Easy Turkey, Zucchini & Rice Casserole

Serve up this Healthy Turkey, Zucchini and Rice Casserole for an easy dinner packed with lean protein and veggies. A great make-ahead dinner option!
Turkey, zucchini and rice casserole in a dark blue rectangular casserole dish.

Turkey, zucchini and rice casserole in a dark blue rectangular casserole dish.

This easy turkey, zucchini & rice casserole takes advantage of one of summer’s most prolific veggies (zucchini!), but can be enjoyed all year round. It’s a great make-ahead option for busy weeknights and still tastes great when reheated for lunch the next day. We like to serve it with a green salad to round out the meal.

When we lived in Utah, stealth zucchini deliveries were a real thing. I can recall several instances of opening our front door to find a bag of the green squash sitting on the stoop, with the delivery person nowhere in sight. As grateful as I was for the generosity of fellow gardeners and neighbors, the reality was that we had our own exploding patch of zucchini and the thought of dealing with MORE ZUCCHINI made me a little twitchy.

As a fellow zucchini lover and firm supporter of seasonal vegetables in all their multitude, I feel it is my duty to provide you with as many zucchini recipes as possible. Baked zucchini fries (my kids’ favorite), zucchini roll-ups and turkey zucchini meatballs (the squash haters will never know!) are just the starting point.

Chopped zucchini and mushrooms in a nonstick skillet

Chopped zucchini and mushrooms in a nonstick skillet

How to make a rice casserole:

I was on a roll with posting rice casseroles for awhile and it’s high time for another version, this one involving zucchini, of course.

It all started with my favorite Greek Turkey, Rice & Feta Casserole, then morphed to teriyaki (think stir fry-type flavors and veggies) and southwestern (black beans, corn and chiles…oh my!) versions.

The formula is the same for each of the casseroles, with the sauce and mix-ins changing dependent on the flavor profile.

Saute the ground turkey (or beef or cooked beans, if you prefer), onion, garlic and spices, then stir in the other vegetables, sauce and cooked rice (a great way to use up leftover rice!)

Transfer everything to a casserole dish, top with cheese (in some cases) and bake for about 20 minutes. One of the easiest dinners that’s also great as leftovers!

Large spoon taking a scoop out of a turkey rice casserole. Casserole in a blue baking dish.

Large spoon taking a scoop out of a turkey rice casserole. Casserole in a blue baking dish.

Can this zucchini rice casserole be made ahead of time?

Yes! You have a couple of options here.

The first option is to make the casserole in its entirety, let it cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat it, simply reheat portions in the microwave.

The second option is to prepare the components ahead of time – cook the rice, brown the ground turkey and chop the vegetables. Sauté the vegetables, combine everything and bake the casserole just before serving.

There is actually one final option, but it’s my least favorite. In this method, you would assemble the casserole completely, cover and refrigerate, then bake before serving. With this method, I find that the sautéed vegetables tend to release a lot of liquid, making the casserole a bit soupy.

How would I make this casserole vegetarian or vegan?

This is an easy one! Leave out the ground turkey and replace it with cook or canned beans. For this recipe, white kidney beans (cannellini beans), black beans, red kidney beans or even chickpeas work well.

For a vegan option, leave off the cheese, or use a vegan cheese option or sprinkle some nutritional yeast over top.

Turkey, zucchini and rice casserole in a dark blue rectangular casserole dish.

Turkey, zucchini and rice casserole in a dark blue rectangular casserole dish.

Other zucchini recipes:

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan with Zucchini {Cookin’ Canuck}
Vegetable Quinoa Stir Fry {Cookin’ Canuck}
Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Zucchini Boats by Flavor the Moments
Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, and Gorgonzola Bites by Letty’s Kitchen

Turkey, zucchini and rice casserole in a dark blue rectangular casserole dish.Turkey, zucchini and rice casserole in a dark blue rectangular casserole dish.

Easy Turkey, Zucchini & Rice Casserole

Serve up this easy Turkey, Zucchini and Rice Casserole for an easy dinner packed with lean protein and veggies. 262 calories and 4 Weight Watchers SP

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Course: Entrees

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Gluten Free, Healthy Dinner Recipes, Poultry Recipes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 38 minutes

Total Time: 48 minutes

Servings: 6 Servings

Calories: 262.2kcal

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 8- by 12-inch or 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.

  • Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey, onions, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground pepper. Cook, breaking up the turkey with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is browned.

  • Stir in the mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes, and cook until the vegetables are starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.

  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Stir in the rice, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons parsley.

  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese on top and bake until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is melted and starting to brown, about 20 minutes.

  • Sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve.

Notes

Weight Watchers Points: 4 (Blue – Freestyle SmartPoints), 5 (Green), 2 (Purple)

 

Please note that I am not a medical or nutritional professional. I provide nutritional information for my recipes as a courtesy to my readers. It is calculated using the Sparks nutrition calculator and Weight Watchers points are calculated using the Recipe Builder on their site. While I attempt to provide information that is as accurate as possible, you should calculate the nutritional information independently before relying on it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Cup | Calories: 262.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 27.3g | Protein: 25.1g | Fat: 6.8g | Saturated Fat: 2.4g | Cholesterol: 48.6mg | Sodium: 642.9mg | Fiber: 5.3g | Sugar: 7.2g


Tried this recipe?If you make this recipe, I’d love to see it on Instagram! Just use the hashtag #COOKINCANUCK and I’ll be sure to find it.

This post was first published on August 7, 2017 and updated on August 11, 2020.

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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