Finding meals that the entire family enjoys can be a challenge, but these quick and easy ground turkey tacos are a winner! At least a few times a month I like to make meals that my kids can customize to their liking. This does not mean that I cook them something else. I refuse to do that – they eat whatever I am cooking and so far no one has ever starved! I’ll start with a few bases, and then add some easy toppings that can be incorporated into the meal.
One of my go-to meals to customize is tacos. So easy to add other options – beans, rice, cheese, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, tomatoes, avocados, lettuce, etc. Since I am not much of a meat eater (I only eat poultry and fish), we always do chicken tacos, which while delicious, can get a little boring.
In an effort to mix things up a little bit (I was hearing way too much of, “Mom, we are having chicken tacos AGAIN??”), I have been experimenting with these quick and easy ground turkey tacos. It took a little while to get the spices to everyone’s liking. My husband loves spicy and salty food, my son can tolerate a little spice, but the girls and I like food that doesn’t make us cry, or need to blow our nose during dinner! This recipe for ground turkey tacos is my end result. The good news is that if my husband wants his turkey tacos extra spicy or salty, he can add another dash (or three) of chili powder or tabasco sauce to his own helping.
For my family of five I typically use a pound and a half of white ground turkey. This also allows us to have a bit left over for lunches the next day. A few tips to keep in mind when cooking the turkey:
- I usually let the ground turkey meat cook for a few minutes on each side before I start breaking it up with a spatula or wooden spoon. I have found this makes it easier to break up into smaller pieces.
- The meat will cook more evenly when it is broken into fairly even pieces.
- Ground turkey is cooked when it is white and no longer pink.
GROUND TURKEY TACOS RECIPE
My ground turkey taco recipe is pretty easy to prepare on a busy weeknight. Unless you have a cranky toddler on your hands, and then cooking anything can be tricky! I’ll be the first to admit that if my older kids aren’t around at dinner time to help with the little one, I put on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Daniel Tiger for her. Gives me a good chunk of time to get dinner started, or with this recipe, started and finished!
I have been really good lately about getting out and preparing all of my ingredients before I start cooking. It definitely makes the cooking process go much smoother if the ingredients are prepped ahead of time. It also frees up some time to throw together a quick side dish while the main dish is on the stove. Often when I make tacos I whip up this easy Tex Mex Corn and Tomato salad as a side dish. You could also even add it in the taco if you prefer.
These ground turkey tacos are easy because the prep work is fairly minimal. Dice some onion to throw in with the meat, and then chop up whatever toppings you will be using for the tacos. For us that usually means cutting up tomatoes, avocados, cilantro (anyone else despise chopping cilantro??), and grating cheese. I also mix all of the spices together in a small bowl before starting to cook. I find that the spices get mixed into the meat better this way.
Even though it is an extra step, I choose to grate my cheese rather than buy it bagged and pre-shredded. The pre-shredded cheese contains an anti-caking agent called cellulose that is sometimes made from wood pulp. One of the food goals I have for my family is to eliminate as many extra additives as possible in the food that we eat. Since you don’t find cellulose in a block of cheese, I choose to take the extra step and grate it myself. I also find the texture of cheese that I grate to be less “powdery” than pre-grated. Just a personal preference – no judging if you use bagged cheese! 😉
Once everything is prepped and the ground turkey meat is broken up and cooked through, add the diced onions and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Throw in the spices and lime juice and cook on medium for another 5-7 minutes or so to let the flavors blend together. Since white turkey has a lower fat content than dark, you just have to make sure that you don’t cook the meat too long, or it can dry out.
When the meat is finished cooking, taste to adjust spices as needed. Serve with your favorite tortillas, the Tex-Mex Corn and Tomato salad, or another side dish of your choice.
I forgot to mention above, but one of my favorite brands of corn tortillas is Three Sisters Nixtamal Yellow Corn Tortillas. They only have three ingredients: organic corn, water, and a trace of lime. These tortillas have zero additives, which is a total win for me. Keeping that in mind though, they typically only last in the refrigerator for a week and a half or two. I also heat them up in the microwave before serving to soften. Three Sisters is a local company, so I am not sure of their availability in other states. However, I would guess that you should be able to find corn tortillas with a short ingredient list in your local supermarket as well.
There you have it! A quick and easy ground turkey tacos meal that your family can customize to their liking. Easy to throw together on a weeknight when your family is running around like crazy. Which is exactly what you will find my family doing this spring with dance and baseball seasons ramping up! I’m already trying to brace myself for the insanity…
And if you are looking for another way to make your life easier, you should try meal planning! Our week runs so much smoother if I have planned out our meals in advance. Check out my post Meal Planning 101: Ultimate Tips for Busy Moms for some great tips on meal planning for your family. I also included a free printable meal plan for you to get started! Let me know if you have any questions!
- 1.5 lbs ground white turkey meat
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 small diced onion
- 2 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- juice of one and a half limes
- corn tortillas
Combine the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat the 2T of olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet. When hot, add the ground turkey meat. Allow to cook on each side for a few minutes before starting to break up into equal bite sized pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Once meat is broken up and cooked through until no longer pink, add the diced onions and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the onion is soft.
Add the spice mixture and mix well. Squeeze in the lime juice and stir. Reduce heat to medium and cook for another 5-7 minutes for the flavors to blend.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Serve with diced tomatoes, diced avacados, grated cheese, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, and/or lettuce.