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Zoodle spaghetti with turkey meat sauce makes a light yet satisfying meal that’s full of fabulous flavor. This sauce works equally well with pasta (or a combo of pasta and zoodles) if you prefer.

zoodle spaghetti wtih turkey meat sauce on a plate
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Why we love this recipe

Zoodle spaghetti with turkey meat sauce has a lot going for it. Spiralized zucchini gets flash-sautéed to crisp-tender perfection and then blanketed in a flavorful, hearty but not heavy turkey meat sauce.

This recipe is:

  • Light yet satisfying
  • Quick and easy
  • Make-ahead friendly
  • Low-carb and gluten- and dairy-free

I first published this recipe here back in 2016. I’ve since updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • You can use any zucchini or yellow summer squash that you have. I prefer to buy zucchini on the smaller side since they’re a bit sweeter and more tender before they get too big. Smaller, straighter zucchini are also a little bit easier to spiralize. If you’d prefer to use regular spaghetti or a combination of regular and zoodle spaghetti, that works very well too. The four medium zucchini called for in this recipe weigh about 1 1/2 pounds total and yield about six cups raw zoodles.
  • My favorite ground turkey is a mixture of white and dark meat (half a pound of each). It makes things extra flavorful and tender. But if you’ve only got white meat or would simply rather use that, it’s all good. That’s what I’ve pictured here.
  • Canned or boxed diced tomatoes have just the right texture for this sauce. They vary by brand but tend to start with a fair amount of liquid and thicken up with simmering. If your brand is thicker, without much liquid, you can cover the pan while simmering.
  • Plenty of fresh garlic and a lively combination of dried spices (fennel, basil, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes) give the sauce lots of dimension even though it cooks quickly.

My favorite sources for meat & pantry staples

For years, I’ve been sourcing our meat from ButcherBox. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.

I love Thrive Market for a wide variety of products. Often described as one part Whole Foods, one part Costco, they’re a membership-based online market for healthier products at discounted prices. Plus, they’re mission-driven, engaged in the community, and not currently owned by a giant corporation. You can learn more in my Thrive Market review and unboxing.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a great batch of zoodle spaghetti with turkey meat sauce. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll spiralize your zucchini, salt it, and press it between layers of paper or kitchen towels. Let it sit while you prepare the sauce. This process helps ensure it won’t be watery.
  2. To make the sauce, start by cooking the onion, garlic, and turkey.
  3. Add the tomatoes and seasonings and simmer for 10 minutes or so to bring it all together.
  4. When you’re ready to serve, gently roll up the zucchini in the towels to squeeze out any additional moisture you can. Then quickly sauté the zucchini until crisp-tender, just a minute or so. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

How do you keep zoodle spaghetti from being soggy?

Successful zucchini noodles are all about two key techniques: proper drying and aggressive seasoning. Here’s how to dry them.

About half an hour before you want to eat, spread the zoodles on a thick layer of paper towels, salt them lightly, and then cover with another thick layer of paper towels. Let them sit until you’re ready to toss the noodles into the pan. They’ll release a lot of moisture.

Right before adding to the pan, roll up the whole bundle and squeeze a bit to make sure all the moisture gets absorbed into the paper towels.

What spiralizer should I use?

If you’re in the market for a spiralizer, I’ve used both this one and this one (for those of you with a KitchenAid mixer), and both work just fine. You can also make zucchini noodles using a vegetable peeler or the julienne blade of a mandoline slicer.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Yes. The sauce will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for a year. You can prepare the zoodles in advance through the drying stage and store the whole paper towel bundle in a zip-top bag in the fridge for up to a week. Sauté them right before serving.

More great squash spaghetti recipes

zoodle spaghetti wtih turkey meat sauce on a plate

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zoodle spaghetti wtih turkey meat sauce on a plate
4.78 from 9 votes

Zoodle Spaghetti with Turkey Meat Sauce

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Zoodle spaghetti with turkey meat sauce makes a light yet satisfying meal that's full of fabulous flavor. This sauce works equally well with pasta (or a combo of pasta and zoodles) if you prefer.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

  • 4 medium zucchini, about 1 1/2 pounds/(680 grams) total, spiralized
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound (454 grams) ground turkey
  • 28 ounces (793 grams) diced tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon dried fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • ¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions 

  • Arrange the zoodles on a double layer of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cover with a double layer of paper towels and press gently. Leave while you make the sauce.
  • In a 12-inch frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and turkey and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Cook, stirring from time to time to break up the meat into bite-sized pieces, until turkey is cooked through and nicely browned in spots, about five minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, fennel, basil, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, and black pepper to pan and stir to incorporate.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until nice and thick.
  • When ready to serve, give the zoodles a gentle squeeze between paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible. Warm the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a second frying pan.
  • Add zoodles to frying pan and cook, tossing with tongs or a rubber spatula, for about a minute. They should retain a nice bite but not look raw.
  • Divide zoodles among four bowls and top with sauce. Garnish with grated cheese and parsley, and serve.

Notes

  1. You can use any zucchini or yellow summer squash that you have. I prefer to buy zucchini on the smaller side since they're a bit sweeter and more tender before they get too big. Smaller, straighter zucchini are also a little bit easier to spiralize. Four medium zucchini weigh about 1 1/2 pounds total and yield about six cups raw zoodles.
  2. My favorite ground turkey is a mixture of white and dark meat (half a pound of each). It makes things extra flavorful and tender. But if you've only got white meat or would simply rather use that, it's all good. That's what I've pictured here.
  3. Canned or boxed diced tomatoes have just the right texture for this sauce. They vary by brand but tend to start with a fair amount of liquid and thicken up with simmering. If your brand is thicker, without much liquid, you can cover the pan while simmering.
  4. The sauce will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for a year. You can prepare the zoodles in advance through the drying stage and store the whole paper towel bundle in a zip-top bag in the fridge for up to a week. Sauté them right before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 301kcal, Carbohydrates: 17.1g, Protein: 24.9g, Fat: 16.2g, Fiber: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Zucchini
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.78 from 9 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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