I made this delicious recipe for easy turkey tacos with cauliflower “rice”, and it’s great for a crowd and people with different preferences. Low fat? Check. Gluten-Free*? Check. Loads of flavor? Check! When I use ground meat, it’s almost always ground turkey because it’s usually lower in fat and is a healthier option.
That said, you don’t miss any of the flavor with this easy turkey tacos recipe. I love how easily and quickly it comes together and how many (hidden) veggies are in it. You can serve up these easy turkey tacos with cauliflower rice any night of the week. Plus – there’s only one pan to clean! Bonus!
To make the easy turkey tacos, oil up a pan with olive oil (or olive oil spray) and heat on medium to medium-high heat. While it’s warming up, chop up two bell peppers (any colors), and one jalapeno. Put about 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey (ground beef or chicken works, too) into the pan and let it go for a few minutes.
I’ve found that letting the heat activate the meat before beginning to break it up is a bit easier than trying to break up completely raw ground turkey. It always tends to stick to my spatula!
Once the ground turkey has been going, add in the spices. If you want to take a shortcut, you can just use a regular taco seasoning packet, but I find it really helpful to have basic spices on hand. I use garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, and dried parsley pretty regularly. A lot of those are flavors that go with chili or marinara sauce, of which I tend to make a lot.
Anyway, let’s continue with our easy turkey tacos recipe. Add in 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. (You can add more cayenne, but that’s where most of the heat is, and we’re about to add a jalapeno. But by all means, if you’re into the heat, pump it up!) Make sure you’re mixing the seasoning right into the meat while it’s still fairly raw so that the meat absorbs all of that flavor in our easy turkey tacos recipe.
When the meat is about 75% done cooking, add in the chopped veggies. Mix them around so that they are getting the heat from the pan. After they have begun to soften (about 3-5 minutes) add one bag (12 to 16 ounces or so) of cauliflower “rice”.
Cauliflower rice is nothing more than “riced” cauliflower or finely chopped cauliflower. It’s now available ready to go at Trader Joes and Publix, my large regional grocery store. However, if you can’t find it, you can work with a whole head of cauliflower and use a knife to finely chop it yourself.
Want another shortcut? Throw large chunks of cauliflower into a food processor and pulse it so that it comes out fine, with pieces the size of–you guessed it–rice! You might be wondering why I said 12-16 ounces.
Truth be told, the brand at Publix was only 12 ounces, but Trader Joe’s bag is a full pound. I used the Publix bag this time around, but I admit, it could have used a bit more cauliflower to be proportionate to the amount of meat I used.
There should be a little bit of liquid in the pan from the meat and veggies, but that liquid should also have all the seasoning in it as well, so there’s really no need to add more at this point, except perhaps salt and pepper to taste. That means that as the cauliflower cooks, it softens up and absorbs all of those flavors as well. The cauliflower needs about 3-5 minutes to warm up.
Next, I threw a flour tortilla* into the toaster oven (note – I did not use a GF tortilla, but there are tons available if you want to make this a GF meal) and added 1 whole can of black beans* to the pan (after draining and rinsing, of course).
Here is also when I added some finely chopped red onion. I did this because there is enough time for the onion to warm through, but it still adds a bit of crunch for texture. The filling is just about done at this point, and the beans just need to warm through. It’s time to get your toppings ready! The best toppings for this easy turkey tacos recipe (in my humble opinion) are:
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Chopped green onions
- Chopped cilantro
- Fresh made guacamole
- Squeeze of lime
- Sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
- Thinly shredded lettuce (romaine)
- Chopped fresh tomato
Hold on! I forgot to tell you the best part about this easy turkey tacos recipe. It is so customizable! Don’t like black beans*? That’s okay. Don’t have red onions on hand? Totally fine. Below I’m listing some super simple swap outs you can use for this easy turkey tacos recipe based on your preferences, your pantry, and your produce!
- Feeding kiddos or others who don’t like heat? Leave out the jalapeno and/or the cayenne pepper.
- Don’t like flour tortillas for your easy turkey tacos? Use small corn tortillas to make “street tacos” or use any variety of GF tortillas. There are brown rice tortillas and spelt tortillas available from many grocers nowadays.
- Need to go low carb? Put it on a bed of freshly chopped romaine lettuce. (A hearty lettuce like romaine can stand up well to the heat and weight of the taco filling, without wilting as spinach or baby greens might.)
- Don’t like black beans*? Use pinto (or even kidney beans would work).
- Don’t have fresh jalapenos? Chop up some jarred jalapenos you have on the door of the fridge.
- Can’t make it to the store for cauliflower? Leave it out, or add in brown rice (you will have to cook the rice in advance, though).
- Prefer cooked onion? Use a chopped yellow onion and add it when you add the bell peppers.
- Need more veggies? I’m a firm believer that spinach can wilt down to be easily hidden in any dish. Also, grated or finely chopped zucchini and/or mushrooms work well here. Just make sure to add these veggies in with enough time to get them cooked. I’d recommend adding them in when you add the cauliflower.
Whew! That’s a lot of customizing you can do to this easy turkey tacos! Once you’ve got your toppings of choice ready to go, your tortilla should be warmed through. Finally, you’re ready to take it out of the toaster oven and fill it up to your heart’s content. The easy turkey tacos recipe should make 8 well-stuffed tacos (using 10-inch flour tortillas).
*Confirm on labels that items are gluten-free.
Light And Easy Turkey Tacos with Cauliflower “Rice”
- 1 Olive oil spray
- 1 ½ pounds ground turkey (minced turkey)
- 2 medium green pepper (green capsicum) - any color, chopped
- 1 medium jalapeno - finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder (chilli powder in British English)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 can black beans* - drained
- ¼ medium red onion - finely chopped
- 8 pieces flour tortillas - 10-inch
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup green onions (scallions or green shallots)
- ½ cup guacamole - Freshly made
- ½ cup salsa
- ½ cup sour cream - or plain Greek yogurt
- 1 medium iceberg lettuce - romaine, thinly shredded
- Heat a pan on medium to medium high heat and spray with olive oil. Add in the ground turkey. Once the turkey begins to brown, use a spatula to break up the meat. Cook for about 3-5 minutes.
- Mix in the seasonings so that they get incorporated into the still-raw meat. Add in the chopped veggies and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
- After the veggies have softened, add in the cauliflower rice. After about 2 minutes, add in the red onion and black beans.
- Warm your tortillas* and prep your toppings if you haven’t already.
- Test the cauliflower to make sure it is to the consistency you like. If there is still too much crunch, let it go a little while longer. The cauliflower shouldn’t need much more than 5 minutes total to warm up.
- Place your warmed tortilla on a plate and load up with the turkey taco meat and cauliflower rice. Add toppings to your heart’s content, and enjoy!