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Ground turkey - need ideas

Aside from the usual burgers, chili, meatloaf, could use some help. Looking for something a little different, but not too. In the sense that I don't wanna rush out to get a whole bunch of other 'out there' ingredients. Thanks folks.

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  1. Do you know how to make ma po tofu? The turkey is a lighter alternative to the traditional ground pork.

    It's also very nice as the meat base for shepard's pie.

    Also as a core ingredient to stuff the big zucchini we find among us this time of year.

    5 Replies
    1. re: rcallner

      True, never thought of doing a shepard's pie with it. Perhaps....

      I did not know what ma po tofu was but I did a google search and it looks tasty. I don't have any tofu or black beans on hand. How important to the dish are they?

      And I did think about stuffed peppers. I recently saw a recipe calling for lamb and bulgar, and that's what made me think about my frozen turkey.

      1. re: millygirl

        Mapo tofu is essentially a tofu dish, so having some around would be a necessity. It's also one that doesn't use a whole lot of meat so if you're looking at a couple of kilos of turkey, you'd probably not want to make it.

        1. re: millygirl

          We do a shepherd's pie with ground turkey, but we add roasted butternut squash to the mashed potato and use a good mature English cheddar. Delicious.

          If you want my "recipe" (we made it up), I can post it here.

          1. re: guster4lovers

            Yes please guster4lovers.....sounds wonderful.

            1. re: millygirl

              Ok. :-)

              1 onion
              2 carrot
              8-10 mushrooms
              6 cloves garlic
              herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme)
              olive oil
              salt & pepper
              4ish potatoes
              1/2 large butternut squash (or 1 smaller squash)
              mature English cheddar (4-5 oz)
              Ground turkey (we use the package of ground turkey from Trader Joe's, which I believe is 1.5 lbs and it is just enough for 6 servings).

              Preheat oven to 450.

              Start by cooking the ground turkey in some olive oil, garlic, S&P until it's just cooked (i.e. not cremated or rubbery or pink). Remove from pan.

              Peel and chop some potatoes (4 good size white/yellow potatoes, or a mix of white/yellow and red) and throw them into salted boiling water. Reduce to a low simmer. Forget about them until the turkey mixture is done (about 30 mins).

              Using a vegetable peeler, peel the butternut squash. Cube it, then toss it in some olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and thyme. Throw them in the oven and forget about them until after you've mashed the potatoes (about 35 mins). [note: don't be tempted to boil the squash. Roasting is essential, and makes for some seriously delicious eats]

              Then, prepare and add these to the same pan you cooked the turkey in:
              one medium-ish onion (I like red), diced
              two carrots, peeled and diced

              After they have cooked down and are soft (5 mins or so), add:
              8-10 mushrooms, preferably crimini or portobello, peeled and sliced

              When the mushrooms have released their liquid (2-3 mins), add either (or both) chicken stock or white wine to the pan. It should be just enough so that there is a thin coating on the bottom of the pan...maybe 1/2 cup. You can always adjust the level of liquid by cooking it down longer before proceeding to the next step or adding a little more.

              Finally, add:
              chopped garlic (3 cloves is just about right for us, as we love garlic)
              a mixture of sage, rosemary, thyme, or whatever fresh herbs you have/like (we use a little bit of all three - five sage leaves, half a long rosemary stalk, and a few branches of thyme)

              After about one minute, add the turkey back into the pan. Check the seasoning levels and adjust to taste. There should be some liquid in the mix, but not too much - the turkey will give up some liquid during cooking and if there's already a lot of liquid, it will flood the sides of the pan and drown the potato mixture.

              Transfer it into a pan - we use a bowl insert from a crockpot, but you could also use glass pyrex or any type of bowl-shaped oven-safe pot.

              Now, drain and mash the potatoes (we use a food mill, which makes for beautiful lump-free smooth potatoes) with some milk, butter and salt/pepper. Add the roasted squash to the potatoes and mash them in (or add to food mill, then stir together). Adjust the seasoning. Spread it over the turkey mixture, careful to cover all the meat.

              Grate the cheese and add it to the top (it should cover the whole top, so depending on your pan, it could be a little more than 4 oz).

              Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes. If the cheese isn't golden brown at that point, turn on the broiler and give it another 2-3 minutes.

              Eat and enjoy. Leftovers are delicious, and can be reheated in the oven or microwave. We prefer the oven, although it does take 45 minutes, and it's hard to wait that long. :-)

              Let me know what you think if you get around to trying it. We've added/subbed ingredients when we didn't have them or had something in abundance. Leeks are good, tomatoes are good, corn is good, fresh peas are excellent, fresh fava beans are good, I'm sure zucchini would be good (husband doesn't like them, so I can't speak from experience on that). It's really versatile - and with two people it can be finished and ready to eat in about an hour. By myself, I can complete it in about 80 minutes.

      2. The turkey version of tsukune? Ground turkey, green onions, yuzu zest, salt, pepper, mirin, grill.

        Sausage? The filling for an inverted turkenen with pork replacing the turkey?

        1. I use it to make meatballs for spaghetti, and as stuffing for all kinds of things (mushrooms, peppers, zucchini) but my favourite way to use ground turkey is in lettuce wraps. If you have a look for PF Changs Lettuce Wraps recipes they call for diced chicken, but I prefer the taste and texture of ground turkey.

          1. My husband gave up red meat a few years ago, so we use a *lot* of ground turkey. I use it pretty freely in any recipe that calls for ground beef and so far, so good. Sometimes you'll need to add some extra oil to compensate for the lack of rendering fat, other times some extra seasoning; but as long as whatever you're cooking has relatively strong flavors, it'll work out okay. I think my current favorite is taco salad. Or - I know you said you were tired of burgers, but here's a spinach and feta turkey burger recipe that's pretty fab, and different enough that it might not seem like the same old thing. Use a good feta, add some tzatziki - yum.


            1. Here is a somewhat recent thread with lots of ideas. As stated already, I use ground turkey pretty much anywhere you would use ground beef. Only thing is that I cannot stand turkey burgers or turkey meatballs. But ground turkey is great in stir-fries.


              3 Replies
              1. re: valerie

                My guideline for non-beef burgers is this: it ain't beef, and it ain't gonna be. So if I'm making a chicken or turkey burger (and, like I said, since my husband doesn't do cow, I make a lot of chicken and turkey burgers) I try to find recipes where the focus isn't the meat. Like the one I posted above, where the focus is more on the spinach, feta and tzatziki. I also make a good buffalo chicken burger which is pretty much a vehicle for blue cheese. I try to think of it as a entirely different sandwich that kind of bears a faint procedural resemblance to a burger.

                Right there with you on the meatballs, though. I miss real meatballs. I can eat turkey meatballs, but I admit that I've given up making them: the best turkey meatballs I can make still won't be good enough to justify the effort, and I'd rather spend my time on the sauce.

                1. re: darklyglimmer

                  The spinach and feta burgers sound good and I think I even made them once and while back, or a similar version. The problem with them is that the male members of my family would not eat them (spinach is the problem here). Not sure about my daughter, but at least she'd give it a try. Husband and son, forget about it.

                  I do, however, make these chicken burgers and my husband loves them. Ground turkey could easily be used instead. And similar to your buffalo chicken burgers, according to my husband, these are a vehicle for the peanut sauce! Would love to hear details on your buffalo chicken burger if you wouldn't mind sharing...sounds like something my husband would like.

                  My favorite uses for ground turkey is still in stir-fries, or in a baked pasta dish with tomato sauce, or in turkey chili.


                  1. re: valerie

                    Oooh, that sounds good. Bookmarking that immediately. Thanks!

                    Here's a link to the buffalo chicken burgers, which are lowbrow but tasty. My personal jury is out a bit on this blue cheese sauce. Sometimes I like it, other times it tastes like sour cream with blue cheese in it. I go full-force on the cheese, none of this reduced-fat-crumble nonsense. Any excuse to buy good blue!


                1. Ottolenghi has a fabulous recipe for Turkey & Sweet Corn Meatballs With Roasted Pepper Sauce.
                  These Turkey Yakitori Burgers With Sweet-Soy Glaze are also pretty tasty.

                  1. Turkish style kebabs. If you have any sort of Turkish or Arabic seasoning mixes (like Shan), just saute some onions, cool, mix into the turkey along with spice mix. shape into hot dog shaped burgers (around flat skewers if you have them), grill.

                    1. Saute a minced onion, some garlic and grated ginger. Add about a teaspoon of cumin and another of coriander. While you're at it throw a couple cardamom pods and a broken cinnamon stick in there and saute until fragrant. Add a kilo of turkey and brown it with a little chicken stock. Add a half cup of peas and you've got kheema matar. Finish with lemon juice and chopped cilantro.

                        1. I know you said no turkey burgers.. but for others looking for ground turkey recipes..

                          I made these last night after a friend told me maple syrup is a great surprise ingredient-
                          1 lb turkey mixed with salt, pepper, curry powder, paprika, spoonful or so of maple syrup
                          Form into burgers and cook- I used a nonstick pan and some spray to cook them on the stove.

                          1. I made this recipe with ground turkey instead of ground lamb, and baked the brochettes in the oven instead of grilling. This is the best tasting recipe that I have made with ground turkey: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                            1. I make stuffed peppers using ground turkey. Try adding Worcestershire and/or steak sauce to the meat to give it a little more depth of flavor. (I also do this when using ground turkey for shepherd's pie)

                              Giada De Laurentiis uses ground turkey in many yummy recipes (Food Network). Other ideas: Turkey picadillo, tacos

                              1. Make a bolognese sauce

                                Use for dumpling filling

                                Incorpoate it into an egg scramble (or omelet)

                                Use it as topping for pizza

                                And how about sloppy joes?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  I made a nice pasta sauce out of ground turkey the other day. I even cheated and used a nice quality of jarred pre-made pasta sauce. So easy; I chopped up and sauteed onion and garlic in olive oil, browned the turkey, added the sauce, and then added lots of chopped zucchini. It made several delicious meals and was super fast to make.

                                2. This might be too simple, but I like to cook some pasta (usually spinach penne, but other shapes will do, as will whole wheat or egg pasta) and mix some in with some ground turkey that I simply cook up on the stove in a non-stick frying pan. Maybe a ratio of turkey to pasta of about 2 or 3 to 1 (I'm not scientific about it), then sprinkle some parm. and/or ground black pepper to taste.

                                  1. I make turkey and artichoke stuffed shells. I found the recipe in one of Giada DiLaurentiis's cookbooks and it's also on foodnetwork.com. They're easy and it makes a big batch - good for a family meal or I freeze them in separate dishes to cook later on.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ladyberd

                                      It's still in the freezer awaiting it's destiny.....however I'm leaning towards the Barefoot Contessa's meatloaf, shepherd's pie above, OR I saw a fellow CH's recipe for Italian Wedding soup posted way back in 2005. All three sound really good. The plan is to take meat out of freezer in next day or so and see what strikes my fancy for a mid week meal.

                                      I might have to stock up on more ground turkey so that I can make all 3.... LOL This is how my freezer comes to look like I am a horder. Drives Mr. MG crazy.

                                    2. The August COTM thread on Charmaine Solomon's Pakistani/Indian chapters featured a ground turkey, peas and rice dish where the rice was added to the pot halfway. In case you are interested, here's the thread:


                                      1. My husband hasn't eaten any red meat products in 40 years, so ground poultry is definitely one our mainstays.

                                        Frankly, you can sub it in literally ANY recipe that calls for any other ground meat. The only difference is that sometimes you may have to add a dollop or two of oil (extra-virgin olive oil is my hands-down choice) to make up for the natural lack of fat if you're making a recipe that is dependent on there being a certain amount of fat present in the other meats..

                                        1. I made moussaka last week with ground turkey in place of lamb and it turned out great. With all the spices, wine and simmering, the leanness of the turkey was ok!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: rln

                                            I settled on a turkey shepherds pie. Kept it simple, really just used my usual recipe but with turkey. Lots of cremini mushrooms, onion, fresh corn and spices. It came out wonderful. I think I may even prefer it over beef!!!

                                            Thanks everyone. I must get more turkey and try some of these recipes out.

                                          2. I love making my own turkey sausage. Great in lasagna! Also, if you grind your own turkey meat, save the bones to make stock turkey stock!