Food & Nutrition

Three-Speed Dinners: Ground Turkey

Inch toward Spring with three great recipes featuring ground turkey—an irresistible sloppy joe, mini meatloaves, and turkey meatball minestrone.
Published February 26, 2016

March is a mad month. The light’s long but the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Up here in New England, we start telling ourselves at the beginning of winter, “March is a winter month.” We repeat it and repeat it—and then promptly forget it right about now. We want it to be spring. And it is—sometimes, sort of, maybe, on a good day.

No matter where you live, you wish for sunnier times in March. So we’ve got three dishes that help us all turn the calendar to Spring. They’re made with ground turkey—which (let’s face it) can be dry and unappealing if we’re not careful. But we’ve got a few techniques to turn it into a moist, rich sloppy joe filling, into little individual meatloaves, or even into some fine, paste-free minestrone.

Keep in mind that these recipes call for “ground turkey breast.” Look for that wording on the package. If you can’t find what you need, the butcher may be willing to grind a boneless, skinless turkey breast for you. Or buy that boneless, skinless turkey breast, cut it into 2-inch pieces, and pulse it in the food processor until it’s the consistency of ground beef.

About the 20-Minute Turkey Mushroom Sloppy Joes

We keep the sloppy joe filling super moist by adding finely minced mushroom to the mix. To get mushrooms to the right consistency, put 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms in a food processor, cover, and pulse two or three times, until the mushrooms resemble coarsely ground meat, without being pasty. This filling also freezes well—not that you’ll have any left over! Ready to start cooking? Click here for the recipe.

About the 40-Minute Turkey Mini-Meatloaves with Couscous and Cranberries

The problem with baked, ground turkey is that the meat is so lean, it can get unpleasantly dry. We solve that with whole-wheat couscous. Even better, we don’t need to prepare it before it goes into the meat mixture. The couscous will soften as they meatloaves bake, giving them light, moist texuter and giving you a terrific weeknight meal. Serve these with a vinegary salad of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce on the side. Ready to start cooking? Click here for the recipe.

About the All-Day (Slow Cooker) Turkey Meatball Minestrone

Talk about a flavorful meal for a chilly, early Spring evening! And this soup is so packed with herbs and vegetables, it’ll taste great reheated the next day—or even freeze well in individual servings. If the day’s warm and you want a brighter flavor to match the weather, stir 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar into the soup right before you serve it. For a heartier meal, sprinkle 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over each bowlful (may affect SmartPoints value). Ready to start cooking? Click here for the recipe.