Saturday, August 4, 2012

Family Friendly Cooking - Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Ground Turkey, Spinach, & Zucchini

Even though Annalyn is still pretty far away from sitting down to dinner and slurping spaghetti from one end to the other, I am already starting to think of more family friendly meals.  In the past, I've made a similar recipe for the neighbor kids with carrots, summer squash, zucchini, and spinach-flavored pasta (of course, making a huge deal about how fun and colorful it was while I let them help me make it!).  It was a big hit. 

What I love about this recipe, is you get whole grains, lean protein, and green veggies all in one pot!  Sure, I may have to chop the veggies a little finer, or blend up the onion so she can't see it, but all-in-all, I can see this becoming a great family meal. It's also a quick weeknight meal since it can stand alone without a side (although it does go well with a quick side salad with Italian dressing, or the ever-popular BFF of spaghetti - garlic bread). 

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Ground Turkey, Spinach, and Zucchini

-1 box whole wheat spaghetti
-2-4 T. olive oil
-1 lb. ground turkey
-2 small (1 medium) onion, chopped
-2 medium zucchinis, chopped
-1-2 jars spaghetti sauce (I usually like to use about 1 and 1/2 jars)
-2 c. fresh baby spinach
-1/2 - 1 c. chicken stock or dry white wine (sorry, this one somehow eluded my ingredients pic!)
-parmesan cheese, optional

1.  Chop the onion and zucchini.

2.  Cook spaghetti in stock pot according to package directions.  Meanwhile, brown the ground turkey over med-high heat in a pan deep enough to hold meat, veggies, and sauce.  With ground turkey, I sometimes find it necessary to add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to keep it from sticking to the pan.

3.  Add chopped onion to the turkey and saute until translucent (about 1-2 min).  Add the zucchini and reduce heat to medium-low, cook for about a minute.

4.  Pour spaghetti sauce over the meat mixture.  Add baby spinach, tearing slightly, and press down into the sauce. 

5.  Add 1/2 to 1 c. of white wine or chicken stock, reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer until spinach wilts and sauce thickens slightly (about 2-3 min).  Note:  If you need more time to get the spaghetti or other side ready, I recommend adding a little more liquid, covering the pot, and allowing it to simmer on low until ready to serve.  Otherwise, the sauce is ready when you are!

6.  Drain spaghetti, and return to pot. Toss with 2 T. olive oil (keeps it from sticking to itself).  Pour meat sauce over the spaghetti and mix (or serve separately if you prefer).  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired, and enjoy!


  1. We'll try this one for sure! We've been trying to switch to whole grain pasta as well, and Brian has thrown in some chicken and zuccini in the sauce and it has turned out really well. He is always wanting to buy spinach but I don't have any recipes that use it, so this combines all those things perfectly! And he'll just have to deal with the turkey (he's reluctant to trade ground beef for turkey, but I like it!).

    How many servings is this though? Can I half it?

  2. Servings are always a hard thing for me... my servings and Michael's servings are very different. It usually lasts us 3 meals (so 3 of each of our servings), so I'd guess it's probably about 8-9 actual servings. I usually serve a cup of pasta with about 3/4 cup of the sauce. So you could halve it - what I would do is cook all the turkey and freeze the other half to use another time. The other ingredients should work out fine, too. Let me know how it goes! :)