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31+ Best Healthy Ground Turkey Recipes for Weight Loss

Anything beef can do, turkey can do better!
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Why are we obsessed with ground turkey recipes? Okay, we'll say it: Anything ground beef can do, turkey can do better. That's a strong statement for something that's crucial to juicy burgers, meatballs, burritos, and more, but once you make the swap, you'll see that this versatile (and wallet-friendly) ground meat is the key to countless delicious dinners.

When it comes to a nutritional comparison with beef, turkey packs almost the same amount of calories and protein. However, using leaner turkey meat (breast instead of thigh) will make your turkey lighter in fat than beef. And you don't need to compromise on the flavor either. Just choose from one of these delicious, mouth-watering ground turkey recipes, and happily kiss beef goodbye.

Spicy Turkey Meatballs with Sweet Potato Fries

Whole30 Spicy Meatballs with sweet potato fries
Posie Brien/Eat This, Not That!

All the magic happens in the oven with this dish, which unites baked fries and savory meatballs with a garlic cashew–based dipping sauce. Everything here is also Whole30-compliant, thanks to the swap of almond flour for breadcrumbs. Need more Whole30 dinners? Check out our collection of Whole30 recipes.

Get our recipe for Spicy Turkey Meatballs with Sweet Potato Fries.

Turkey Bolognese

Low-calorie bolognese fettuccine turkey
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Cook one time; eat all week with this comfort food recipe in hand. Whether you use the sauce for lasagna, layer it in a roll for a makeshift hoagie, or pile it over pasta, it feels like a hug in meat sauce form.

Get our recipe for Turkey Bolognese.

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

healthy spaghetti meatballs
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Just like Nonna used to make—or like you loved to order at Olive Garden—but with ground turkey instead of beef, pork, and veal. The protein of choice may be leaner, but this take on the Italian dish is still stick-to-your-ribs good.

Get our recipe for Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs.

7-Layer Dip

Healthy 7-layer dip
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This time-honored party food is one of the most efficient ways to consume many things you love: It's a combination of refreshing pico de gallo, spicy ground turkey, guacamole, and more, ensuring that each layer your tortilla chip excavates is even more satisfying than the last.

Get our recipe for 7-Layer Dip.

Turkey Swedish Meatballs

Paleo swedish meatballs
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Meatballs are a solid go-to when you're cooking with ground meat, whether they're doused in red sauce or served with sweet marmalade like in this lean version of the traditional Swedish variety.

Get our recipe for Turkey Swedish Meatballs.

Paleo Breakfast Sausage

paleo breakfast sausage in skillet
Rebecca Firkser / Eat This, Not That!

Breakfast for dinner is one of the most reliable ways to bring joy to your day. Instead of breaking out the store-bought frozen patties, make your own (paleo!) version that's sweetened with apples and coconut sugar. Need more paleo dinners? Check out our collection of paleo recipes.

Get our recipe for Homemade Paleo Sausage.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Healthy turkey sloppy joes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Whoever Joe was, he probably never saw this turkey-based recipe coming. The Worcestershire sauce is key to replicating the flavor of packaged or canned seasoning mixes, and you can cater to any level of spice preference by adjusting the amount of hot sauce.

Get our recipe for Turkey Sloppy Joes.

Hearty Turkey Chili

Serious gluten-free chili
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Turkey is a secret weapon as far as lighter takes on chili are concerned. Thanks to deeply flavorful diversions such as a full bottle of beer and a square of dark chocolate, no one will even guess they're not eating beef.

Get our recipe for Hearty Turkey Chili.

Turkey Bolognese With Garlic Spaghetti Squash

Paleo turkey bolognese
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

If you've gone paleo but miss your weekly pasta nights, this alternative to beefy pasta bolognese is a serious cravings crusher. It serves up 8 grams of fiber and 22 grams of protein—and the sauce is splashed with full-bodied wine, a prime source of resveratrol. Because this dish is free of grains, added sugar, dairy, and processed foods, you can rest easy knowing it's caveman-approved!

Get our recipe for Turkey Bolognese With Garlic Spaghetti Squash.

Turkey Meatloaf

Paleo turkey meatloaf
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Among the most comforting of all comfort foods, a well-made meatloaf delivers that warm, rib-sticking goodness we all crave. The key to excellent meatloaf is threefold: a well-seasoned base, a generous glaze, and careful cooking. We realize that some people may still bear scars from the bone-dry loaves of their childhoods, but a creation like ours will banish them with a single bite of this turkey meatloaf recipe.

Get our recipe for Turkey Meatloaf.

Southwest Turkey Burger

Low-calorie southwest turkey burger
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

A few years back, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's reached out to us and asked for help designing a new line of turkey burgers that would improve on an otherwise high-calorie menu. A lot of time and testing went into the burgers, during which we learned just how well turkey takes to intense, vibrant flavors that might not jibe as well with beef. In the end, this spicy-cool burger didn't make it on the menu, but it remains one of the best turkey burgers we've had. Now, with this turkey burger recipe, you can judge for yourself…

Get our recipe for Southwest Turkey Burger.

Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

Cheesy turkey meatloaf muffins
Waterbury Publicatons, Inc.

This particular recipe splits up the meat mixture into tiny meatloaf muffins—baked right in your muffin tin! It saves you the trouble of wondering if the meatloaf is cooked all the way through once you slice into it. Plus, by exchanging ground beef with ground turkey, your meal (and overall calories!) instantly becomes leaner.

Get our recipe for Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf Muffins.

Pizza Burger

pizza burger on wooden tray with marinara sauce
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

This recipe takes what you love about pizza—the tomato sauce, the mozzarella, and the seasonings like oregano—and adds them to a juicy turkey burger. Bursting with flavor, as well as fiber, this meal is way more nutritious than the average pizza slice. And after making it, you might just agree that it's way more delicious, too.

Get our recipe for Pizza Burgers.

The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

Cheesy Eggplant Casserole with Ground Turkey

eggplant casserole ground turkey
Courtesy of Eating Bird Food

Mild-tasting eggplant adds heft to this dish without overpowering the flavor profile, letting the Italian-seasoned turkey and marinara sauce shine. Not to mention the layer of mozzarella cheese on top, which is the proverbial icing on the casserole.

Get the recipe from Eating Bird Food.

Ground Turkey Black Bean Enchiladas

ground turkey enchiladas
Courtesy of Diethood

Streamline the process with jarred enchilada sauce, and you'll be that much closer to a tray full of turkey- and black bean-filled enchiladas. It's the perfect way to feed a crowd or a hungry family—or just yourself all week long.

Get the recipe from Diethood.

Spicy Chipotle Turkey Burritos

turkey burritos
Courtesy of Pinch of Yum

One of the best gifts you can give your future self is a freezer stocked with homemade burritos. Filled with chipotle peppers, ground turkey, shredded cheese, and whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand, they're a cure for late-night dinners when you're too hangry to cook.

Get the recipe from Pinch of Yum.

Unstuffed Pepper Bowls

unstuffed pepper bowls
Courtesy of Cooking Classy

From a timing perspective, this deconstructed take on stuffed peppers definitely gets a leg up on the full version. It still has all the usual suspects—pepper, meat, tomatoes, cheese—but everything gets tossed in a sauté pan rather than carefully assembled, and the result is just as delicious.

Get the recipe from Cooking Classy.

Turkey Taco Stuffed Peppers

turkey taco stuffed peppers
Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

When you do have the time to spare, go the traditional stuffed pepper route. This recipe calls for roasting the peppers ahead of time, which caramelizes them for sweetness that perfectly balances the cumin, paprika, and chili powder of the ground turkey filling.

Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.

Taco Pasta

taco pasta
Courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything

It's the best of both worlds with this mashup meal. It calls for just a handful of ingredients (many of which you likely already have on hand), including a touch of cream cheese for a finishing touch of creaminess.

Get the recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

spaghetti squash lasagna
Courtesy of Well Plated

For nights when you want all the components of typical lasagna but want to switch up the pasta sheets, here's your move. Instead of feeling like a substitute, you'll find that the squash adds a whole new dimension in both taste and texture. And since there's no layering labor involved, it'll take you less time overall.

Get the recipe from Well Plated.

Spicy Sichuan Turkey Wontons in Mapo Sauce

turkey wontons
Courtesy of I Am A Food Blog

Making a batch of dumplings is a Friday night activity you won't be regretting the next day. That's especially true with this recipe, which swaps out "typical" pork for turkey with a spicy, fermented sauce.

Get the recipe from i am a food blog.

Jalapeño Pepper Jack Turkey Burgers

turkey burger
Courtesy of Sally's Baking Addiction

Hamburgers have had their heyday. Make this the year you turn up the dial on your turkey burger consumption. Starting with one that has pepper jack cheese both in the ground turkey mix itself and on top of the finished product, making for a burger that's truly jacked up.

Get the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction.

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake

eggplant roll pasta bake
Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

This recipe takes all the ingredients you love in Italian food (tomato, basil pesto, eggplant) and combines them to delicious effect in what feels like a new and interesting way by adding ground turkey to the mix. It also looks great, which doesn't hurt.

Get the recipe from Half Baked Harvest.

Buffalo Turkey Cauliflower Skillet

buffalo turkey cauliflower skillet
Courtesy of Running To The Kitchen

Here's a four-ingredient wonder that will definitely become part of your dinner rotations. Ground turkey, riced cauliflower, Buffalo sauce, and chopped green onions come together for a dish that can be put into a wrap, tossed onto a bed of greens, or eaten on its own.

Get the recipe from Running to the Kitchen.

Turkey Cheeseburger Soup

turkey cheeseburger soup
Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

Instant Pot and slow cooker fans, bookmark this one. Puréed cauliflower gives this soup a creamy texture and ups the vegetable contents, while ground turkey and cheddar cheese are what lend the recipe its name.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

Bourbon Apple Cider Glazed Turkey Meatballs

turkey meatballs
Courtesy of Recipe Runner

The maple- and bourbon-spiked glaze fills these apple-sweetened bites with fall vibes, so no matter the season, you can pretend you just came home from a day at the cider mill. Stick toothpicks in them, and they'll be ready to serve at your next get-together.

Get the recipe from Recipe Runner.

Barbecue Gluten Free Meatloaf

gluten free meatloaf
Courtesy of Cotter Crunch

Meatloaf is no longer off-limits to the gluten free crowd when you use this recipe, which smartly uses ground gluten free crackers in place of breadcrumbs. Add in the use of barbecue sauce instead of ketchup, and you have a turkey-based loaf that'll win anyone over.

Get the recipe from Cotter Crunch.

Turkey Larb Lettuce Wraps

turkey lettuce wraps
Courtesy of What's Gaby Cooking

For this ground turkey recipe you'll need sambal oelek, an Indonesian chili sauce that brings the heat. Fresh herbs and crisp lettuce leaves will help counter the spicy effect, so no matter your tolerance, this one is worth a try.

Get the recipe from What's Gaby Cooking.

Deluxe Turkey Burger Salad

turkey burger salad
Courtesy of Foxes Love Lemons

Taking the bun out of the equation and eating your turkey burger in salad form removes the possibility of all the good stuff spilling out of the sides. And if you think a burger isn't complete without bread, don't worry, there are croutons involved.

Get the recipe from Foxes Love Lemons.

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

turkey zucchini meatballs
Courtesy of That Oven Feelin'

For a double dose of summer squash, serve these zucchini-filled turkey meatballs over a bed of spiralized zucchini "pasta." They bake in less than 10 minutes, so you'll have dinner on the table in no time.

Get the recipe from That Oven Feelin'.

Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf with Vegetables

turkey quinoa meatloaf
Courtesy of Simply Quinoa

Rainbow quinoa helps bind everything together in this turkey meatloaf recipe, which also calls for red bell pepper, carrots, and and mushrooms to sneak some vegetables into the mix.

Get the recipe from Simply Quinoa.

Turkey Meatball Orzo Salad

meatball orzo salad
Courtesy of Macheesmo

Hit the ground running on picnic season with this pasta salad in your basket. It's a colorful combination of bell peppers, roma tomatoes, feta cheese, and herbs—plus flavorful ground turkey and the orzo base, of course.

Get the recipe from Macheesmo.

Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

turkey sweet potato shepards pie
Courtesy of Taste and Tell

There's no crust in this shepherd's pie, so all the focus (deservedly) goes to the seasoned turkey mixture and its blanket of mashed sweet potatoes. A layer of cheese finishes it off, because everything is better with cheese.

Get the recipe from Taste & Tell.

One Pot Turkey Lasagna Soup

one pot turkey lasagna
Courtesy of A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Taking your favorite dishes and putting them in soup format is a good trick for adding variation to your dinner routine without causing you to miss out on the meals you love. Such is the case with this turkey lasagna soup, which comes together in one pot for easy cooking and even easier cleanup.

Get the recipe from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs.

Turkey Spinach Meatballs with Tahini and Chimichurri

spinach turkey meatballs
Courtesy of My Name is Yeh

Go green by adding a drizzle of chimichurri on your spinach-packed meatballs. They're also served with silky tahini sauce, because double the sauce means double the fun. Any extras can be frozen for your future enjoyment.

Get the recipe from My Name Is Yeh.

Taco Zucchini Boats

taco zucchini boats
Courtesy of Fit Foodie Finds

Besides being an innovative way to do Taco Tuesday, the idea of eating something in boat form is just plain fun. As for the ground turkey filling itself, the combination of maple syrup and chili powder involved creates a sweet-spicy hybrid that hits the spot.

Get the recipe from Fit Foodie Finds.

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Abby Reisner
Abby is a food writer, editor, cook, and digital strategist living in Brooklyn. Read more about Abby