I loved it. This is a good “go to” recipe during the summer months when you don’t want to use your oven. Will definitely make again. Thank you Olena!

      16. 5 stars
        Great recipe for me to use with all the zucchini I have grown! Thank you again, Olena, for saving my dinner dilemma!

      17. Hello, the other day I found a recipe on your site that I wanted to make. I printed it out and wrote a grocery list but now I cant find the recipe and wonder if you can help me. I found it on the place you have 45 healthy recipes. I threw the recipe I printed out by accident but I believe it had broccoli, green beans and parmesan cheese. I think it was an oven dish. Iv searched your recipes and cannot find it anywhere. I would be appreciative of any help. Thank you very much. It wasnt the recipe I am posing at.

      18. 5 stars
        Made a version using this as inspiration and the family loves it. I sautéed onion and sweet peppers with the ground turkey used veggie seasoning and in an separate pan I softened some onion and added the zucchini added 2 tomatoes sliced and a small container of spinach, also used the veggie seasoning. Mixed together, using veggie pesto and lemon juice….

      19. 5 stars
        This was a winner. It’s the first time I used ground turkey. The pesto really made it. The one thing I did that was different was to add a small amount of whole wheat orzo. It made it a really complete meal. Loved it.

      20. 5 stars
        My family loved it! I served it with GF TJ’s gnocchi. I also pan seared the ground turkey brick in a seperate pan first.

      21. 4 stars
        Made this for dinner tonight, it came out pretty good. Turkey came in 1.33lb package so that’s what I used. Four medium squash, zucchini and yellow squash, were about 2.5 pounds. Tomatoes from the garden. The only thing I’d change next time is to pre-salt the squash to release some moisture, I used a turkey baster to remove almost a cup of liquid from the pan and it’s still pretty liquidy.

        1. 5 stars
          Healthy and delicious! I had to print this one for my recipe book. I made small adjustments because I needed to use up some things. I used a 1 lb package of ground turkey and added both zucchini and yellow squash. I also used one can of drained diced tomatoes to sub for fresh tomatoes and crumbled feta on top. Served with some rice and it was loved by both the grown ups and the toddlers. Even had enough to share with a friend and she asked to marry me haha. This one is a keeper!

      22. 5 stars
        Delicious!!! I serve it with pasta and the whole family loves it!! Spiral pasta preferably but penne or macaroni if that’s what I have on hand. Really good!! Easy weeknight meal. Two thumbs up for sure!

      23. 5 stars
        this is a fantastic recipe! Im trying to cook a bit healthier, and this was a winner! Even my boyfriend loved it, and was excited to eat more for leftovers the next day!

      24. 5 stars
        I was having one of those lazy dinner nights and I knew I had zucchini and ground turkey in the fridge, so I simply googled “ground turkey and zucchini recipe” and this one was the first result. I couldn’t be happier with this recipe! So so yummy and even better with a dash of crushed red pepper on top!

      25. 5 stars
        I love so many of your recipes and this was no exception. My 4 year old son loved it too. I used only one zucchini, and threw in a cup of cut green beans, and a whole diced yellow pepper. to add in more veggies my son would like. I also had only 1lb of ground turkey on hand. Delicious. Will add this to my recipe rotation 🙂

      26. 5 stars
        Looking for something different. This hit the spot. I added garlic when cooking my onions and kale with zucchini. Loved it!

      27. 5 stars
        What a welcomed change to my usual go-to recipes- sadly, the grocery was out of turkey so I replaced it with minced chicken breast and added in white beans. I’ll be making this again, THANKS!

          1. 5 stars
            Excellent flavour! Something different. Quick and easy to make. Used ground chicken added snap peas cause short on zucchini. Served with saffron basmati rice. Hubbie doesn’t care for zucchini however loved the meal!! It’s a keeper for sure!! Thanks!!

      28. 5 stars
        I just made this tonight. This one is a keeper. I am a natural tweaker so I added Shiitake mushrooms that I sautéed on the side and added later. I also did yellow saffron jasmine rice (cooked separately). I grated parmesan reggiano cheese on the top. Next time I will add a sprinkle of pine nuts.

        This is an excellent recipe. Thank you for sharing Olena.

      29. 5 stars
        Made this last night and my son loved it. He’s not the most adventurous eater and getting him to eat a variety of vegetables is a challenge. I served it with some rice which made for a great meal. Even great the next day for lunch. Thank for the idea.

      30. 5 stars
        My husband and I loved this! I added more salt, about 1 tsp total. I can’t wait to try some of your other recipes!

      31. 5 stars
        Absolutely amazing dishes I love all these recipes I don’t have a instant pot but I can make everything without one

      32. 4 stars
        Cut the recipe in half for my husband and I. It also made a good lunch for the next day. We enjoyed it and I will definitely be making it again. 1.25 lbs. of zucchini was not too much. It was perfect. As a cheese lover I did add a little extra! ?

      33. 5 stars
        This was kid approved in my house. I had a leftover jar of pesto, and lots of zucchini from the farmers market I needed to use and this was the perfect recipe. I wasn’t sure the little ones would like this, but they ate it up.

      34. 5 stars
        I pinned this a while ago, but just made it today. Wow! It has all the flavors that I love. Since I pinned it, it is a rare day that I don’t get a notice from Pinterest that “someone” pinned your pin.” Since there are only 2 of us, I made the recipe as is through the point of saute the onions and turkey. I am freezing the other half. I also didn’t have grape tomatoes, so just used the small tomatoes that I had on hand and chopped them. This is a winner! Thank you for posting this recipe!

      35. 5 stars
        My family lovedLOVEDloved this recipe! I did serve it over pasta instead of rice/quinoa, but only a small amount of pasta was involved because this recipe is the STAR of the show!

      36. 5 stars
        Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this recipe. I made this for my husband and I last night and we had HAPPY taste buds. Who knew pesto and turkey would make such a great combo?!

      37. 5 stars
        Made this recipe really enjoyed it. It was fast and tasty. I did half it because it was a little to much for just my boyfriend and I.

      38. 5 stars
        Delicious! But I accidentally used Asiago cheese instead of Parmesan! Only 5 WE freestyle smart points per serving!

      39. Yes correct. You just need a deeper or bigger skillet like on my pics. Sliced zucchini to size you like and that makes sense. Like if it’s big cut in half and slice. If it’s small just slice. It’s a quick dinner. I’m not sure what is your struggle honestly. Can’t tell you exactly how many zucchini’s because they are ALL different size. Don’t overthink it. Cut recipe in half if it’s too much for you.:)

        1. Mmm, no, don’t worry about it. Sun dried tomatoes have too strong of a taste. You want to add bulky fresh and juicy veggies/fruit. Skip tomatoes together or add snap peas, corn, bell pepper etc. Thawed or fresh.:)

      40. 5 stars
        Made this last night for dinner and it was delicious. So easy and light. My family loved it and that was without the cheese. (I forgot to add). Thank you for your fabulous recipes.

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