5 from 2 votes

Southwest Ground Turkey and Rice Skillet (30 minutes!)

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Looking for easy, tasty ground turkey and rice recipes ready in 30 minutes or less? Check out this flavorful taco-inspired dish for busy weeknights!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
£1.81
Makes: 5
mains
American
Freezable

Here’s one of the best ground turkey and rice recipes ever! It’s an easy, southwest-style one-pan dish with taco-inspired seasonings served over cooked rice. This yummy Southwest rice skillet meal can be ready in 30 minutes or less, so it’s perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.

A large pan with golden brown cheesy topping and crumbled tortilla chips and some fresh herbs on a pale blue background next to a small bowl of cheese.

Why you’ll love this recipe

One of the more healthy turkey and rice recipes, as it’s made with lean protein, tons of veg, and brown fluffy rice. Here are some reasons you’re going to love it:

Customize toppings – I love making ground turkey and rice recipes like this one, as you can adjust the toppings to your needs. Feel free to add sour cream, guacamole, extra cheese, whatever your heart desires!

Budget friendly – The total for 5 servings costs less than £10, which is cheaper than buying a similar Mexican-inspired meal from a restaurant.

Healthy/high protein – This simple Southwest-style rice bowl is made with ground turkey, beans, and cheese, which are all great sources of protein!

Under 30 minutes – Any meal ideas that are ready in 30 minutes or less are a win-win! So, this ground turkey and rice recipe fits the bill.

One pot – One pot ground turkey recipes are always a favourite in my house, as it means fewer dishes to clean up later. 

If you love a cheesy topping, try these yummy recipes ; Cheesy Gnocchi Bake, Cheesy Marmite Spaghetti and Easy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

Ingredients to make a turkey mince recipe laid out on a pale ble background and labelled.

Ground Turkey The lean ground turkey in this recipe helps add protein to the taco-inspired skillet. If you prefer other types of ground meat, you can use that instead like ground beef or chicken. These swaps will create a different flavour in ground turkey and rice recipes like this one. Love ground turkey? See my easy instructions on: How to Cook Ground Turkey

Aubergine I love using aubergine in this ground turkey skillet recipe, as it helps boost the nutrients. You can also use other veg instead, like sweet peppers.  

Tortilla Chips – Recipes with ground turkey like this one need a crispy topping to help add texture. Tortilla chips add flavour, a bit of saltiness, and a fun, crunchy texture. Don’t be afraid to swap out these chips with nacho cheese Doritos or cool ranch for an even bolder taste. For a light dish try my Dorito Taco Salad.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities. 

Variations/ Adaptations

Try these yummy variations when making ground turkey and rice recipes like this meal! For lower carbs in each dish, consider using cauliflower rice instead of brown rice. You can also swap out the ground turkey mixture for pork, chicken, beef, or vegan options like seitan or tofu. Make this ground turkey rice recipe vegetarian by swapping the chicken broth for vegetable broth.

If you want to take it a step further and make this recipe vegan, you’ll need to use non-dairy cheese and cream cheese instead of regular dairy products. This variation also requires vegetable broth and a vegan/plant-based protein swap. You can also add a healthy side dish ; Roasted Tenderstem Broccoli or Sauteed Broccoli

How to make ground turkey and rice

*Cook the brown rice, wash with cold water and refrigerate beforehand.

  1. Preheat a large non-stick frying pan (oven safe) with 1 tbsp oil over high heat. Add mince, break apart roughly, and brown for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper (Image 1).
  2. Add the aubergine into a microwave safe bowl and season with salt. Pop in the microwave for 5 minutes, then squeeze the excess moisture out by placing it in a clean tea-towel (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with mince broken down with a spoon in a pan and the second with pieces of aubergine in a glass bowl.

3. Break apart mince properly, stir, and add the onion and aubergine. Cook for 4 more minutes,  reducing the heat to medium/low. Next, add the seasoning, garlic, tomato puree and sweetcorn into the pan (Image 3).

4. Fry for 5 minutes, then add the black beans (Image 4).

2 step by step photos, the first with a pan with chopped aubergine, sweet corn, tomato puree and the second with black beans added to the mix.

*Preheat your grill at this stage. 

5. Next add the cooked brown rice and the cream cheese and ⅓ of the cheese into the pan and loosen with chicken stock (Image 5).

6. Mix together until everything is fully incorporated (Image 6).

2 step by step photos, the first with cooked rice, grated cheese and cream cheese added to the mix and the second with everything mixed together.

7. Once combined, add a layer of crushed tortilla chips and top with remaining cheese (Image 7).

8. Pop under the grill for 5 minutes or until golden and bubbly (Image 8).

2 step by step photos, the first with grated cheese and crumbled tortillas added to the mix and the second with this browned in the pan.

Top with fresh coriander and chilli flakes, then dig in and enjoy! 

A large pan with golden brown cheesy topping and crumbled tortilla chips and some fresh herbs with a portion taken out showing the rice, black beans and sweet corn.

If you’ve got a taste for ground turkey, try making my Ground Turkey Pasta recipe.

Tips for the best results

Shred your own cheese instead of buying it pre-shredded for better melting
Pre-shredded cheese has a coating of anti-caking powder, which helps keep the shreds from sticking together. This means pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt as well as freshly shredded cheese. For the best results, be sure to freshly shred cheese for ground turkey and rice recipes like this one.

Break up the ground turkey on low heat before turning the heat up to brown the meat
This particular ground meat tends to clump up as it cooks, which can mean unevenly cooked turkey bits at the end. For more evenly cooked meat, be sure to break up the ground turkey on low/medium heat with rapeseed or olive oil before increasing the temp to medium/high heat for this taco rice meal.

Skip the red pepper flakes/cayenne pepper for less heat
If you have a low heat tolerance, you can easily lessen the heat ground turkey meals like this one. Skip the addition of chili flakes and cayenne pepper. Or, use less of each for a milder heat.

If you have leftover rice, consider making one of these yummy recipes; Viral Salmon Rice Bowl, Spicy Tuna with Crispy Rice and Singapore fried rice

Serving Suggestions

I love serving ground turkey and rice recipes like this one with taco toppings. For example, I’ll leave bowls of sour cream, guacamole, salsa, lettuce, and diced tomatoes on the side. Then, everyone in the family can toss on what they like. This ground turkey and rice dish is also delish with other Mexican-inspired sides, like refried beans, fajita veggies, and Spanish rice.

Leftover Storage and Reheat Instructions

The best part about ground turkey and rice recipes like this one is that they store well in the fridge and freezer! Be sure to allow the leftovers to cool fully, then pack them in airtight containers.

Refrigerator
If you plan to store extras from this meal in the fridge, be sure to use them up within four days. Otherwise, consider freezing a portion of the leftovers.

Freezer
If you want to freeze the leftovers instead, they will stay good for up to two months in the freezer. I recommend eating the leftovers within one month for the best flavour and consistency.

Reheat
Allow the leftovers to defrost in the fridge overnight to reheat this rice and ground turkey from frozen. Then, reheat in the microwave until warm. You can also reheat the leftovers in a skillet on the stove for a few minutes.

Other dishes to make with ground turkey

If you have leftover ground meat and aren’t sure what to make with ground turkey, here are a few ideas! You can turn the leftovers into regular tacos, make chilli, create burger patties, whip up some meatballs, make teriyaki turkey rice bowls with a soy sauce dressing, etc. There are quite a few ground turkey and rice recipes that you can make, and many from different recipe styles, like Italian, Mexican, Asian, etc.

FAQS

Can I use ground turkey breast for this recipe?

Yes, you can absolutely use ground turkey breast for ground turkey and rice recipes like this one. The meat will be quite lean, as a heads up. So, it will not have quite as rich a flavour as regular ground turkey, but it will still be delicious.

Can I turn this into a casserole and bake it?

Yes, you can turn this ground turkey recipe into a casserole. Be sure to keep the tortilla chips off the top of the dish until the last five minutes. Alternatively, you can sprinkle them on top once you remove the pan from the oven.

Can this be made ahead of time?

Yes, you can make this ground turkey with rice beforehand. It stays good in the fridge for a few days, so you can either cook it the day before and reheat it for a few minutes in the oven/microwave. Or, once cooked, you can freeze the recipe, let it thaw overnight, and then reheat it in the oven.

A large pan with golden brown cheesy topping and crumbled tortilla chips and some fresh herbs with aspoon taking out a portion of cheesy topping  showing the rice, black beans and sweet corn.

If you tried this Southwest Ground Turkey and Rice recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

 

Southwest Ground Turkey and Rice

Print
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
£1.81
mains
American
Freezable
Servings: 5
Looking for easy, tasty ground turkey and rice recipes ready in 30 minutes or less? Check out this flavorful taco-inspired dish for busy weeknights!

Ingredients

  • 200 g brown rice, cooked according to packet instructions (£2.50/5)=(£0.50)
  • 500 g ground turkey (£2.65)
  • 1 onion, finely diced (£0.15)
  • 1 aubergine, sliced into small chunks (£0.95)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (£0.39)
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree (£0.60
  • 250 g frozen sweetcorn (£1.75/4)=£0.44)
  • 400 g can of black beans, drained (£0.49)
  • 4 tbsp pickled jalapenos, finely chopped (£1.70/4)=(£0.43)
  • 150 g cream cheese (£1.25/2)=(£0.62)
  • 30 g tortilla chips (£0.51)
  • 150 g Mexican blend cheese (£2.65/2)=(£1.32)

Cupboard Essentials

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 100 ml chicken stock

Method

*Cook the brown rice, wash with cold water and refrigerate beforehand.

  • Preheat a large non-stick frying pan (oven safe) with 1 tbsp oil over high heat. Add mince, break apart roughly, and brown for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Add the aubergine into a microwave safe bowl and season with salt. Pop in the microwave for 5 minutes, then squeeze the excess moisture out by placing it in a clean tea-towel.
  • Break apart mince properly, stir, and add the onion. Cook for 4 more minutes, reducing the heat to medium/low and add the aubergine to cook together.

Preheat your grill at this stage.

  • Next, add the seasoning, garlic, tomato puree, chopped jalapenos and sweetcorn into the pan. Fry for 5 minutes, then add the cooked brown rice and black beans.
  • Stir the cream cheese and ⅓ of the cheese into the pan and loosen with chicken stock. Once combined, add a layer of crushed tortilla chips and top with remaining cheese. Pop under the grill for 5 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
  • Top with fresh coriander and chilli flakes, then dig in and enjoy!

Notes

  • Shred Your Own Cheese as it melts better than pre-shredded as it doesn't contain anti-caking agents.
  • Break up ground turkey on low heat with oil before browning to avoid clumps and ensure even cooking.
  • Adjust the heat levels and reduce or skip red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper to control the spiciness in your dish.

Nutrition

Servings: 5 servings
Fat: 25g
Calories: 649kcal
Carbohydrates: 70g
Protein: 40g

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Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I hope you loved it. I’d be so grateful if you could leave a comment/rating - it makes my day hearing your feedback!

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  1. Mimi Harrison | 7 days ago

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