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Saffron Turkey Ragu Over Spaghetti Squash

This saffron turkey ragu over spaghetti squash recipe is representative of my theme over the next few weeks—making food that is easy, uniquely flavored, and can be made en masse for the week. I focused a lot on farmers’ markets because I think 50% of the challenge of getting yourself to cook is finding inspiration, and markets, with all their seasonal goodies, are surefire inspiration. They are a great place to get started, but now is time for the next 50%–executing meal prep with recipes and store-bought ingredients that will help you get the most bang for your buck and effort by creating a whole lot of food you will actually want to eat.


This veggie and protein-packed ragu is a great practical recipe because it can be easily multiplied and thrown on anything—spaghetti squash (my preference since it is in season now and keeps the meal from feeling too heavy), zoodles, chickpea pasta, regular pasta—for a complete meal. I especially like that it can be frozen to eat at a later point, like on a rainy day when you don’t want to step outside or deal with the 2 hour delivery wait on Seamless. Say no to the starving, hours-long wait, say yes to defrosting and eating in under five minutes.

Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  • 3 tbsp Kasandrino’s organic extra virgin olive oil (Use discount code SLICEOFPAI10 for 10% off) + a small amount to coat the pan before browning the turkey
  • 2 (14.5 oz ) cans diced, no salt added tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • A healthy pinch of saffron (about 20-25 strands, stir in a couple at a time and taste)
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 small onion (finely diced)
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste


For the turkey ragu:
  • Drizzle olive oil on a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium low heat.
  • Turn heat up to medium high and add turkey, stirring until it is fully crumbled and browned (about 3-4 minutes).
  • Scoop turkey onto a plate or pan and set aside.
  • Add 3 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet and turn heat down to medium low.
  • Add onion and garlic and sauté in oil until onions are translucent and mixture is fragrant.
  • Turn heat up to medium and add to skillet diced tomatoes, paprika, parsley, saffron, and chili powder. Allow mixture to simmer about 1-2 minutes, stirring periodically.
  • Stir in zucchini and mushrooms and allow them to cook in the sauce for about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in ground turkey, place cover on skillet, and allow ragu to cook for about 4 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the spaghetti squash:
  • Poke squash all over with a fork.
  • Place the squash in a slow cooker and add water to the cooker until it is 1-1.5 inches high.
  • Cook squash on the high setting for 3-4 hours or on the low setting for 8-10 hours.
  • Once cooked, remove squash from cooker and slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds.
  • Use a fork to scrape out all the squash.


  • Divide squash between two plates, top each with half the turkey ragu, and serve.