Turkey Picadillo

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Mexican-inspired Turkey Picadillo is made with a few extra hidden veggies and ground turkey to deliver a flavorful and nutritious twist on a favorite.

Overhead image of the Turkey Picadilla

A Really Great Nutritious Meal

Picadillo is a traditional dish served in many Latin American countries and the Philippines. It combines tomatoes, ground meat, and other ingredients that vary by region. Once prepared, the mixture is typically served with rice or served as a filling for savory pastries, tacos, empanadas, croquettes, etc.

This particular Ground Turkey Picadillo recipe is Mexican-inspired and created with a few nutritious swaps including replacing ground beef with ground turkey and adding in a few extra hidden veggies. For a more authentic Mexican picadillo recipe be sure to check out My Latina Table!

Process shots: Sauté vegetables in olive oil; add ground turkey and continue to brown.

Turkey Picadillo Ingredients

A few ingredients worth mentioning:

Yukon Gold potatoes. Hands down, our favorite potatoes in this recipe are Yukon Golds. This variety of potatoes is sweet and buttery and not prone to disintegration as they cook (like some varieties of potatoes). They also have very delicate/thin skin so they don’t have to be peeled for this recipe. Russets (peeled) will work fine and you could also try using sweet potatoes (peeled) for a subtle sweetness.

Fire-roasted crushed tomatoes. The tomatoes make a big difference flavor-wise, so I recommend good-quality fire-roasted tomatoes (such as Cento Marzano®, Carmelina Marzano Italian®, or Muir Glen®). This type of tomato is charred over a flame before being crushed and canned. Contact with the flame brings out the tomato’s sweetness and gives a distinct, smoky flavor. You get more flavor without any extra work

Why use chicken broth instead of beef broth in this Turkey Picadillo? We tested both, and testers preferred the chicken broth instead. The flavor is more subtle and less intense. Don’t worry — it won’t compete with the flavor of the added beef bouillon. We add the beef bouillon to emphasize a beefy flavor since we are using ground turkey. (We’ve even been able to fool a few people into thinking this was indeed made with beef!)

Process shots of the turkey picadillo: add more veggies and seasoning; add tomato and stock; simmer, covered.

How To Make Turkey Picadillo 

Below are our top tips for preparing this recipe:

  • Season as you go. Season the sautéing veggies, the ground turkey, and again at the end for the most flavor possible. Don’t be afraid of salt! It’s really what is going to bring out all the flavors in this meal!
  • Add heat to personal preference. The spice in jalapeños can vary a great deal so start with less and taste as you go! If you end up wanting more heat at the end, you can always add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes on top.
  • Dice veggies small, especially the potatoes! We want small even sizes to ensure the potatoes cook in time and end up with a perfect crispy outside and fluffy interior. We want fairly small potato pieces — about a 1/2-inch in size. The size is also important to get that perfect crispy outside and fluffy interior.
  • Add extra liquid if needed. If the dish starts to dry before the potatoes are tender, you may need to add a splash more of chicken stock. This can also mean the heat is likely too high or potatoes were chopped too big. Add 1/4 cup of stock and go from there.

Process shots: simmer until veggies are tender; garnish and serve

How To Make Healthy Turkey Picadillo

Here are a few tips to further enhance the nutrition of this dish:

  • Replace the Yukon Gold with a diced sweet potato (be sure to peel it first).
  • Add extra veggies and protein: Mix in 1 cup frozen sweet peas at the end (peas are a great source of plant-based protein!).
  • Watch what you serve the ground turkey picadillo in or on. (If there are lots of fried corn chips or flour tortillas involved, it’s going to make the dish a bit less nutritious.)
  • How to make healthy Turkey Picadillo tacos: Get a package of Mission’s thin corn tortillas, char the tortillas on the stovetop, and load ’em up with Turkey Picadillo (directions for charring corn tortillas on this fish stick tacos post!).

Turkey Picadilla in the pot ready to be served

Serving Suggestions

Our favorite way to enjoy this Turkey Picadillo recipe is to load the meat and potatoes on a plate. Then, using a fork and a ripped piece of a warm fresh flour tortilla, scoop up bites and eat it!

Here are some other serving suggestions:

  • Alongside some rice! Try it with some Mexican rice, cilantro-lime rice, or plain rice. For a low-carb meal, enjoy it over cauliflower rice.
  • Stuff the filling in to make tacos, gorditos, or empanadas. (We’re obsessed with Turkey Picadillo tacos — especially when you drizzle on some of the cilantro-lime sauce from these shrimp tacos!)
  • Serve with a big bag of corn tortilla chips — the best possible dip!

QUICK TIP

We love these unbaked tortillas by TortillaLand® (not sponsored). They are generally found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store near shredded cheeses.

Turkey Picadillo with tortillas and rice

More ground turkey recipes

FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content.

Turkey Picadillo

5 from 3 votes
Mexican-inspired Turkey Picadillo made with a few extra hidden veggies and ground turkey to deliver a flavorful and nutritious twist on a favorite.
Print Recipe

Turkey Picadillo

5 from 3 votes
Mexican-inspired Turkey Picadillo made with a few extra hidden veggies and ground turkey to deliver a flavorful and nutritious twist on a favorite.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Healthy, Mexican
Keyword turkey picadillo
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 384kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion Note 1
  • 1 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1 cup finely diced green pepper
  • 1 pound lean (93/7) ground turkey
  • Fine sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups (325g) diced Yukon Gold potato Note 2
  • 1 tablespoon each: finely diced jalapeno, minced garlic Note 3
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon each: ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika
  • 1 can fire-roasted crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • For serving: rice, tortillas (Note 4), cilantro, lime

Instructions

  • VEGGIES AND TURKEY: Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and add in the oil. Add in the diced onion, carrot, pepper, and a tiny pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently until veggies are beginning to soften, about 8 minutes. Press to the sides of the pan and add the ground turkey to the pan. Season to taste (I add 1 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper). Cook, until mostly browned, breaking the meat up as you cook.
  • POTATOES AND SEASONINGS: Add in tomato paste, diced potatoes, jalapeño, garlic, and all the seasonings. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
  • SIMMER: Reduce heat to low. Pour in undrained canned tomatoes, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Stir, scraping the bottom to release any browned bits. Press potatoes below liquid and cover with a lid. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • FINISH COOKING: Remove lid, increase heat to medium, stir, and continue cooking with the lid off for an additional 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender and most of the liquid is absorbed (Note 5). Taste and add extra salt/pepper if needed. Remove and discard bay leaf.
  • SERVE: Serve warm with flour tortillas and/or rice. Add lime wedges and fresh cilantro to the plate if desired and dig in!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Veggies: This is about 1 yellow onion, 2-3 large carrots, and 1 green pepper. Be sure to dice these veggies fairly small (use a food processor for ease/speed). Really take the time to thoroughly sauté these veggies for the best soup flavor and to ensure they're completely tender.
Note 2: Potatoes: We like Yukon Gold potatoes best -- no need to peel. If using Russet instead, peel them. Dice the potatoes in small, even pieces to cook in time (1/2 inch).
Note 3: Garlic and jalapeños: This is about 3 cloves garlic. Jalapeños can widely vary in heat so add less to start. If you are super sensitive to heat, leave them out entirely.
Note 4: Tortillas: We love these unbaked tortillas by TortillaLand® (not sponsored). They are generally found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store near shredded cheese. Heat them through and serve the filling inside or the tortillas on the side (rip up and use as a fork!).
Note 5: Add extra liquid if needed: If the dish starts to dry out before the potatoes are tender, you may need to add a splash more of chicken stock. This can also mean the heat is too high or potatoes were chopped too big. Add 1/4 cup more chicken stock and go from there. Timing will vary greatly depending on the size of pot used, size of potatoes, actual heat of stovetop, etc. When potatoes are easily pierced by a fork and most of the liquid is absorbed into the meat, it's done!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 4servings | Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 553mg | Potassium: 1124mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 6164IU | Vitamin C: 66mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 4mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

More Recipes You'll Love

Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet

30 mins

Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet

Click the Bookmark Icon to Add to Your Favories

Chicken Larb

30 mins

Chicken Larb

Click the Bookmark Icon to Add to Your Favories

Ground Turkey Stir Fry

30 mins

Ground Turkey Stir Fry

Click the Bookmark Icon to Add to Your Favories

Egg Roll in a Bowl

30 mins

Egg Roll in a Bowl

Click the Bookmark Icon to Add to Your Favories

FREE BONUS

FREE BONUS

EASY MEAL SECRETS:
How to Make Mealtime Hassle Free!

5 secrets to easy, fast and delicious dinners.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious. Made as written and it was sooooo good. I can’t Remember the last time I cooked with ground turkey and it was so great in this recipe. I served it with rice. My daughter who normally doesn’t eat cooked veggies ate this and requested leftovers for lunch tomorrow. She has celiac disease so this is such a great nutritious meal for her and our family. Thank you.

Never Miss a Recipe

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.