Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Recipe for Ground Turkey Green Chile Soft Tacos with Black Bean Cilantro Salsa

Ground Turkey Green Chile Soft Tacos with Black Bean Cilantro Salsa
Perfectly-seasoned ground turkey taco meat, black bean and cilantro salsa, and softened tortillas combine to make delicious  healthy tacos the whole family will enjoy.

Usually by the time a recipe shows up on the blog I've made it two or three times to get the seasonings just right, so when these ground turkey tacos made it on the first try from an idea that popped into my mind as I was falling asleep to a delicious healthy ground turkey taco recipe, I was quite excited.  It did involve some brainstorming at the grocery store with Jake, and a little experimenting with the seasonings while we were simmering the ground turkey mixture, but these tacos were so delicious that I can't wait to eat leftovers for lunch today.  And let's face it, ground turkey can definitely be a bit boring, but I promise you there is nothing remotely boring about the perfectly-seasoned ground turkey in this recipe.  In fact, I'm guessing that if you try it, this might become your new favorite recipe for tacos!

We thought the black bean, cilantro, and red onion salsa with lime juice made a perfect topping for these tacos, but you could certainly add other toppings like cheese, sour cream, avocado, guacamole, lettuce, or salsa if you wish.  I think it might also work to cook the turkey filling in the slow cooker for a few hours, although you would end up with a mixture that was a bit wetter, and you might want to cook off some of the liquid on the stove if you used the slow cooker.

I am a huge fan of these small whole wheat tortillas with only 3 carbs per tortilla, but any small whole wheat or white flour tortilla will work for this recipe.

Brown the chopped onion in olive oil, then add Kalyn's Taco Seasoning and cook a minute or two more.

Add a tiny bit more oil and cook the ground turkey until it's well browned.

Then add the granulated garlic, petite dice tomatoes, diced green chiles, lime juice, and a little salt and let the mixture simmer on low for about an hour, adding a little water occasionally if needed.  (I think this long simmering time really ramps up the flavor, but you could probably get away with slightly less time if you needed to.)

If you're only making a couple of tacos you can heat the tortillas in the microwave, but I prefer to wrap a bunch of them in foil and heat them in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Combine finely chopped red onions, drained black beans, finely chopped cilantro, lime juice, and a little olive oil to make the salsa, and you're ready to eat!

Ground Turkey Green Chile Soft Tacos with Black Bean Cilantro Salsa
(Makes 6-8 tacos; recipe created by Kalyn and Jake.)

Taco Ingredients:
1 medium onion, diced
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
2 T Kalyn's Taco Seasoning (or use your favorite purchased taco seasoning blend)
1 T granulated garlic or garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1 1/4 lbs. extra lean ground turkey (If your store only has 1 lb. packages that will work too, but you might want to slightly reduce the amount of seasonings.  I would still use the full can of tomatoes and green chiles.)
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles with juice
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (or more if you like a lot of lime flavor; I used my frozen lime juice.)
salt to taste
6-8 small (fajita size) flour tortillas
Green Tabasco Sauce for serving (optional but good)

Salsa Ingredients:
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained well 
1/4 large red onion, diced small
1/2 cup (or more) finely diced fresh cilantro
3 T fresh squeezed lime juice
1 T olive oil

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and saute the chopped onion until it is starting to get nicely browned, about 4-5 minutes.  Add taco seasoning and cook 1-2 minutes more.  Then push the onion aside, add another tsp. of olive oil, and add the ground turkey.  Cook the turkey until it's well-browned, about 8-10 minutes.

Add the granulated garlic, petite dice tomatoes, diced green chiles, lime juice, and a little salt, turn the heat to very low, and let the mixture simmer for about 1 hour, stirring a few times and adding a little water if needed.  (You can probably get by with a little less than an hour, but the long cooking time combines the ingredients and ramps up the flavor.)

While the ground turkey mixture is simmering, drain the black beans into a colander placed in the sink, rinse with cold water until no more foam appears, and let the beans drain well.  (I blot them dry with a paper towel if I'm in a hurry.)  Combine the drained beans, diced red onion, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and olive oil to make the salsa.

When the meat mixture is nearly done, wrap desired number of flour tortillas in foil and heat them in a 350F/180C oven for 15-20 minutes.  (I used a toaster oven.; you can also heat the tortillas in the microwave if you're only making a couple of tacos.) 

To serve, fold over heated flour tortillas into half-moon shape, open and fill each tortilla about half full with the ground turkey mixture, top with a generous spoonful of salsa, and eat with Green Tabasco Sauce to add at the table if desired.  Other toppings can also be used such as cheese, sour cream, avocado, guacamole, lettuce, or salsa.   

I'm sure this ground turkey taco mixture freezes well, so you might want to double the amount and freeze some for later.  (I would not recommend freezing the salsa.)

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
If you're making these tacos for the South Beach Diet, use ground turkey that's not over 10% fat and use whole wheat or low-carb flour tortillas.  (Corn tortillas are not recommended for South Beach.)  The tacos would be phase 2 or 3 for The South Beach Diet, but you could use this ground turkey mixture and make a delicious taco salad for Phase one.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Ideas with Lean Ground Turkey:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Szechuan Green Beans and Ground Turkey ~ The Lemon Bowl
Turkey Pesto Meatloaf with Tomato Sauce ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Greektown Turkey Meatballs ~ The Perfect Pantry
Grilled Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers with Yogurt Sauce ~ Kalyn's Kitchen 
Baked Turkey Teriyaki Meatballs ~ Cookin' Canuck
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!


  1. Kalyn, I so agree with you on ground turkey being a bit boring, and your recipe deals with it perfectly!

    I am also fond of some low carb tortillas, but found a brand I like even more than the Mission. Unfortunately, now that I want to share the brand with you, I cannot remember the name! ;-) (Story of my life....)

  2. For heating tortillas - I've found the best way may SEEM time consuming, but it really isn't once you get going... We heat a non-stick skillet or griddle pan - and lay them out flat. Turn when warm on once side, then stack on a plate, with a fabric napkin to wrap around when done. Keep an close eye and don't let them get crispy. They stay plenty warm, as they are stacked as soon as they come off the griddle - and the best part, pliable/foldable, non-tearing when making tacos, etc. Cheers! Can't wait to try this taco recipe!

  3. Looking fwd to trying this recipe. Is there a typo in the salsa? It states can of beans, should it be tomatoes? ��

  4. It is a black bean salsa. There are no tomatoes in the salsa.

  5. How many tacos would constitute a serving under South Beach rules?

  6. South Beach does not limit serving sizes, except for a few foods. However, I'd guess that two of these small tacos would be a meal for most people.

  7. What jumps right out at me is the serious dose of lime juice in this recipe! I love lime, especially in the winter when it really brings that taste of summer into the kitchen.

  8. Lydia, I wanted to use even more lime, but Jake held me back!

  9. I've had tacos on the brain for a couple days and now after seeing this, I have to make some. That black bean salsa looks really delcious!

  10. You really packed a ton of flavor into these! Well done!

  11. So much flavor going on in these- they look amazing. And so full of protein and healthy fiber. Nice work!

  12. Lol - great minds and all that... I posted TexMex fajitas this week! Love the sound of this recipe, and yes, amazingly I still have the beans you sent me! Husband hid them at the back if a cupboard and I rediscovered them a week or 2 ago!

  13. OMG! The pic made me crave it sooo much. Can't wait to make this one. I will have to use a vegetarian sub for the turkey but apart from that the rest of them will pretty much be the same.

  14. I could eat just the black bean cilantro salsa in the tortillas - that sounds so good Kalyn!

  15. We enjoyed this very much; very flavourful!

  16. I've never commented on a blog before, but these tacos were so good I felt I had to let you know how impressed I was! I found the recipe on pinterest and it led me to your site!
    I was worried about this being to limey, but it wasn't at all, it was absolutely perfect! I added grilled corn and diced avocado to the black bean salsa, and it was delicious, you could easily make these vegetarian by just doing the salsa with tomatoes in the tortilla!
    I will absolutely be making these all summer long! Fabulous recipe!

  17. Thanks Catie, so glad you enjoyed them so much. (And I love being the first blog you've commented on; thanks for taking the time!)


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