Ground turkey recipes are a great way to lighten up your dinnertime meals. With the right ingredients, they can explode with flavor, with a fraction of the fat. Dive into these 15 ground turkey recipes to make dinnertime easy and healthy.
Ground turkey recipes are in regular rotation around our house. In fact, we always have a few packages of the quick-cooking meat stashed in our freezer for quick, healthy dinner recipes. I'm sharing some of my favorite easy ground turkey recipes with you here, ranging from casseroles to soups to stir-fries.
But how do you know whether to choose regular, lean or extra lean ground turkey? And how to you compensate for the flavor loss when you use a meat with less fat? I'm covering those questions and more in my cooking tips below.
How many calories are in ground turkey?
- That all depends on whether you're talking about ground turkey, lean ground turkey or extra lean ground turkey.
- Ground turkey is defined as 85% lean/15% fat and clocks in at about 220 calories and 19 grams of protein for a 4-ounce serving (raw).
- Lean ground turkey is defined as 93% lean/7% fat and there are about 170 calories and 21 grams of protein per 4-ounce serving (raw).
- Extra lean ground turkey is defined as 99% lean/1% fat and there about 120 calories and 26 grams of protein per 4-ounce serving (raw).
- All types of ground turkey have 0 grams of carbs.
When to use regular ground turkey and extra lean ground turkey:
- The fat content in ground turkey typically depends on the part of the turkey that is used in the mixture. While extra lean ground turkey is typically made exclusively from turkey breasts, the regular and lean versions usually incorporate some turkey thigh and drumstick meat with the breast meat.
- Because the fat content varies so significantly between the three types, the flavor and the way the meat cooks also varies. Less fat = less flavor. And ground turkey containing more fat will shrink (think: burger patties) when cooked because some of the fat is rendering out.
- I typically use lean (93/7) ground turkey because I find that it's a good balance between lean-ness and flavor.
- That being said, a general rule of thumb to follow is to use extra lean ground turkey for sauces (less moisture is compensated with the other sauce ingredients) and regular or lean ground turkey for meatballs and patties.
How to give ground turkey more flavor:
- As with any lower fat cooking, aromatics, spices and herbs are your friends.
- Be sure to season the meat properly with salt. If you have time and think of it, season the ground turkey ahead of time to allow the salt to seep into the ground turkey. (If you've read Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (affiliate) - highly recommended! - or watched the accompanying Netflix series, you know the power of salting ahead of time!)
- Don't skimp on spices and herbs! If you have a favorite recipe that uses ground beef or regular ground turkey and are switching to a ground turkey with a lower fat content, increase the amount of spices and herbs slightly to compensate for the flavor loss that comes with using leaner meat.
- Don't forget the acid. A squeeze of lemon or lemon, or a dash of vinegar can do wonders to brighten up the flavor of any dish.
Healthy Ground Turkey Recipes:
1. Turkey Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
2. Ground Turkey Stir-Fry with Green Beans & Kale
3. Southwestern Turkey Rice Casserole
4. Italian Turkey Meatball Recipe in Tomato Sauce
5. Pesto Turkey Tortellini Soup
6. Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage
7. Slow Cooker Turkey & Potato Soup
8. Sloppy Joe Cauliflower Rice Recipe
9. Italian Turkey, Potato & Zucchini Meatloaf
10. Crockpot Meatballs with Blackberry Chili Sauce
11. Greek Turkey, Rice & Feta Casserole
12. Turkey Taco Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
13. Bolognese Sauce with Turkey & Chicken Sausage
14. Grilled Turkey Burgers with Curry Hummus
15. Asian Meatball & Avocado Flatbread Sandwich
This post was originally published on January 13, 2019 and was updated on July 15, 2019.
Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.