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20 Ground Turkey Recipes You’ve Never Tried Before

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Ground turkey is an unsung hero of lean proteins. It’s tasty, high-protein, lean, and extremely versatile. Here are 20 healthy ways to enjoy it.

 

Next time you’re in the grocery store shopping for protein and don’t know what to pick, go for ground turkey. Like chicken, it has excellent macros that can fit into any type of nutritional plan, and also has a light flavor that works well with a wide variety of dishes.

These 20 ground turkey recipes prove its versatility, ease of cooking, and downright deliciousness. From taco burger patties to a lighter version of shepherd’s pie or a kid’s favorite like sloppy Joes, ground turkey can do it all.

Enjoy!

 

Perfect Turkey Burger

perfect-turkey-burger-recipes
Picture courtesy of Andy Husbands and Chris Hart

By using dark meat, this recipe solves one of the main problems with turkey patties: dry texture. It adds a little more fat but a whole lot more flavor. These are seasoned simply to work with a wide variety of toppings, including pickles, Sriracha, barbecue sauce, or simple mustard and ketchup.

Get more incredible recipes– including 14 unique toppings like grilled romaine and dilled salmon roe – in Wicked Good Burgers: Fearless Recipes and Uncompromising Techniques for the Ultimate Patty.

wicked-good-burgers

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 clove garlic

2 1/2 lbs. ground dark-meat turkey

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. soy sauce

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs

Vegetable oil

6 whole-wheat sesame buns

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 639

Protein: 66 grams

Carbs: 51 grams

Fat: 20 grams

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Sharp Cheddar-Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf Meatballs

turkey-meatloaf-meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of Melanie Makes

Meatloaf transforms from classic dinner to neat appetizer in this recipe. The mix itself is pretty simple with oats, bread crumbs, ketchup, and seasoning. But one bite will reveal the surprise inside: melted cheddar cheese.

Makes about 40

Ingredients

2 lb. ground turkey

1/2 cup quick oats

1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups ketchup, divided

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. garlic powder

6.4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, cubed

Nutrition Facts (Per Meatball)

Calories: 87

Protein: 8 grams

Carbs: 4 grams

Fat: 4 grams

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Mini Turkey Meatball Vegetable Soup

ground-turkey-vegetable-soup Picture courtesy of skinnytaste

This soup is heartier than most with ground turkey meatballs, plus a healthy dose of veggies like zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, celery, and spinach. It also develops a deep flavor from simmering with a big hunk of Parmesan cheese rind.

Serves 7

Ingredients

Meatballs:

20 oz. ground turkey breast, 93% lean

1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

1 large egg

1/4 cup onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. salt

Soup:

32 oz. container reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced celery

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans (14.5 oz. each) petite diced tomatoes

Parmesan cheese rind

1 fresh rosemary sprig

2 bay leaves

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/2 tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium to large zucchini, diced

2 cups chopped fresh spinach

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional garnish)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 229

Protein: 21 grams

Carbs: 14 grams

Fat: 9 grams

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Taco Turkey Burger

ground-turkey-taco-burger-recipe Picture courtesy of Rachel Cooks

If you think switching from ground beef to ground turkey burgers has to taste boring, you need to fire up the broiler for this one. Best of all, it combines the flavors of a taco in the mouth-watering package of a juicy burger, so it satisfies two carnivorous cravings at once.

Top with your favorite Mexican condiments like salsa verde, guacamole, and crumbled queso fresco.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb. ground turkey

1 Tbsp. taco seasoning

1 cup (about 2.5 oz.) finely crushed tortilla chips

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 small yellow onion

4 slices white cheddar cheese

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 442

Protein: 41 grams

Carbs: 13 grams

Fat: 27 grams

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Turkey Meatloaf Stuffed Butternut Squash

turkey-meatloaf-stuffed-squash Picture courtesy of The Chew

This is one way to please everyone at the table, including the traditional carnivores and the healthful farmers’ market addicts. Inside the hollow of a butternut squash, a meatloaf is baked along with fresh thyme

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 2-lb. butternut squash

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 large onion, finely diced

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 lb. ground turkey

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp. tomato puree

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (plus more for garnish)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 520

Protein: 26 grams

Carbs: 68 grams

Fat: 21 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Ground Turkey Taco Salad

Ground-Turkey-Taco-Salad-Recipe Picture courtesy of Tone & Tighten

This is a great lunch or dinner to make ahead and then assemble fresh to enjoy over the next few days.

Simply brown the ground turkey and onion in a skillet. Then toss pinto beans in taco seasoning and salsa. Put it all together with your favorite leafy greens, veggies like diced tomato and avocado, and a drizzle of dressing like low-fat ranch or jalapeno lime.

Serves 5

Ingredients

1 lb. ground turkey

1 medium onion, diced

1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained

1 Tbsp. taco seasoning

1 cup salsa

6 cups romaine lettuce (or other salad greens), chopped

1 cup veggie mix (tomatoes, carrots, avocados, peppers, etc.)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 277

Protein: 24 grams

Carbs: 29 grams

Fat: 10 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Zucchini Spaghetti with Ground Turkey & Vegetables

zucchini-spaghetti-ground-turkey-recipe Picture courtesy of Foodista

A go-to dinner in most American households is pasta with meat sauce. But often these plates can get overloaded with salt, carbs, and oil.

Keep the carb count low with a veggie-based noodle like zucchini ribbons, and use seasoned ground turkey for a lean but filling meat.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced or minced

1 lb. lean ground turkey

1 sprig fresh thyme

6–8 baby orange and red peppers, sliced and seeds removed

2 small delicate squash, thinly sliced and seeds removed

3 medium zucchini, spiralized or peeled into noodles

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 350

Protein: 27 grams

Carbs: 23 grams

Fat: 16 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Mint Pesto Pasta with Ground Turkey & Arugula

pesto-turkey-pasta-recipe Picture courtesy of Gemma’s Kitchen Delights

Use the same technique to make Italian pesto – pulsing together herbs, pecans, Parmesan, garlic, olive oil, and seasonings in the food processor – only use fresh mint instead of basil for a livelier sauce.

The crisp mint pairs well with the bite of arugula, and it all the flavors come together with browned ground turkey and whole-wheat pasta.

Serves 8

Ingredients

2 lbs. ground turkey

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 boxes (1 1/2 lb.) whole wheat penne

Pint of grape tomatoes, halved

Couple handfuls of arugula

1/2 cup fresh mint pesto

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 616

Protein: 47 grams

Carbs: 64 grams

Fat: 24 grams

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Green Goddess Turkey Casserole

ground--turkey-casserole-recipe Picture courtesy of Betty Crocker

This casserole looks like well-known family favorites, but there are three nutrient-packed greens snuck in the mix: zucchini, broccoli, and spinach.

Picky kids (and grown-ups) will be pleased by the creamy alfredo sauce, melted cheese, and savory chunks of kielbasa.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 lb. ground turkey

1 cup turkey kielbasa, cubed

1/2 cup diced onion

1 Tbsp. dried onion flakes

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 medium zucchini, grated

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach

1 cup cooked broccoli

1 jar (15 oz.) sun-dried tomato alfredo sauce

1 cup dry tri-color rotini

3 oz. (3/4 cup) shredded Parmesan

1 cup shredded Monterrey jack or mozzarella

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 523

Protein: 41 grams

Carbs: 38 grams

Fat: 24 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Ground Turkey Pasta Soup

Ground-Turkey-Pasta-Soup-recipe Picture courtesy of Primavera Kitchen

This soup is an instant classic thanks to the combination of ground turkey and elbow macaroni. And because of brown rice pasta, it’s also a great gluten-free meal.

This is a simple soup that comes together in no time, and it has an unmistakable flavor of fresh summer veggies. For optimum flavor, use a homemade vegetable broth.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 lb. extra-lean ground turkey

3/4 cup yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup yellow pepper, diced

1 cup carrot, diced

1 cup celery, diced

5 cups vegetable broth

1 cup brown rice macaroni

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 420

Protein: 22 grams

Carbs: 52 grams

Fat: 14 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Want to know how to build muscle and lose fat eating delicious foods like these?"Dieting" doesn't have to suck. You CAN eat foods you like and have the body you want!

Italian Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

turkey-meatball-recipe Picture courtesy of Cookin Canuck

Some classics never need improvements, including Italian meatballs in a crushed tomato sauce. And if a dish hits all the right notes – as does this recipe – you can honor culinary tradition, keep your palate happy, and stick within your meal plan too.

Serves 4 / Makes 8

Ingredients

Meatballs:

1 lb. extra-lean ground turkey

1/2 medium onion, grated

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup minced flat-leaf Italian parsley

1/4 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs

1 large egg

1 tsp. ground oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. ground oregano

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 can (14 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup minced flat-leaf Italian parsley

4 basil leaves, thinly sliced

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 316

Protein: 34 grams

Carbs: 31 grams

Fat: 8 grams

 GET THE RECIPE

 

Shepherd’s Pie with Mashed Cauliflower

ground-turkey-shepherds-pie Picture courtesy of Wellness Mama

A healthy ground turkey shepherd’s pie will make everyone happy at dinnertime. It has everything you’d expect from the classic dish – except the fluffy layer on top is made from cauliflower instead of potatoes.

This is an easy way to cut the macros since a cup of mashed potatoes contains 134 calories. A cup of mashed cauliflower? Just 28 calories.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 lbs. ground turkey

2 heads cauliflower (or 3 bags frozen cauliflower), chopped into florets

1 large onion, diced

1 large egg

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. oregano

Pinch of cayenne pepper

3 Tbsp. butter

4 oz. cream cheese

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 506

Protein: 50 grams

Carbs: 18 grams

Fat: 30 grams

 GET THE RECIPE

 

Buffalo Wing Turkey Lettuce Wraps

ground-turkey-lettuce-wraps Picture courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything

Buffalo chicken wings in a low-carb wrap? Fuse Frank’s red hot sauce with a lean ground turkey wrap, and it’s the best of both worlds.

The final result looks like it will taste healthy, but don’t be scared away by the sight of a big lettuce leaf. Inside the filling is bursting with Buffalo wing flavor, including carrots, celery, and blue cheese.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb. ground turkey

1/2 cup onion, finely diced

1 tsp. minced garlic

3/4 cup carrot shavings

1 cup celery, thinly sliced

1 head iceberg lettuce, leaves removed to form cups

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup Frank’s red hot buffalo wing sauce

1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles (about 1 Tbsp. per wrap)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 286

Protein: 33 grams

Carbs: 8 grams

Fat: 15 grams

 GET THE RECIPE

 

Greek Turkey Burgers with Creamy Tzatziki

greek-turkey-burger-recipe Picture courtesy of The Lemon Bowl

Going to miss ground beef in a burger if you substitute ground turkey instead? Use the lighter flavor to pick gourmet toppings that taste better with turkey, and you’ll see the lean meat can benefit more than your diet.

Taztziki could be good with any type of burger, but the garlic and dill have more impact on a juicy turkey patty.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup tzatziki sauce with garlic and dill

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 garlic clove, grated or crushed

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

4 whole-wheat buns, split in half

Handful of spinach leaves

8 tomato slices

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 621

Protein: 57 grams

Carbs: 34 grams

Fat: 32 grams

 GET THE RECIPE

 

Turkey Chili with Zucchini

easy-turkey-chili-recipe Picture courtesy of Eating on a Dime

Not only is ground turkey a healthy and easy ingredient to cook with, but it can keep grocery costs low too.

The meat is the biggest expense in this chili. Aside from that, this requires just a quick trip through the produce section. You might even have the canned goods and spices already in your pantry at home.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 lb. 93% ground turkey

2 medium zucchini, shredded

1/2 onion, shredded

1 can (14.5 oz.) kidney beans

2 cans (14 oz. each) crushed tomatoes

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. garlic salt

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cups water

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 190

Protein: 21 grams

Carbs: 13 grams

Fat: 6 grams

 GET THE RECIPE

 

Super Lean Sloppy Joes

ground-turkey-sloppy-joes Picture courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

Ditch the can, and make ground turkey sloppy joes from scratch instead. It doesn’t take long to brown the meat in a skillet.

Then you just have to add in all the sauce ingredients, stir together until heated through, and spoon it onto toasted buns. The final mix is so low-fat, you can even add cheese if you want without feeling guilty – in fact, it might help you hit your macros!

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 red pepper, diced

1 lb. extra-lean ground turkey

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crushed red pepper flakes (add to taste)

1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup BBQ sauce

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

3 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 tsp. hot sauce

1 Tbsp. brown sugar (optional)

6 whole-wheat hamburger buns

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 223

Protein: 21 grams

Carbs: 28 grams

Fat: 4 grams

 GET THE RECIPE

 

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

asina-turkey-lettuce-wraps Picture courtesy of Jessica Gavin

Don’t let the outside fool you because these lettuce wraps are hiding a wealth of flavorful ingredients. The main protein is ground turkey, but it’s not the star here.

Every bite is far more than the sum of its Chinese elements: shiitake mushrooms, chopped cashews, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, hoisin sauce, and fresh ginger.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp. sesame oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup minced shallots

2 tsp. minced ginger

1/4 tsp. dried chili flakes

1/2 cup water chestnuts, finely chopped

1/2 cup bamboo shoots, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms (shiitake or brown mushrooms), chopped with stems removed

1 cup diced carrots

1 1/2 lb. ground turkey

3 Tbsp. hoisin sauce

2 tsp. soy sauce

1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion (for garnish)

1/4 cup chopped cashews (for garnish)

1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 505

Protein: 19 grams

Carbs: 28 grams

Fat: 39 grams

 GET THE RECIPE

 

Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

ground-turkey-quinoa-stuffed-peppers Picture courtesy of Spache the Spatula

Can you believe some stuffed peppers are loaded with fat and not nutrients? The bright bell pepper can fool you into thinking you’re eating healthy, but it’s always a good idea to actually look at the ingredients.

This recipe uses quinoa, spinach, and ground turkey to stuff the peppers. There’s no cheese in the filling, but there is a little sprinkled on top to complete the dish.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 small yellow onions, chopped

2–3 garlic cloves, minced

20 oz. extra-lean ground turkey

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

8 oz. can tomato sauce

2 oz. baby spinach

4 bell peppers, halved with seeds and membranes removed

Fresh basil, chopped or torn

2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 185

Protein: 21 grams

Carbs: 14 grams

Fat: 5 grams

 GET THE RECIPE

 

Mini Turkey Pot Pies

ground-turkey-pot-pie-recipe Picture courtesy of Happy Good Time Blog

A good home-cooked meal is worth a lot of love to make something that smells, looks, and tastes downright special. This turkey pot pie is like that.

It’s a real pie and makes no apologies about the effort it takes to make a tender, flaky crust and assemble a personal-size rustic pastry. But you can cut out some of the labor by purchasing premade dough or shells, using this healthy ground turkey filling.

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 small carrots (about 1/2 cup), peeled and diced

1 rib celery, diced

1/2 brown onion, diced

1/2 cup frozen peas

8 oz. cooked ground turkey

1 1/2 cup cubed potato

3 cups chicken broth

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. oregano

1/8 tsp. thyme

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

16 oz. premade pastry dough

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 587

Protein: 29 grams

Carbs: 71 grams

Fat: 22 grams

 GET THE RECIPE

 

Baked Turkey Taquitos

ground-turkey-taquitos-recipe Picture courtesy of The Creative Mama

Looking for a way to use ground turkey for freezer meals? Make these taquitos by the dozens, and you’ll have plenty on hand for lunchbox meals, afternoon snacks, and ready-made dinners.

It’s also an adaptable recipe, so once you get the hang of it, try using different ingredients for the filling, such as beans or shredded chicken.

Makes 10

Ingredients

1 small red onion, finely diced

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb. ground turkey

1 Tbsp. taco seasonings

1/2 cup taco sauce or salsa

10 flour tortillas

Cooking spray

4 oz. shredded cheese of choice

Handful of fresh cilantro

Nutrition Facts (Per Taquito)

Calories: 205

Protein: 17 grams

Carbs: 13 grams

Fat: 11 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

What did you think of these ground turkey recipes? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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