My Favorite Turkey Taco Meat {Healthy!}

turkey taco final 2 Need a taco? How about a healthier taco? How about this taco?

I really debated whether or not I should post this recipe because it’s hardly a recipe AT ALL. But, this taco meat is something I make all the time because it’s fast, easy and everyone loves it. {Even my two year old!} Total work time from start to finish for these bad boys is 20 minutes. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. The perfect weeknight meal. I’m a workin’ girl these days so the less time I have to cook means the more time I have left for me to eat spend time with my family.

Taco meat is ground beef + seasoning + water. I think that is the typical taco standard. However, replacing the beef with it’s poultry counterpart means less calories, saturated fat and cholesterol plus more protein as a little bonus. All the reason to give ground turkey a try. {A little unsponsored plug for turkey. You’re welcome, Jennie-O}

For an even healthier dinner, I substituted 1/2 the meat for onions, green peppers, carrots and zucchini. {200 bonus points go out to the other Mom’s who do this! *high five*} They blend right into the mix especially if you cut them small enough and meld together with the meat and the seasonings. Being sneaky is awesome.

Is it weird that I find pleasure in hiding vegetables in things?

Wait. Don’t answer that…at least until you give these a try.

Here’s how you make them–grab a cutting board and chop up your veggies.
taco meat 1 Saute these in a little olive oil until they start getting tender, 5 minutes or so.
taco meat 2 Stir in 1/2 lb. of lean ground turkey and break it apart. Just keep moving it around the pan until its all cooked and the pink is gone. This should take maybe 2 minutes? I had my burner on medium heat, PS. Probably should have mentioned that before. Oops.
taco meat 3 Now, don’t hate me.  I grabbed a packet of taco seasoning *gasp* and poured it into my mixture. I was in a rush and didn’t have any pre-made in my pantry, ok! Don’t judge me! If you’re into that kind of thing, check out these recipes for homemade taco seasoning from Perry’s Plate, Brown Eyed Baker, Not Rachael Ray, Annie’s Eats or A Sweet Pea Chef.
taco meat 4 Along with the seasonings, add in some water too.
taco meat 5 Let this reduce down until most of the water has evaporated and use it how you like. The total obvious way would be tacos. But, try it out on nachos, in burritos or part of a 7 layer dip. Tasty shtuff right here.
taco meat 7 I’m suddenly very hungry…
turkey taco final 1 Enjoy, friends! :) Have a great day!

My Favorite Turkey Taco Meat

Yield: 4 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 lb. lean ground turkey {97/3 or 99/1}
1 envelope taco seasoning
1/2 cup water


In deep skillet, saute veggies in olive oil for 5-7 minutes or until they start to tenderize. Stir in ground turkey and break apart into smaller pieces. Once turkey is completely cooked, stir in taco seasoning and water. Let it cook down until most of the water has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until you are ready to serve.

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31 Responses to “My Favorite Turkey Taco Meat {Healthy!}”

  1. #
    Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables — February 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    great way to sneak in the veggies Lauren!


  2. #
    Bev Weidner — February 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    These tacos are my faaaavoooorrriiiitteeeeeaaaaaaa.


  3. #
    Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray — February 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Awesome!! Love tacos, and love being a little healthier if I can. Thanks! :)


  4. #
    Jennifer | Mother Thyme — February 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    These look fabulous! Love how you added in zucchini. I might need to make tonight taco night now! :)


  5. #
    KarenP — February 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Yum! Those look so fresh and tasty.


  6. #
    Krissy's Creations — February 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    GREAT recipe. Definitely glad you shared :)


  7. #
    Kathryn — February 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Um, now I want tacos so badly! I would probably de-healthify them a bit though with lots of cheese and sour cream but I love the idea of using turkey.


  8. #
    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum — February 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I’ve made a bolognese sauce like this before with part meat and part diced veggies…. such a great trick!


  9. #
    Katrina @In Katrina's Kitchen — February 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I love sneaking veggies into tacos!! I can’t remember the last time I didn’t sneak something in lol! Mmmm now I’m hungry!!


  10. #
    Marjory Betchkal — February 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    We are having these tomorrow, thank you for the dinner idea.


  11. #
    honeywhatscooking — February 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Looks so good and healthy. I could totally just eat the turkey alone. so good. Love it.


  12. #
    Lauren @ What Lauren Likes — February 1, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Delish! Perfect dinner :)


  13. #
    Karen Lewis — February 2, 2012 at 12:03 am

    I love this recipe, Lauren!


  14. #
    Michelle — February 2, 2012 at 12:11 am

    I do the same thing but not to sneak veggies into my kid’s diets, I have no kids, to sneak them into my boyfriend’s diet. Except I shred my carrot and zucchini and add a can of fire roasted tomatoes and a little tomato paste to thicken it up.


  15. #
    Living The Sweet Life — February 2, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Your taco looks soo yummy!! LOL it made me laugh when you said being sneaky is fun ~ it sure is, I sneak veggies into my boyfriend all the time without him knowing he’s eating it. I seriously have to test this recipe out on him


  16. #
    Anna @ hiddenponies — February 2, 2012 at 6:52 am

    I can never get enough tacos :) Love that you get a guilt complex over the package mix, I have the same thing every time…and still use one every time :)


  17. #
    CouponClippingCook — February 2, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Love the simplicity of these tacos. And your pictures of them are beautiful.


  18. #
    Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids — February 2, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I never thought about sneaking vegetables into taco meat. What a great idea. You are brilliant!


  19. #
    Zee — February 2, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Looks so healthy and delicious.. good way to sneak in veges!


  20. #
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — February 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I love sneaking veggies into everything too! Especially spinach–it goes in EVERYTHING at my house! This looks great, and thanks for the taco-seasoning link love! :)


  21. #
    From Valerie's Kitchen — February 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I love subbing ground turkey for tacos, chili, burgers, it’s all good! Love all the diced veggies. I’ve been in need of quick dinner ideas and this is a great one!


  22. #
    Steve @ the black peppercorn — February 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I am so glad you shared this. It looks great. There have been many times that I said to my wife that I was not going to post a particular recipe and she encouraged me to and then I discovered how much traffic and comments it generated. LOL Love the veggies in this!


  23. #
    cassie — February 2, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    This looks amazing. I love lots of veggies in taco meat!


  24. #
    Jolene ( — February 3, 2012 at 4:45 am

    Love the addition of veggies!


  25. #
    M&Ms Mom — February 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Made these delicious tacos the other night and I got 4 thumbs up in my house! Nice twist by adding the veggies!!!!


  26. #
    Aileen — March 28, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I’m excited to try this recipe!! Thanks!


  27. #
    cheryl — August 8, 2013 at 9:32 am

    This sounds great, but to make it really healthy I would not use a “packaged” taco seasoning, they are easy to make at home.


  28. #
    Glenda — January 8, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Have you considered tossing in a can of beans (pinto, kidney, etc) or some leftover ones if you have it. I do that as standard practice to stretch the meal.



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