Ground Turkey and Butternut Squash Skillet

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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.

284 CALORIES 15g CARBS 10g FAT 35g PROTEIN
5 Comments

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.

Looking for more ways to enjoy butternut squash? Try this Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup, Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili, Roasted Butternut Squash, or Roasted Butternut Squash Salad.

There are plenty of ways to adapt this recipe to make it your own, so have some fun with it and enjoy!

Turkey butternut squash skillet with ground turkey, bell pepper, tomatoes, and feta cheese served on a white plate.

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.
  • Make a double batch of butternut squash and make these delicious Butternut Squash Tacos the next night for dinner.
  • 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.

Butternut squash and turkey skillet with feta cheese served with red pepper flakes and basil.

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.

Butternut squash and ground turkey cooked with tomatoes, spices, and feta cheese in a white bowl.
The Recipe
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Ground Turkey and Butternut Squash Skillet

PREP TIME: 10 Min
COOK TIME: 20 Min
TOTAL TIME: 30 Min
5 Comments
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Ingredients

US METRICS
  • 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
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup reduced fat feta cheese (or mozzarella)

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Instructions

(Hide Photos)
1

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up the meat, for 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, onion, and red bell pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the onion begins to brown.

Ground turkey, diced onions, and diced bell pepper in a skillet.
2

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.

Ground turkey, butternut squash, tomatoes in a skillet with Italian seasoning being added.
3

Add the cheese and cover for 1-2 minutes until it melts.

Ground turkey with butternut squash and tomatoes in a bowl topped with feta cheese.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 284
Calories from Fat 89
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
15%
Saturated Fat 4g
19%
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 76mg
25%
Sodium 583mg
25%
Total Carbohydrate 15g
5%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 5g
Protein 35g

* 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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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
5 Comments
On Ground Turkey and Butternut Squash Skillet
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B
May 20, 2020 - 19:07
Add a Rating:
5
I added 1 piece of cooked turkey bacon chopped up into this and delish!!
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William Adam
January 28, 2020 - 08:23
Add a Rating:
5
This was a fantastic recipe with a great combination of flavors. I did substitute a generous portion of Italian seasoning for the Italian dressing to slenderize the recipe a bit more. The recipe did need to cook quite a bit longer to get the squash tender in the pan, even though I cut the butternut squash into pieces that appeared similar to the size pictured. I will be making this again!
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Rebecca Connor
June 13, 2019 - 09:22
To confirm, the squash should NOT be cooked before adding to the pan, correct?
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Millie White
November 9, 2022 - 11:48
I prefer roasting the squash for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees prior to putting in pan. I find it’s tastier this way.
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Jennifer
February 7, 2019 - 15:52
Add a Rating:
5
This was amazing! So much flavor for a simple dish. I will be making this alot!
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