Weeknight Italian Turkey Casserole
3 Health Benefits of This Italian Turkey Casserole
#1: Supports Heart Health
Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower are high in an antioxidant compound called sulforaphane (SFN). As an antioxidant, SFN helps to protect your body against oxidative stress, which can happen both naturally or due to chemical insult from the outside world.
Among the benefits of SFN are it’s potential to protect your heart from cardiovascular disease(CVD), as well as its potential cancer-protective activity.
Oxidative stress is a major contributor to CVD, along with inflammation. Sulforaphane imparts both anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant activity which can activate pathways in your body that assists in cardioprotection as well as detoxification[*].
#2: Boosts Immunity
When you’re feeling sick, there’s nothing like a warm, home-cooked meal to get you back on your feet. While this recipe is loaded with nutrients, there’s one ingredient in particular that can help you fight off a common cold — garlic.
In one study, a group of volunteers took a garlic supplement or placebo for 12 weeks between November and February (a common time for people to come down with colds and cases of the flu). The group taking the active garlic supplement experienced significantly fewer colds, and when they did get sick, they recovered much faster than the placebo group.
An active ingredient in garlic, allicin, is likely responsible for its immune-boosting qualities[*].
#3: Promotes Restful Sleep
This casserole dish makes a fantastic dinner option, especially if you’re someone who has trouble with sleep.
Turkey is not only an excellent source of protein, but it may also help you fall asleep. Tryptophan, an amino acid that’s found in abundance in turkey, is a precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin. Post-Thanksgiving nap anyone?
Melatonin is involved in your sleep and wake cycles and is intimately tied to your circadian rhythm.
Research shows that taking a melatonin supplement can be an effective treatment for sleep disorders. It not only helps you fall asleep faster, but it increases total sleep time and can improve overall sleep quality[*].
But you don’t need to take a supplement — just eat your turkey.
Italian Turkey Casserole
If you’re more of a no-hassle chef and want to throw all of the below ingredients into a slow cooker that’s certainly an option. However, the stove top version gives a little more flavor and texture if you’re up for it.
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add ground turkey and crumble into small pieces. Add ½ the salt, pepper, ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Cook for 3-5 minutes until browned.
- Stir in onions, garlic, zucchini, riced cauliflower, marinara sauce, and remaining seasonings into the turkey mixture. Mix well and cook for for 8-10 minutes until veggies have softened.
- Remove from heat and add to an 9×9 casserole dish. Add small pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese to casserole. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and serve.