This ground turkey and butternut squash skillet recipe is wholesome, flavorful, and ready in under 30 minutes. Made with diced tomatoes, feta cheese, and Italian seasoning, this protein-packed dish is the ultimate healthy weeknight dinner.
Butternut squash is traditionally considered to be more of a winter vegetable, but you know what? This veggie is way too tasty to be relegated to one season. So, today I’m breaking from the norm and boldly announcing that butternut squash is an every-season vegetable. Exhibit A: This ground turkey and butternut squash skillet.
This rich and savory one-pan recipe is filled with drool-worthy flavors in every bite. It's a winner when it comes to quick and easy dinners. All you need is ground turkey, butternut squash cubes, canned tomatoes, fresh veggies, feta cheese, and Italian seasoning.
In under 30 minutes, you’ll be enjoying your new favorite healthy meal with butternut squash and wishing you had made more. You can serve this delectable dish on its own as a complete (and ultra-satisfying) meal or pair it with a side salad, brown rice, or quinoa.
There are plenty of ways to adapt this recipe to make it your own, so have some fun with it and enjoy!
Thirty-Minute Dinner Winner
There are so many reasons to love this dinner, but here are the top 3!
- Endlessly versatile: Swap in different ground meat or chickpeas, try it with another veggie, switch up the spices or cheese, and it's a brand new meal every time.
- Quick and easy: Made with just 9 easy-to-find ingredients in under 30 minutes in one pot!
- Meal prep: This is a great recipe to double and store the leftovers for easy lunches or dinners. It keeps well in the fridge and freezes beautifully in an airtight container.
What You’ll Need
Here are the key ingredients you’re going to need to make this butternut squash skillet.
- Ground Turkey: I like to keep this dish lean by using 99% lean ground turkey, you can use any kind you like. If using frozen, make sure to let it thaw in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours before cooking with it. Ground chicken, ground pork, and ground sausage all work great as well.
- Butternut Squash: You’ll want to use fresh butternut squash for this dish. You can buy a whole one or cut down on some prep time with pre-cubed butternut squash. Frozen butternut squash also works, just defrost it first.
- Diced Tomatoes: Make sure to leave the tomatoes undrained—we want those tomato juices! They will help the butternut squash cook.
- Feta Cheese: This tangy cheese beautifully balances the rich and savory flavors of the dish. If you don’t have any feta on hand, goat cheese would have a similar effect. Leave out the cheese for a dairy-free dish.
- Italian Seasoning: You can make your own homemade Italian seasoning or use your favorite store-bought blend. This adds tons of delicious, warm flavors to our skillet.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
Here are some of my favorite recipe tips and substitution ideas for this dish:
- For some added fresh flavor and a pop of color, garnish the dish with chopped fresh herbs just before serving it. Oregano, thyme, and parsley would all work great.
- Feel free to toss in some extra veggies like spinach, kale, swiss chard, or mushrooms.
- Not a fan of feta? Swap it out for another cheese like gruyere, parmesan, mozzarella, or goat cheese. For a dairy-free meal, swap your favorite plant-based cheese or just leave out the cheese.
- You can switch up the meat by replacing ground turkey with ground turkey sausage, chicken, or pork. Alternatively, you could leave out the meat altogether and make this butternut squash skillet vegetarian by adding chickpeas.
- If you can’t find butternut squash at the store, you can use another root vegetable in its place. Good options include sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, delicata squash, yuca, or any combination you like. You may need to adjust the cooking time for potatoes or parboil them.
- If you’re looking for more of a kick, double the amount of crushed red pepper or add a jalapeno pepper or poblano pepper into the mix.
Side Dish Ideas
This healthy weeknight meal is loaded with protein and packed with nutrients. I’ve found that it’s perfectly satisfying on its own, but this butternut squash skillet also tastes fabulous with a simple side dish like cooked veggies or a refreshing salad. Need some ideas? Here are some of my favorite side dishes to pair with this main course:
- Easy Dinner Rolls – You can never go wrong with some fresh, warm, fluffy bread. Oh, and did I mention you only need two ingredients?!
- Mashed Cauliflower - this ground turkey skillet meal is delicious and served on a bed of mashed cauliflower or potatoes.
- Easy Mediterranean Salad – This vibrant salad is packed with flavor and tons of beneficial nutrients, protein, and fiber.
- Garlic Sautéed Spinach – Want some leafy greens but don’t feel like adding them into the skillet? This tasty spinach side dish is your best friend.
- Easy Cucumber Salad – If you want to keep things simple but still flavorful, this tasty side salad is a fantastic choice.
Short on Time? Try these Shortcuts
- Buy pre-cut butternut squash or swap in defrosted, frozen butternut squash cubes so you don't have to peel and cut the squash.
- Swap in ground turkey sausage for the ground turkey ad you can skip the extra spices. The turkey sausage will season everything in the dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find some of the most popular questions about this ground turkey and butternut squash skillet:
This is entirely up to your own personal preference. Many people find butternut squash skin to be fairly tough, so I recommend peeling it first for a really soft, delicious dish. That being said, butternut squash skin is edible so it won’t cause you any issues if you choose not to peel it.
When choosing butternut squash at the store, look for one that is a solid beige color and has no visible bruises or deep cuts. It should feel heavy for its size, so I always like to pick up a few of them that are similar in size and then go with the heaviest one. The stem should ideally be firm and intact.
This dish is super easy to store. Once your leftovers have cooled, simply transfer them to an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. To store this dish for longer, you can freeze it for up to 1-2 months. When you’re ready to enjoy the meal again, just thaw your leftovers in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours before reheating them.
Ground Turkey and Butternut Squash Skillet
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- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes (not drained)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 cup reduced fat feta cheese (or mozzarella)
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Add the butternut squash, tomatoes, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Cover the skillet and cook until the butternut squash is tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add a touch of water or broth if anything begins to burn. Depending on the size of the butternut squash, it could take a bit longer. For quick-cooking preparation, make sure to cut it into small pieces.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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