Ground turkey is an underrated dinner ingredient. Sure, the lean meat makes a perfect substitute for ground beef, especially when you’re craving a lightweight take on burgers, tacos, or another classic meal. But, we think ground turkey is pretty great in its own right and deserves heaps more credit.
There are plenty of recipes that put ground turkey front and center. Greek turkey meatballs, sweet potato chili, creamy taco soup—all of these dishes are made better by the addition of ground turkey, not just made lighter or less greasy. Plus, these are just some of the many ground turkey recipes worth adding to your dinner rotation.
When you’re craving something lightweight but hearty, ground turkey can’t be beat. So, stock up on the ingredient and start experimenting with ways to cook it—you’ll thank yourself later.
Gluten-Free Meat Lasagna Roll-Ups
The Recipe: Gluten-Free Meat Lasagna Roll-Ups
Why We Love It: These lasagna roll-ups are loaded with cheese, lean meat, and spices—just a few of our favorite things. This recipe shouldn’t take too long to throw together, either. Simply cook your pasta noodles, mix up your cheeses, and sauté your ground turkey. Once everything is ready, throw it in a baking dish, and let your oven handle the rest.
Pro Tip: Since this recipe is designed to be gluten-free, it calls for gluten-free lasagna noodles. But if you’re craving a more classic lasagna texture, you could sub in a gluten-filled option without changing the recipe at all.
The Hero Ingredient: This recipe is packed with delicious ingredients, but we’re most excited about the 10 ounces of frozen spinach that Toni of Boulder Locavore managed to sneak in. This little detail takes the dish from delicious and filling to delicious, filling, and nutrient-packed—making it a worthwhile addition to your dinner rotation.
Greek Turkey Meatballs
The Recipe: Greek Turkey Meatballs
Why We Love It: These Greek turkey meatballs feel totally fancy, but they’re not hard to make at all. Simply combine your meatball ingredients, shape them with a cookie scoop, and pop them in your oven. After about 20 minutes, you’ll have a delicious dinner worth devouring. Yes, it’s that easy.
Pro Tip: Maria Lichty, one of the bloggers behind Two Peas and Their Pod, recommends serving these meatballs over salad, over rice, or—our personal favorite option—on a gyro. To make a gyro, tuck your meatballs inside a warm piece of pita bread, and use vegetables, feta cheese, and tzatziki sauce to add flavor.
The Hero Ingredient: Tzatziki sauce perfectly complements the flavors in these lean turkey meatballs, making this meal feel next-level special. The best part? You can score it in most grocery stores. And if you want to whip up a batch of your own, Two Peas and Their Pod has a great recipe for that, too.
Ground Turkey-Stuffed Acorn Squash
The Recipe: Ground Turkey-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Why We Love It: Nearly everyone’s heard of stuffed peppers, but there's something about stuffed acorn squash that feels a little more special. Plus, acorn squash tends to be relatively big, so you can easily serve this dish as an appetizer or an entree. Simply halve your acorn squash and roast it in your oven. While it’s baking, whip up a little turkey quinoa stuffing on the side. Once both are finished, combine the two—and get ready to indulge in a flavorful, filling meal.
Pro Tip: Wondering if you can eat the skin on your acorn squash? According to Jessica Gavin, the blogger behind this recipe, you absolutely can. So feel free to slice up your stuffed acorn squash and eat it whole.
The Hero Ingredient: Pecans make a surprising addition to this dish and one that adds both flavor and depth. Combined with other classically seasonal ingredients, like fuji apples and dried cranberries, the pecans leave this dish tasting fall-inspired but delicious enough to enjoy all year long.
Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Turkey Chili
The Recipe: Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Turkey Chili
Why We Love It: One of the most classic ways to cook with ground turkey? Put it in a chili, where it will get flavor from broth, spices, and sliced vegetables. But the best part of this turkey chili recipe isn’t how delicious it tastes—it’s how easy it is to throw together. Simply compile your ingredients, toss them in your slow cooker, and revisit your chili when you’re ready to eat it about 6–8 hours later.
Pro Tip: Tisha Riman of Root and Revel recommends topping your chili with Greek yogurt, avocado, and cilantro—which are easy-to-find ingredients that will add even more flavor to your meal.
The Hero Ingredient: Most chilis rely on a combination of ground meat and beans. But this one calls for ground meat and sweet potatoes, instead. This surprising swap will lend your chili some delightful sweetness, while keeping it just as filling as a more traditional chili.
Whole30 Sloppy Joes
The Recipe: Whole30 Sloppy Joes
Why We Love It: Sloppy joes are ridiculously tasty, and this recipe from Food Faith Fitness manages to make them Whole30-friendly, too. Taylor, the blogger behind the site, swapped traditional hamburger buns for baked sweet potatoes and piled the sloppy joe filling on top. The result is a dish that is a little more nutritious than a classic sloppy joe, but just as hearty and delicious.
Pro Tip: This recipe calls for ground beef, but according to Taylor, ground turkey should work just as well. And don’t worry about pairing ground turkey with beef broth—the combination tastes surprisingly great.
The Hero Ingredient: Medjool dates may look out of place in this recipe, but they lend the sloppy joe filling its signature sweetness—while remaining Whole30-friendly, of course. Normally sloppy joes call for brown sugar, but Medjool dates taste so good in the filling that you may never want to go back.
Spicy Turkey Taco Salad
The Recipe: Spicy Turkey Taco Salad
Why We Love It: Many taco salad recipes prioritize flavor over nutrition, but this dish from Half-Baked Harvest balances the two perfectly. Dark leafy greens combine with avocados and mangos to give you plenty of nutrient-packed flavor, while black beans and ground turkey offer enough lean protein to fill you up. A blend of spices keep things dynamic, while crushed tortilla chips add a little crunch. The result? A meal that’s complex, but easy to throw together—and tasty enough to eat every week.
Pro Tip: Tieghan Gerard, the blogger behind Half-Baked Harvest, says this salad is perfect for meal prep, especially if you use kale as your base. Simply whip up a batch and pack it in your favorite meal prep container. If you really want to keep your salad from wilting, keep the dressing on the side.
The Hero Ingredient: This salad is delicious, but the Baja dressing makes it even better. Whipping up the dressing will take no time at all, and the added flavor is well worth the extra effort.
Turkey Wontons in Turkey Mapo Sauce
The Recipe: Turkey Wontons in Turkey Mapo Sauce
Why We Love It: This out-of-the-box recipe will show you just how versatile turkey can be. But be warned, it does require a handful of steps. Start by mixing up your ground turkey filling. Then, stuff your wonton wrappers and fold them. Bring a pot of water to boil while using the rest of your turkey to make a delicious Mapo sauce. Once your water is boiling, pop your wontons in. Then drain them, cover them in Mapo sauce, and serve them on a pretty plate.
The Hero Ingredient: Premade wonton wrappers make this recipe much easier to throw together. Just be sure to lightly wet the edges of the wrappers when you’re folding them, as this will make them easier to work with.
Veggie-Packed Turkey Bolognese
The Recipe: Veggie-Packed Turkey Bolognese
Why We Love It: Pasta is always a good idea, and this veggie-packed turkey bolognese sauce is particularly delicious. Carrots, onions, bell peppers, and celery work together to add nutrients and texture, while oregano and garlic offer plenty of flavor. And since the recipe only calls for 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of cook time, this dish makes a particularly great last-minute meal.
Pro Tip: You can serve this sauce over any kind of pasta, but Kim of Kim’s Cravings specifically recommends using Skinner Spaghetti. “I’m a Texas girl through and through,” she says. “So, using the number one pasta in Texas is a must.”
The Hero Ingredient: Grated Parmesan cheese adds a perfect finishing touch to this delicious dish. And the best part is you can pile on as much as you want.
Creamy Turkey Taco Soup
The Recipe: Creamy Turkey Taco Soup
Why We Love It: Tacos are delicious, and this creamy turkey taco soup is just as lovely. Skip the taco shells and messy assembly and opt for a creamy soup that’s loaded with filling flavor. Cream cheese, beef broth, and heavy cream create an indulgent base, while ground turkey and black beans offer plenty of lean protein. This is a 30-minute soup you’ll want to eat for days on end.
Pro Tip: This Peace, Love, and Low Carb recipe calls for a slow cooker, but you could just as easily make it using a pot on your stove. Just stir it, cover it, let it simmer for 4-6 hours on your stove, and you should be good to go.
The Hero Ingredient: Garlic doesn’t usually make its way into tacos, but it tastes delicious in this taco soup recipe. Follow directions and add three minced cloves—your tastebuds will thank you later.
The Ultimate Classic Turkey Burger
The Recipe: The Ultimate Classic Turkey Burger
Why We Love It: Looking for a way to make your homemade burgers a little lighter? Use ground turkey instead of ground beef. This recipe combines classic burger ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles with a ground turkey patty to make a burger that’s lean but totally tasty. Plus, the entire dish comes together in just 12 minutes, so you can quickly whip up a batch whenever you’re craving a burger.
Pro Tip: Krista, the blogger behind Joyful Healthy Eats, recommends grilling your burger buns and serving them toasted. In fact, she suggests letting them get a little charred. Reluctant to give it a try? We get it—you don't want to ruin your burger with a burnt bun. But push yourself to try it. The char will add a seriously dynamic flavor to your meal, we promise.
The Hero Ingredient: Is it off-limits to say the MVP of this recipe is the grill? Seriously, burgers taste different—and by that, we mean better—when they’ve gotten some of that signature grill char.
Cheesy Ground Turkey Eggplant Casserole
The Recipe: Cheesy Ground Turkey Eggplant Casserole
Why We Love It: Looking for an entree that’s delicious, hearty, and easy to make? You can’t go wrong with a casserole, and this dish from Eating Bird Food is a particularly tasty option. To make the casserole, layer turkey sauce over sliced eggplant and sprinkle some mozzarella on top. The final result will look a little like a lasagna, but since you used eggplant slices instead of noodles, it’ll be a touch more nutritious.
Pro Tip: Brittany Mullins, the blogger behind Eating Bird Food, recommends serving the casserole with grated Parmesan—and you won’t want to skip this step. The cheese will add even more flavor and texture to the dish, finishing it off deliciously.
The Hero Ingredient: Sliced eggplant makes a welcome addition to this dish, leaving the casserole feeling juicy, textured, and surprisingly fresh—a word we never thought we’d use to describe a casserole.
Turkey Cuban Picadillo
The Recipe: Turkey Cuban Picadillo
Why We Love It: Turkey picadillo is a traditional Latin American dish packed with flavor and spice, perfect for serving at parties—or for enjoying on a solo night in. To whip up the dish, you’ll want to cook and season the turkey. Then, slowly add in the rest of your ingredients. The entire dish should come together in just 25 minutes including prep and cook time, so it’s an easy meal to throw together any time you are craving it.
Pro Tip: Erin of Platings and Pairings recommends serving your turkey picadillo over rice or on tacos. But, you could just as easily serve it in a bowl alongside a bag of chips. Options abound with this versatile dish, so whip it up a few times and try something new each time you do.
The Hero Ingredient: Pimiento-stuffed green olives pack this already-delicious recipe with even more flavor. Coupled with capers, they deliver all kinds of salty goodness and make a perfect complement to the sweet golden raisins sprinkled into the dish.
Green Chile Turkey Tacos
The Recipe: Green Chile Turkey Tacos
Why We Love It: Tacos make the perfect easy dinner, and these green chile turkey tacos look like the kind of thing you’d score at a gourmet restaurant. Lean ground turkey combines with lime juice, chopped onion, and fire-roasted green chilies to make a taco filling that’s delicious and delightfully spicy. Plus, the soft corn tortillas make the perfect shell to pile the filling in.
Pro Tip: Lindsay Cotter, of Cotter Crunch, recommends warming your tortillas before serving them. This will make them more pliable—and tacos just taste better served in warm shells.
The Hero Ingredient: Fresh lime juice takes these turkey tacos to the next level. Stock up on fresh limes, halve them, and squeeze. Consider serving your tacos with a few extra lime slices just in case anyone wants to double up.
One-Pot Turkey Meatballs
The Recipe: One-Pot Turkey Meatballs
Why We Love It: Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic for a reason—it’s delicious. And this recipe proves that zoodles and turkey meatballs can be just as tasty. The entire dish comes together in a single pan in just 45 minutes and is loaded with delicious ingredients like garlic cloves, honey, and tomato puree.
Pro Tip: When it comes time to brown your meatballs, be sure to do so gently and carefully. Why? According to Nicky, the blogger behind Kitchen Sanctuary, the meatballs will be a little delicate and you don’t want them coming apart in your pan.
The Hero Ingredient: We love zoodles. But if we’re being totally honest, they taste out of place in some dishes. In this dish, though, they taste perfectly at home and make a lovely lightweight complement to the tasty turkey meatballs.
Walking Taco Quesadilla
The Recipe: Walking Taco Quesadilla
Why We Love It: This quesadilla recipe will deliver mouth-watering results every time. And since it’s so easy to throw together, you can whip it up any time you need a quick bite. Simply season and cook your turkey and pile it on a quesadilla along with some shredded cheese and crushed corn chips. Spend a few minutes frying your quesadilla, then slice it up and serve. The whole process should take only 20 minutes.
Pro Tip: Since your quesadilla ingredients are so simple, your garnish will make a big difference. Kate Ramos, the blogger behind Hola Jalapeno, recommends topping your quesadilla with avocado, cilantro, jalapenos, sour cream, and anything else you'd like.
The Hero Ingredient: It’s not every day that you put crushed corn chips inside a quesadilla, but the crunchy ingredient will add so much texture and flavor that you’ll never go back. This recipe calls for Fritos specifically, but any similarly crunchy option should do.
The Recipe: Savory Baklava
Why We Love It: Many of us associate baklava with deliciously sweet flavors, but this savory rendition is just as tasty. Ground turkey comes together with chopped onion, tomato paste, and a range of spices to create a filling that’s packed with flavor. Crushed pistachios and shredded cheese top things off, while phyllo dough lends the dish its signature flaky goodness.
Pro Tip: This Spoon Fork Bacon recipe calls for melted butter over every layer of phyllo dough, and you won’t want to skip this step. The butter will ensure that each layer of dough gets crispy and flaky—which is key to creating a yummy baklava.
The Hero Ingredient: Chopped pistachios fill this baklava with sweet flavor and crunchy texture, making it next-level tasty. After whipping up this dish, don’t be surprised if you find yourself tempted to put pistachios on everything.
The Recipe: Turkey Meatloaf
Why We Love It: Think your Thanksgiving turkey is the only turkey-based comfort food around? Think again. This turkey meatloaf recipe is equally hearty and delicious. And even better: it’s easy to make. Just use an electric mixer to combine your meatloaf, use your hands to shape it, and let your oven handle the rest. After about an hour of cook time, it's time to enjoy.
Pro Tip: Be sure not to overmix your meatloaf, according to Melanie of Melanie Makes. Overmixing can lead your dish to become dry and tough. “You'll want to mix only until you can no longer see individual ingredients, but rather one cohesive mixture,” she says. Then, turn off your mixer and move on to the next step of the recipe.
The Hero Ingredient: Meatloaf is great, but meatloaf topped with ketchup is even better. So don’t skimp on the condiment—pile it on to taste and dig in.