Savory ground turkey stew

February 12, 2019

savory ground turkey stew

Ground turkey becomes a savory stew that proves eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring!

If you are trying to do more meal prepping ahead of time, this is a great recipe to use.  It makes a large batch that can be used for your lunches or dinners during the week.  Stash some in your freezer so you have something ready for when life gets busy as it freezes and reheats beautifully in the microwave or on the stove top.

Ingredients and cooking methods that enhance the flavor

Turning relatively simple ingredients into a savory meal is possible because of some simple techniques that build and enhance the flavor of this stew.  (I spend time reading lots of cookbooks and food science books so you don’t have to!)

Be sure to use the celery, tomato paste, and mushrooms.  Once the stew is cooked, you won’t even know they are it.  Without them the flavor would not be as good as they enhance the umami flavor our taste buds crave.

If you hate mushrooms, just finely chop them or put them through your chopper or food processor.  The smaller size will make it practically impossible to tell that you used them at all.

Another source of flavor

Spices that you may not typically use really help to build the flavor of this dish. I encourage you not to omit them!

If the spices are not in your usual repertoire of cooking, or if they have been in your kitchen for too long, you could pick them up in your grocery store.  But here’s a tip for saving money and get fresher spices with better flavor:

Pop into your local health food store instead!  You can buy just a teaspoon or two of each one and such small amounts won’t cost much.

Which chickpeas?

Although many times I recommend using home-cooked chickpeas, I recommend using canned chickpeas in this recipe.

Why?  Canned chickpeas have a texture that goes wonderfully with this dish.  Yes, canned chickpeas can be higher in sodium than home-cooked ones, but giving them a good rinse before using them reduces the sodium content.

About the ground turkey…

While I usually recommend much leaner ground turkey breast, this recipe is made with 85% lean turkey despite it having more saturated fat. Fat is a key component in building the rich flavor and texture of this dish.  Having the chickpeas and all the other vegetables helps to reduce the amount of turkey in each portion so the higher saturated fat in the ground turkey is not an issue.

If you are using a leaner type of ground turkey, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil when you add the mushrooms.


savory ground turkey stew

Savory ground turkey stew

Ground turkey, spices and vegetables create a rich savory stew that's perfect for dinners and lunches.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish, Soup, stew
Cuisine: American, freezer friendly
Keyword: bean, chickpea, freezer friendly, ground meat, ground turkey, make ahead, meal prep, soup, stew
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 269kcal
Author: Lisa Garcia, MS, RDN, LD


  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 medium to large carrots chopped into bite sizes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil plus 1 additional tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 20 ounces ground 85% lean turkey
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 ounces coarsely or finely chopped mushrooms
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 head of garlic with the top cut off so tops of each clove are exposed.
  • 3 cups chopped frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a soup pot on medium heat. When the oil is warm add the celery, onion and carrots. Cook 3 minutes stirring frequently until vegetables start to soften. Remove vegetables from pot and hold in a bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and immediately add the turkey. Use spoon or spatula to break up the turkey. Add spices to top of the turkey and continue to stir for another minute or two.
  • Add tomato paste and stir for 2 minutes to evenly distribute.
  • Add mushrooms. Cook approximately 3 minutes stirring as needed.
  • Add the cooked vegetables back into the pot along with chicken broth and water. Stir and add the head of garlic with cut side down. Simmer on low to medium heat for approximately 35 minutes. Stir as needed and being careful that it does not boil over or burn.
  • Remove garlic head from the pot and use a pair of kitchen tongs or forks to squeeze the cooked garlic from the head onto a plate. Mash with a fork and stir back the stew. Add chickpeas and cook 10 minutes on low heat.
  • Add spinach and cilantro and stir. Cook until spinach is warm, about 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and serve.


Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 547mg | Fiber: 5g

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