Most types of protein are year-round — you can enjoy them on any day, in any season, and for any occasion. If there's one type of protein, however, that tends to get a seasonal stamp, it would definitely be turkey. Sure, you might enjoy a turkey sandwich every now and then, but otherwise, most people are reaching for chicken when they seek out their poultry, and very few are whipping up a roast turkey on a Tuesday night. Come fall, and especially come Thanksgiving, turkey suddenly becomes the star of the show, making the protein a much more seasonal specialty than other types like chicken, beef, or lamb.
If you're the type of person who flocks to get the biggest bird and carefully researches to how cook it perfectly for Thanksgiving, then perhaps you'll want to get a little practice with other turkey recipes. Because, against popular belief, you can (and should) enjoy turkey all throughout fall, and even all throughout the year.
Also, there's more to turkey than roasting an entire bird — you can use ground turkey to make burgers, meatloaf, or chili; leftover, sliced turkey to make a tetrazzini, soup, or a pot pie; or you could even cook up whole turkey wings. Turkey tends to be underestimated when it comes to versatility, but these best turkey recipes prove that the popular holiday bird has quite a bit to offer.
Read more: 75 Healthy Dinner Recipes
Turkey Cottage Pie
While shepherd's pie may be the name most of us are familiar with, a cottage pie is very similar — technically, a shepherd's pie is always made with lamb, whereas a cottage pie features beef. Well, this recipe defies the rules a little bit by featuring turkey as the star protein, though the rest of the components are pretty true to a classic shepherd's or cottage pie, especially thanks to the mashed potato topping.
There's a lot of savory goodness to get excited about with this turkey cottage pie, and vegetables like onion, carrot, celery, and mushrooms help add some bulk to the dish along with the ground turkey. This is exactly the type of dish that will warm you up on a chilly fall night, and best of all, you're almost guaranteed to have leftovers — that means you can enjoy this comfort classic all week long.
Recipe: Turkey Cottage Pie
Hearty Turkey Chili
Beef is often the go-to protein when it comes to chili, but just about any ground meat will do the trick — in the case of this recipe, ground turkey steps up to the plate. Of course, there's a lot more to chili than just the meat, so you can also expect to find a plethora of hearty goodies including kidney beans, red bell pepper, and onion all simmered in a savory tomato sauce.
When it comes time to enjoy your bowl of turkey chili, you could keep things simple and pair it with rice or even tortilla chips. Of course, you could also go all out and garnish your bowl with the works: cilantro, sour cream, and maybe even some avocado slices for good measure.
Recipe: Hearty Turkey Chili
Turkey Enchilada Skillet
Enchiladas are a classic Mexican dish that usually consists of a savory filling rolled up in corn tortillas; this recipe features such ingredients but in a unique, deconstructed way. Instead of making the enchilada filling, rolling it up into tortillas, then slathering on a sauce and baking, you'll build the whole dish in a skillet — a huge perk for those who can't be bothered to turn on their oven come dinnertime.
As for what goes into the skillet, you can expect some typical enchilada ingredients, including beans, onion, bell pepper, corn, and of course, ground turkey. And don't worry, tortillas still make an appearance in this recipe, but instead of rolling them up, you'll cut them up into strips and toss them right into the skillet.
Recipe: Turkey Enchilada Skillet
Turkey Tomato Bolognese
Whether you're looking to experiment in the kitchen or you absolutely refuse to use jarred pasta sauce, it's always a good idea to have a go-to bolognese sauce in your recipe repertoire. This recipe walks you through the steps to make a perfectly rich, tomatoey, and turkey-based Bolognese, and we can absolutely guarantee that it tastes better than any pasta sauce you might buy in a jar.
The key to accomplishing the rich depth of flavor is letting the sauce simmer for an hour; a test of patience, no doubt, but a step that is ultimately easy and will result in a delectable sauce. As for what kind of pasta you pair your turkey Bolognese with, that part is up to you — spaghetti, tagliatelle, or lasagna are all good options.
Recipe: Rich Turkey Tomato Bolognese
White Turkey Chili
If you like the idea of chili but aren't too keen on tomatoes, then this white turkey chili recipe is the perfect middle ground. You'll find lots of traditional chili ingredients in this dish, from ground turkey to beans to corn, but you won't find any tomatoes, thus making this a "white" chili as it doesn't have that classic red hue.
This recipe is also ideal for those who are fans of spice, as you'll find canned green chiles and jalapeño in the mix. Even if you aren't so big on spicy food, it's easy to customize this dish to your exact liking — you could even fully omit the chiles and still have a warm, hearty dish that tastes just as good.
Recipe: White Turkey Chili
Turkey Kofta Kebabs And Whipped Feta
This recipe for turkey kofta kebabs and whipped feta is essentially a two-for-one special; not only will you end up with delightfully juicy, freshly-grilled turkey kebabs, but you'll top off your skewered with a creamy feta dressing to really hone in on those Greek flavors. Paired with some simple sides like salad and pita bread, you've got a full meal with surprisingly minimal effort.
Based on the shape of the turkey kebabs, you may be surprised to learn that you'll use ground turkey to make them. Breadcrumbs and eggs help bind everything together, and you'll also include spices like cumin, sumac, garlic, and chili powder to ensure plenty of flavor with each bite. Though this recipe does call for grilling the kebabs, you could easily make them on the stovetop and yield a similarly juicy result.
Actually Juicy Turkey Burger
There's no denying that beef dominates the burger game, and for pretty good reason — it makes for a classic burger and a delectably juicy one at that. Meanwhile, other proteins like chicken or turkey can make for a tasty burger, but the leaner meats run the risk of drying out more easily.
If you're looking for the perfect turkey burger that is actually juicy, then this is just the recipe for you; these patties contain goat milk, which is a secret weapon in maintaining moisture, even as the meat cooks. You'll also cook the patties in the oven, which will make things easier for you as you prepare the buns and get your toppings ready to go.
Recipe: Actually Juicy Turkey Burgers
Spatchcocked Sichuan-Spiced Dry-Brined Turkey
In case you're unfamiliar with spatchcocking, it's a poultry cooking method in which you remove the backbone of the bird. The process typically involves pressing the bird down on the breastbone to flatten it. While the method is most common with chicken, you can spatchcock a turkey, too, and the result is a bird that cooks much more evenly than its non-spatchcocked counterparts.
This recipe not only walks you through the steps to spatchcock your turkey, but it also incorporates some seriously impressive flavors. You'll start by dry-brining the bird in a Sichuan, coriander, and fennel-spiced rub, then you'll bake the spatchcocked turkey to juicy perfection. Between the cooking method and the brine, this is one impressive turkey that will certainly liven up the table come Thanksgiving.
Baked Turkey Meatballs
No plate of spaghetti is complete without meatballs, and if you're looking to give beef meatballs a rest, then perhaps it's time to allow turkey to shine. These baked turkey meatballs are the perfect accompaniment to any pasta, not just spaghetti, as they provide a rich, juicy, savory flavor that simply can't be beaten.
A big perk to this recipe is that it's a very straightforward one; you'll mix up the meatball "batter," roll it up into balls, then bake — no fuss, no worries about the meatballs baking through. As the meatballs bake, you can focus on making the tomato sauce, and once both components are ready, simply pile them onto your favorite pasta for an ultra-comforting meal.
Recipe: Baked Turkey Meatballs
Turkey Bolognese Bianco
This recipe for turkey Bolognese bianco really does have it all; between the rigatoni, broccoli rabe, turkey, and garlic white wine sauce, this seemingly simple and bare-bones recipe packs quite a few delectable ingredients.
Ideal for busy weeknights, this recipe comes together in a jiffy — we're talking less than 30 minutes, and it yields four servings. Pair your hearty pasta with a simple side salad or some garlic bread to round out the meal.
Recipe: Turkey Bolognese Bianco
Smoky Turkey Chili
Not everyone likes a spicy chili, but a smoky one? It's pretty hard to deny how delicious a smoky chili is, and when you include ingredients like ground turkey, black beans, and fire-roasted tomatoes, it's almost guaranteed to be a winning dish for the whole family.
So, you might be wondering — what exactly makes this a smoky chili? Well, we can thank a few key spices for providing smoky flavor notes, including chili powder, smoked paprika, and even a bit of cinnamon for some added warmth. Top off your bowl with some cheese and fresh cilantro for the optimal dining experience.
Recipe: Smoky Turkey Chili
Ultimate Turkey Meatloaf
Beef may be a meatloaf go-to, but this ultimate turkey meatloaf recipe sure gives ground beef a run for its money. Between the hearty mixture of ground turkey, mushrooms, onion, and even potato chips, this turkey loaf is packed with moisture, so you can bet on it being perfectly juicy with each and every bite.
Like any meatloaf recipe, there's a certain ease of preparation that makes this such a winning dish. You'll combine the meatloaf "batter" in a bowl, press it into a loaf pan, then let the oven do its thing for about an hour. While there will be plenty of savory flavor in the meatloaf itself, you can count on the ketchup glaze to give the dish that class meatloaf look and to provide a much-needed tangy contrast.
Recipe: Ultimate Turkey Meatloaf
Turkey Sandwich With Pepper Jack And Barbecue Chips
If you haven't yet discovered the delicacy of putting crushed potato chips onto a sandwich, then perhaps this turkey sandwich recipe can be your introduction. Sure, many of us have paired chips with a sandwich before, but by adding them directly in between the slices of bread, you add a burst of flavor (barbecue, in this case) as well as a crispiness that vegetables just can't compete with.
Of course, you will find plenty of vegetables on this sandwich, including lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles, along with a spicy mayo that also packs a tangy punch. Topped off with the final sprinkle of barbecue chips, this isn't your mom's turkey sandwich, though she likely would enjoy it should you share the recipe.
Baked Turkey Wings
Sometimes chicken wings just aren't enough, and the only wing that might satiate your hunger would be a turkey's. Luckily, it's just as easy to cook turkey wings as it is chicken, especially when you let the oven do all of the work. Fair warning, however, that it will take a while to bake these turkey wings — after all, they are pretty hefty.
Once your wings are done baking in the oven, you can enjoy them in both fancy and casual settings. Looking to switch things up from a whole bird on Thanksgiving? These wings will make for the perfect dinner centerpiece. Or, simply enjoy these wings anytime you might enjoy chicken wings, alongside sides like ranch and celery.
Recipe: Baked Turkey Wings
Autumnal Herby Turkey Breast
While you could make this autumnal herby turkey breast for just about any occasion, it offers an air of elegance well suited to a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table. This recipe is especially ideal for those who want to celebrate a holiday but don't have a huge crowd to feed — instead of cooking a whole bird, you can just cook the breast but still yield equally impressive results.
Even if you choose to make this turkey breast on any old weeknight, there's no doubt that it will leave your family full and satisfied. Pair this turkey with comforting sides like mashed potatoes or green bean casserole to round out the meal.
Recipe: Autumnal Herby Turkey Breast
Breakfast Turkey Sausage
Pork sausage may be a beloved breakfast classic, but there's no denying that turkey sausage gives it a run for its money. While many of us opt to buy turkey sausage patties from the store, it's actually quite easy to make them yourself, and this way, you have total control over what ingredients go in.
These turkey sausage patties are nice and simple, though they still pack the perfect flavor punch thanks to garlic and fresh sage. Because these sausage patties are best suited as a breakfast side dish, you'll enjoy them most paired alongside eggs, pancakes, and other morning-time favorites.
Recipe: Easy Breakfast Turkey Sausage
Leftovers Turkey Pot Pie
We've all been there, left with lots of leftovers after a big dinner and unsure about what to do with them. If you happen to have a plethora of turkey and vegetables left after a big meal (perhaps after Thanksgiving), then there's no better way to put them to good use than by way of a pot pie.
To make this a nice and easy recipe, you'll put a couple of premade pie crusts to good use, serving as the foundation of your pot pie. And, of course, this is a leftovers pie, so you'll need already-cooked turkey, along with some quintessential vegetables like onion, celery, and carrot.
Recipe: Leftovers Turkey Pot Pie
One-Pot Turkey Tetrazzini
There are fewer recipes more convenient than a one-pot one, and this recipe for turkey tetrazzini checks all of those convenience boxes. Not only does it come together on the stovetop in just a single pan, but you'll use already-cooked turkey to speed up the process.
Of course, there's more to this recipe than just the turkey — in fact, it's a pretty well-balanced one thanks to the addition of spaghetti, mushrooms, and peas. For those days when you need a no-fuss meal and maybe have some leftover turkey to use up, tetrazzini is the answer.
Recipe: One-Pot Turkey Tetrazzini
Turkey Vegetable Soup
Move over chicken noodle soup — turkey is the new meat of choice when it comes to soup, and better yet when you throw lots of vegetables into the mix. That's just what this turkey vegetable soup does, with peas, celery, carrots, and spinach all bulking up this otherwise brothy soup.
It's always good to have a homemade soup recipe on standby when colder months roll around; if someone in your family comes down with the flu, there's nothing better than homemade soup to lift their spirits. And, luckily, it's not much harder to make soup from scratch than to buy and heat up a can — though we can guarantee that it tastes much better.
Recipe: Turkey Vegetable Soup
Turkey Roulade With Dried Cherries And Sausage Stuffing
Why have turkey and stuffing as two separate dishes when you could just combine the two? Get the best of both worlds with this turkey roulade recipe, which comes stuffed with a, well, stuffing, and a pretty darn tasty one at that. This isn't your grandma's stuffing — this one features dried cherries, mushrooms, Italian sausage, and pine nuts, making for an ultra-refined take on the holiday classic.
If you're looking to make a slightly more interesting dish this holiday season, then you can't go wrong with this roulade. It's elegant and delicious, and you'll even make a gravy to slather on top and add to the savoriness.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.