Italian-Style Zucchini Noodle Bake

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This is one of my all-time favorite zucchini noodle recipes.  The ground turkey makes it really filling and satisfying, the cheese makes it taste like a cheat meal, and the “sauce” and zoodles keep it surprisingly healthy!

healthy tomato sauceI say “sauce” because it doesn’t actually require any.  When I first started paying close attention to nutrition labels, it shocked me how unhealthy sauces can be.  Alfredo, sure that makes sense, but even plain tomato sauce (check out my homemade marinara – its great)!  But it is because of all the sugar and preservatives that are put into those pre-made sauces.  So here we make good use of a few spices mixed in while cooking the turkey, garlic, and diced tomatoes, and that is all.  And with that, a health-conscious meat pasta sauce is born (pictured to the right).

Not only is this sauce healthy, it truly tastes good.  It has a great fresh flavor since it is only made out of tomatoes and spices.  It is not too overpowering for those of you who don’t like too much sauce, but provides enough texture and taste so that you don’t feel like you are eating plain noodles.  Another great thing about this sauce is that you can adjust it if you like it spicier, milder, saltier, stronger, anything!  And you change it by playing around with the spices you add, so it also doesn’t make it any less nutritious.

Safety First

Now I need to point out, this recipe involves cooking with a pan on the stove top and then putting that same pan into the oven. Once the dish is done in the oven, the handle of the pan WILL BE HOT.  You are probably thinking “duh!” but for some reason I can’t seem to grasp this concept.  Every single time we have made this at our house, when I go to serve myself from the pan, without fail the first thing I do is grab the handle.  And every time it is just as painful.  So I just want you to learn from my mistakes.

Cooking Time

This meal is not hard to prepare, but it does take some time to cook.  Between letting the sauce simmer for around 30 minutes, and then putting it in the oven for another 15, with prep I would plan for at least an hour.  So this might not be the recipe for those work nights you don’t even get home until 8pm, but I promise it is so worth the time and would be perfect for a Sunday dinner, a date night (it looks really impressive!) or a week night you get off at a more reasonable hour.

And if you don’t already have a spiralizer, you should definitely invest in one – click here to get one now!

Italian Style Zucchini Noodle Bake


  • 1 Pound of Ground Turkey (I use 97-99% lean)
  • 3 Medium/Large Zucchinis
  • 2 (14.5oz) Jars of Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • 1.5 Cups of Spinach
  • Fat Free Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (amount can be decided based on preference) Dairy free option: Go Veggie Mozzarella  cheese
  •  1 Spoonful (any regular kitchen-sized spoon) of Minced Garlic
  • Ground Pepper to Taste
  • Cayenne Pepper to Taste
  • Garlic Salt to Taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Make zuchhini noodles using your spiralizer, cook in separate pan plain, or feel free to add a little pepper.
  3. Put turkey in a large pan that is oven friendly, and add desired amounts of ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic salt (the spices help give this recipe more flavor, don’t be shy!).  Cook on stove over medium heat until brown.
  4. Add garlic and both cans of (undrained) tomatoes to the turkey and bring to a boil.
  5. Once boiling, reduce to low heat setting, cover the pan, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Uncover and bring pan back to a boil to reduce the sauce.
  7. Add zucchini noodles and spinach to pan, stir to combine (the spinach will cook up super fast).
  8. Top with desired amount of mozzarella (find a good balance between adding enough to enhance flavor, while not overdoing it).
  9. Put in oven and cook for about 15 minutes.

More Spiralizing Opportunities

Did you try this recipe and love it?  Or maybe you are new to spiralizing and want to start off with something a little simpler?  Then you should try my Sun Dried Tomato & Chicken Zucchini Noodles – this is one of the the first spiralized recipe I ever made!  It takes a lot less time to prepare so it is a great option to get started with, and it tastes great.  Try it and let me know what you think!

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