Mom’s Ground Turkey and Peppers

Quick and EasyGluten-FreePaleoGround Turkey

Quick and easy, sautéed ground turkey with onions, garlic, bell peppers, and seasoned with chipotle chili.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

I’m smiling as I write this. Why? Because there is no dish that reminds me more of my mother than her ground turkey with peppers.

I’ve never had it anywhere but at home, not even at a school cafeteria, where God knows they’ve served every other budget meal known to mankind.

Did my mother invent it? Probably not, but she may just as well have. We’ve eaten this in our house at least once a month for almost 50 years.

And you know what? It’s good. It’s cheap (especially ground turkey thighs which have the added benefit of more flavor). It can be cooked in the time it takes to make some rice or pasta to go with it.

For years she seasoned the ground turkey with chili powder or chopped pickled jalapenos. These days she likes to add the smoky flavor of chipotle powder.

Do you have a favorite ground turkey recipe? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Mom’s Ground Turkey and Peppers Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

The method given is my mother's "one pan" approach, because she's only cooking up one pound of ground turkey, enough for 4 people. If you are increasing the recipe to serve more people, you may want to remove the vegetables after they've cooked and set them aside as you cook the turkey meat, or cook the meat and the vegetables in two separate skillets.


  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion, including some chopped greens from scallions or green onions
  • 1 bell pepper (red or yellow preferred), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb ground turkey, preferably ground turkey thighs
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder or chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or cilantro


1 Sauté the onions, bell pepper, garlic: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the chopped onions and bell pepper and cook until onions and peppers are softened, a couple minutes.

Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more.

2 Add the ground turkey, salt, chipotle chili powder: Push the vegetables to the edge of one side of the pan and position that side of the pan so that it is off the burner, away from the heat. The empty part of the pan should be right over the burner.

Add one or two more tablespoons of oil to coat the empty part of the pan. Put crumpled chunks of ground turkey in the pan, sprinkle with salt and chipotle or chili powder.

3 Brown the turkey, stir in the peppers and onions: Cook the turkey without stirring until it is browned on one side, then turn the pieces over to brown the other side.

Once the turkey is just cooked through, stir in the onions and peppers, and sprinkle with more salt and chili powder to taste. Remove from heat.

Stir in fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.

Serve alone, or with steamed rice or noodles.

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Ground Turkey and Peppers

Showing 4 of 84 Comments / Reviews

  • Claudia

    Quick and easy lunch! My 5 year old assisted in prep so we added green, orange, red, & yellow bell peppers. (She loves the colors) even added some baby portobello mushrooms & black beans. Served over fresh kale & spinach.


  • Juli Anne

    I make this all the time and my husband loves it. I came upon your recipe when looking up ways to spice it up. We like ours over mashed potatoes! So good.


  • Jessica

    This was very tasty and diet friendly! I added a few extra seasonings to alter it to my tastes. I put it over mashed cauliflower with scallions and Colby jack (also seasoned of course). Yummy and guilt free!! Thank you!


  • Ashley

    This was great! Healthy and flavorful. I actually used ground chicken because Whole Foods was out of ground turkey (weird, right?) and it still came out great. I’m looking forward to trying it with the turkey next time. Thank you for sharing this!


  • Holly

    This is perfect!! Thank you for such a great weeknight dinner that is delicious and easy for a busy family.

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