Pesto Ground Turkey with Zucchini

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This skillet Pesto Ground Turkey with Zucchini is an easy, one-pan dinner that is full of lean protein and nutrients. This delicious, low-carb recipe comes together in just 20 minutes for a healthy dinner that requires minimum effort for maximum flavor.

401 CAL 18g CARBS 19g FAT 42g PROTEIN 5
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Whenever I’m scrambling to make a last minute dinner, there’s nothing I’m more grateful for than a quick and easy, one-pan recipe. Not only is this Pesto Ground Turkey recipe a breeze to prepare, but clean-up is also super easy. Truly, does it get any better than that?

This recipe is packed with lean protein and fresh vegetables, making it as healthy as it is easy to make. I like to make mine with fresh zucchini, yellow squash, and cherry tomatoes, but you can easily use any of your favorite veggies.

Once you coat everything in pesto sauce, this one-pan dinner is guaranteed to be an instant hit. I love making extra so I can serve this one-pan recipe for dinner, then enjoy the leftovers for easy healthy lunches throughout the week.

To complete the meal, try pairing this dish with a bowl of brown rice, mashed cauliflower, or whole-wheat spaghetti. You could also toss it over a bowl of mixed greens or spinach to get an extra dose of veggies. Regardless, this dish is an easy and delicious dinner staple to add to your rotation in any season.

Ground turkey cooked with pesto, zucchini, and tomatoes served in a plate with fresh parsley.

Key Ingredients

To make this quick and easy pesto ground turkey skillet, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • Ground turkey: Not only does this protein source pair wonderfully with the rest of our ingredients, but it’s incredibly lean! Feel free to swap it out for ground chicken or lean ground beef, if preferred.
  • Veggies: I like to use a combination of zucchini, squash, onions, and cherry tomatoes for this skillet dish. They add tons of amazing color and are jam-packed with beneficial nutrients. Feel free to swap them out for any veggies you like.
  • Pesto: You can use your favorite store-bought pesto or make your own homemade pesto from scratch. If you’re making your own, I suggest either this Skinny Pesto or Skinny Cilantro Pesto.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

Here are my top tips for bringing this dish come to life:

  • If you have one, I recommend cooking in a Dutch Oven, as it will make your one-pan meal THAT much easier. Not only can you cook in and refrigerate a Dutch Oven, but you can also stick it into the oven for an easy, one-pan reheat.
  • To avoid squishy zucchini, stop cooking it even before it looks ready. Because zucchini is mostly water, it will continue cooking with residual heat.
  • You can use any kind of protein you like. If you feel like switching things up, try using ground beef, chicken, or even tofu.
  • For maximum deliciousness, season this dish with salt and pepper as it cooks. I always like to taste as I go to avoid over-seasoning it at the end.
  • If you’re a lover of all things spicy, add some crushed red pepper or a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce.

How to Serve Pesto Ground Turkey

This is one of those super versatile dishes that taste great when paired with just about anything. For a little extra sustenance, try pairing this dish with:

  • A bowl of greens. Spinach or mixed greens complement the flavors of this dish. Not to mention they will add a bonus portion of nutritious veggies to your meal.
  • Healthy grains. Brown rice, cauliflower rice, and quinoa are great side dishes for this ground turkey skillet. Not only are they wonderful for sopping up the juicy flavors, but they add some healthy carbs to this dish.
  • With pasta. One of my favorite ways to serve this pesto ground turkey is over a bowl of whole-wheat pasta. For a low-carb option, you could also try pairing it with spaghetti squash.

Bowl filled with pesto ground turkey, cherry tomatoes, onion, zucchini, and summer squash.

Recipe Storage Tips

If your eyes are a little bigger than your stomach, don’t worry. This pesto ground turkey recipe tastes just as delicious a day or two later, so I highly recommend making extras so you can enjoy the leftovers for lunch over the next few days.

To store your leftovers, seal them in an airtight storage container and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing leftovers, as zucchini is high in water and typically does not freeze well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this pesto ground turkey recipe:

There is no need to heat up your pesto before serving it. It is best when served at room temperature, and for this dish I advise drizzling it over the cooked ground turkey and vegetables.

While I prefer to use 93% lean ground turkey, you absolutely could try a different type. The leanest cut of ground turkey you can buy is 99% lean. Although this is the lightest version, I have found that the 93% lean kind is far more flavorful.

Absolutely! In fact, I encourage it. The fresher the better. Making your pesto from scratch at home is a great way to maximize on nutrients and eliminate the need for artificial preservatives. To make a lightened-up version at home, try following this healthy recipe for Skinny Pesto.

Yes! Because this pesto ground turkey is made with lean protein, fresh veggies, and not much else, it is super low in calories and fat, and full of essential nutrients. For an even healthier version, try making your pesto at home and using 99% lean ground turkey.

Pesto being added to a bowl of ground turkey with tomatoes and zucchini.
The Recipe
Ground turkey, zucchini, yellow squash, and cherry tomatoes in a skillet and topped with pesto.

Pesto Ground Turkey with Zucchini

401 CAL 18g CARBS 19g FAT 42g PROTEIN 5
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  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1.33 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 summer squash, sliced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the ground turkey, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook for 5-7 minutes until browned and cooked through.

Ground turkey cooking in a white skillet with a wooden spoon.

Add the zucchini and yellow squash to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes. be careful not to overcook the vegetables, the zucchini should be bright green and tender-crisp.

Zucchini, yellow squash, and ground turkey in a skillet.

Add the tomatoes and pesto to the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes until warmed through and tomatoes begin to release some of their juices.

Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and ground turkey in a skillet with pesto.

Turn off the heat. Taste the dish and season with fresh black pepper and salt if needed. Drizzle with extra pesto if desired.

Pesto ground turkey with zucchini, yellow squash, and cherry tomatoes in a white skillet.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 401
Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g
Saturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 83mg
Sodium 298mg
Total Carbohydrate 18g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 12g
Protein 42g

* 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
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