Slow Cooker Turkey & Summer Squash Marinara aka Attack of the Summer Squash

I grew a garden this year.  

Yeah, I’ve done this thing “gardening” before.  I’ve always fancied myself a budding gardener (pun intended and sans overalls) but didn’t really apply myself until 2 summers ago, when we lived in Wyoming.  

Yes. To answer the not-hip-to-the-awesomeness-of-Wyoming question, stuff grows there.

But not for very long.  

Now this isn’t official, but I think their growing season is about 3 weeks long (disclaimer: that MAY be an exaggeration)  And in that amount of time, I managed to attract every creepy bug north of Cheyenne who then launched a full-scale assault on my little plot – which #1 – ruined my dreams of supplying the local homeless shelter with endless supplies of my veg and #2 – gave me the Googled-for solution to earwigs = pie plate, oil + a piece of bacon.  {shudder}

Flash forward to our move last summer to the great and fertile state of Colorado.  Green in many ways, thanks to this past-year’s Voting Season Ridiculousness.  

But I digress.  

You wouldn’t think it, but a 2 hour drive over the Wyoming border makes a big difference.  And because we moved during the summer into what I lovingly call our super-awesome-house-with-a-super-rad-backyard-that-only-looks-like-it-does-because-the-former-owner-was-a-landscaper-not-because-we-did-ANYTHING-house {pant pant}, there was no time for planting.

Yes.  I just said “rad.”  I believe my generation invented that word, therefore – dibs.

We dug up our yard filled – thanks to the former owner/landscaper of awesome – with endless amounts of clay-based landscapers soil.  So we did what any seasoned Master Gardener would do.  We threw in a couple bags of clay buster, 1 bag of compost, planted some REALLY expensive seedlings purchased a local nursery and I believe I indeed DID pray over it and then sprinkled it with Holy Water.

So, lo and behold, it started like this:

Look at the widdle baby pwants...

Look at the widdle baby pwants…

 And grew into this:

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle

Needless to say… we have a lot of squash and basil and squash and tomatoes and squash.  Did I mention squash? {Note to self:  Next year only plant one squash plant per type of squash}  We had so much freakin’ squash, that our neighbors were like “Um, we like squash, but can you stop giving us a small mountain of it every week?”  So, I brought it to friends, family and even my hairdresser.  We made zucchini EVERYTHING and I was typing “squash recipes” far too often into the search engine on Pinterest that Pinterest was all “Stop asking.  We have nothing new for you to pin.” 

But this little gem of a recipe made it out of our garden & kitchen this summer.  Low cal, simple, delish, my kids beg for it, and the squash gladly gave their lives for it.  Win-win-win-AND-win.  

Slow Cooker Healthy Marinara a la Farmer

Slow Cooker Healthy Marinara a la Farmer

Squash on…  

Slow Cooker Turkey & Summer Squash Marinara
Serves 10
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Prep Time
25 min
Prep Time
25 min
  1. 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - divided
  2. 1 pound Ground Turkey, 99% lean
  3. 1 medium onion, diced
  4. 1/2 green pepper, diced
  5. 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  6. 1 medium Yellow Squash, shredded
  7. 8oz package of fresh Mushrooms, sliced
  8. 28 ounce can, Diced Tomatoes
  9. 2 - 15 ounce cans, Tomato Sauce
  10. 6oz can Tomato Paste
  11. 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  12. 1 1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
  13. 1 1/4 tsp Dried Basil
  14. 1 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  15. 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper (gives it a little zing, but does not make it too spicy)
  1. In large skillet over medium high heat, add 1/2 tbsp. of the olive oil saute turkey until crumbled and meat is no longer pink. Add turkey to Slow Cooker and return skillet to stovetop. In same skillet with remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, saute onion, green pepper, zucchini, yellow squash & mushrooms until onion is translucent and some of the liquid from the squash has cooked off. Add to Slow Cooker.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the Slow Cooker, mix well and cook for 4-6 hours on high heat.
  3. Serve with grated parmesan over roasted Spaghetti Squash for the parents, and whole wheat spaghetti for the kiddos.
  1. Meatless Variation: Omit turkey and follow directions for the veggiesaurus' in your family...OR if you're Catholic and you wanna put a Lent on it...
Eat Sweat Pray Repeat


  1. This sounds so yummy! I definitely have Zucchini I need to use up.