15 Flavorful Dinner Recipes That Start With Ground Turkey
Ground turkey is a budget-friendly protein source that, unlike turkey in its whole or part forms, is available year-round. Just one serving has nearly half the protein the average person needs in a day, and with much less fat than many other animal sources. But there’s one reason it isn’t more popular: ground turkey can easily become dry. Knowing that juiciness and moisture are key to the main dish being appealing, we sought out a collection of not-dry ground turkey recipes that are all great for weeknight dinners.
Whether you’re in the mood for meatballs, stir fry, or curry, we have a recipe that’s right for you. Each one has either techniques or ingredients that promise moist results. For best results, we recommend choosing either a blend of dark and light turkey or dark meat only for these ground turkey recipes; white meat is the driest option.
1. Oven Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
Adding a cup of zucchini to a pound of ground beef doesn’t just make for meatballs that contain fiber and vitamins — the zucchini also helps to keep the meatballs moist. Additionally, onions are grated and then the juice from that is also used, which will provide liquid with a considerable amount of flavor. Best yet, these are baked, not fried. Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs are employed, but if you wanted to avoid dairy or gluten you could choose nutritional yeast and a bread crumb sub like Cauli Crunch.
Try the recipe from Veronika’s Kitchen.
2. Roasted Eggplant Lasagna With Turkey
This recipe completely eschews the use of pasta in favor of sliced eggplant. Think of it as a delicious combo of lasagna and eggplant parm. Tomato paste and chopped tomatoes keep the ground turkey — which comprises the bulk of the sauce — juicy and tender. We love the cottage cheese filling for a higher protein, lower fat take on the standard ricotta filling of lasagna, and the pre-cooking of the eggplant slices to ensure they become soft enough to work as a pasta substitute.
Try the recipe from A Saucy Kitchen.
3. Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed peppers aren’t the most difficult dish in the first place, but everything comes together even more quickly when no stuffing is required! The ground turkey is kept moist with two cups of salsa, and you can easily use jarred or fresh if you don’t want to make your own. Because the rice is precooked, you have the option of using brown or forbidden, or a different grain entirely, such as millet or sorghum.
Try the recipe from Salt & Baker.
4. Healthy Turkey Burgers
A collection of ground turkey recipes simply wouldn’t be complete without a burger recipe, but we understand that a dry turkey burger is a terrible thing. Luckily, that’s not the case here! An egg is added to the turkey mixture along with Worcestershire sauce, both of which will add texture and softness to the turkey. Several tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley also break up the firmness of the turkey. Serve with all the fixings, and you won’t miss the beef at all.
Try the recipe from This Healthy Table.
5. Stuffed Acorn Squash
The secret of this delicious fall recipe that provides both juiciness and a delectable autumnal flavor is the use of chopped fresh apples. They suggest honey crisp, which will offer significantly more sweetness than Granny Smith would. Lots of baby portabella mushrooms further make this recipe a fall standout, and serving halved acorn squash always makes for a beautiful presentation. You could easily prep this ahead of time, or even roast a batch of acorn halves for assorted fillings.
Try the recipe from The Clean Eating Couple.
6. Coconut Turkey Curry in a Hurry
It might seem like ground turkey is a surprising choice for a curry, but it works incredibly well. When combined with full-fat coconut milk, there’s no way this turkey could be dry. We love the use of numerous vegetables, lime juice, and fresh garlic and ginger for an authentic curry taste. Serve over cauliflower rice or a whole grain in lieu of the suggested jasmine rice to make it even higher in fiber and more filling.
Try the recipe from Heartbeet Kitchen.
7. Spicy Ground Turkey and Green Bean Stir Fry
Stir fries are all about quick cooking over high heat, and that technique does a great job of preventing ground turkey from drying out. Rice vinegar and chili sauce add a powerful punch of flavor to the turkey and green beans, and the extra step of first broiling the green beans will be well worth it. It’s a fast way to get a little char on them, and that element will add a strong depth of flavor, as well as a restaurant-made quality, to the entire dish.
Try the recipe from Slender Kitchen.
8. Mediterranean Turkey Burgers
Adding spices and herbs to the patties and slathering them in a creamy tzatziki sauce makes for a healthier take on burger night that’s still plenty flavorful. Make yourself some extra sauce and thank us later.
Try the recipe from The Modern Proper.
9. The Best Healthy Turkey Chili
One of our favorite ways to, um, beef ground turkey up? Turn it into chili — one of our favorite ground turkey recipes to make! Specifically, this chili, which is absolutely loaded with flavor. The recipe calls for canned corn, but if you’ve got fresh corn on hand, go ahead and use it.
Try the recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.
10. Sweet Potato Lasagna
This smart twist on lasagna calls for ground pork, but you could easily use ground turkey or a combination of the two. We love that it uses nutrient-packed cottage cheese and thick sweet potato rounds instead of the usual pasta noodles.
Try the recipe from A Sweet Pea Chef.
11. Garlic Butter Turkey Meatballs With Lemon Zucchini Noodles
This low-carb, keto-friendly take on spaghetti with meatballs uses is perfect for this time of year. The meatballs are a mix of turkey and pork and they’re stuffed with cheese, and the lemony zoodles are the perfect pairing (just remember to add a spiralizer to your shopping cart!).
Try the recipe from Eatwell101.
12. Easy Turkey & Zucchini Skillet
This veggie and protein-packed meal is a weeknight dinner win. It’s super-easy and super-flavorful. Plus, it’s on the table in 30 minutes. Serve it with rice or pasta or just on its own.
Try the recipe from The Whole Cook.
13. Turkey Meatballs in a Creamy Red Curry Sauce
This recipe calls for curry paste, fresh herbs, garlic, and fish sauce in the meatballs and the sauce. The result? An umami-packed dinner you’ll want to make over and over again.
Try the recipe from The Modern Proper.
14. Ground Turkey Stir-Fry
What’s even better than an easy and versatile stir-fry that comes together in 25 minutes? One you can meal prep on a Sunday and eat all week.
Try the recipe from Budget Bytes.
15. Turkey Bolognese
Sometimes you want to make a bolognese that simmers all day; other times, you want dinner on the table pronto. Enter this quick and easy sauce which leans on tomato paste and red wine for some of that all-day flavor. This sauce also freezes like a dream.
Try the recipe from Well Plated.