Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet

garnished turkey taco quinoa skillet surrounded by other garnishes

This Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet is perfectly spicy, full of protein and a cheese lovers dream! The best part? It’s made in one skillet and takes only 30 minutes!

This recipe was originally published in July of 2018 – I’ve since updated the photos, added additional blog content and tweaked the recipe slightly. Enjoy!

Y’all. I’m all up in my feels regarding this Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet! I swear, it’s one of the favorite things I’ve ever made. 

Another thing I’m all about lately? Especially this Fall? One skillet meals! This Fall I am simply all about delicious, comfort food meals that can be done in ONE SKILLET. Less mess, less dishes. More time to spend with family and more time to eat dessert. Right?!

Why You’ll Love This Dish: 

I like how the dish is subtly spicy. With how much time it has to simmer, the flavors meld together like nothing you’ve ever had. 

The black beans and the corn form an amazing alliance to add both juiciness and wonderful texture to the dish.

I love how the onion and bell pepper get slightly softer in the skillet but still retain a subtle crunch. 

close up of half of the garnished skillet

The quinoa becomes creamy and delicious, but still remains perfectly cooked.

The ground turkey is a wonderful protein for this meal – it’s light, it’s spicy thanks to the taco seasoning and it’s just plain delicious.

overhead shot of wooden spoon in garnished turkey taco quinoa skillet

Lastly, the cheese melted is basically the cherry on top. Cheese makes everything better!

You literally pour everything into a large cast iron skillet and let it simmer. Just plop a lid on top and go finish that episode of The X-Files episode you’re watching (and yes my husband are just now watching The X-Files and it’s amazing). 

So let’s get into what you need to make it!

Ingredients You Need:

  • Ground turkey – this is the main protein I used for this. I used 85% lean, 15% fat.
  • Onion and bell pepper – yellow onion and green bell pepper work! 
  • Corn – I used canned corn for this recipe but feel free to use fresh if it’s in season.
  • Black beans – I used drained canned black beans. 
  • Quinoa – the grain in this recipe!
  • Water – this will help the quinoa cook! You can also use vegetable broth if desired.
  • Cheese – I used freshly shredded cheese, a combo of colby jack and monterey jack. 
  • Taco seasoning (homemade or store bought) – see below for my homemade recipe!
  • Cilantro, avocado, cotija cheese etc for garnishes!

How to Make Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet in 5 Simple Steps: 

I used my  Lodge Cast Iron Skillet – it is 10 and 1/4 inches. I felt like it was the perfect size! *affiliate link …. 

  1. Chop up the onion and bell pepper into bite size pieces. Shred the cheese and set it aside. Preheat your skillet and adding a splash of olive oil. Next, add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet. Add a pinch of salt and let it cook for 1-2 minutes. 
  2. To the skillet, add the ground turkey and cook until done – around 7-10 minutes. Add about 2 tbsp of store-bought or homemade taco seasoning and mix to combine. Let cook until fully done!
  3. Once it’s done cooking, add in the drained cans of black beans and corn. Also add the quinoa. Mix together. Add in 3/4 cup of water. Mix everything to combine. Let it come to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium/low to simmer. Place a lid on it and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until the quinoa is fluffy and cooked through:3 side by side photos - one of the cooked meat with veggies, the 2nd with the corn, beans, quinoa, meat and veggies and the third fully cooked in the skillet!
  4. Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the lid, taste and adjust for seasoning. If needed, add another tbsp or so of the taco seasoning as well as extra salt if necessary. I added freshly shredded cheese and mixed it into the skillet. And then I sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and replace the lid, letting the cheese melt on top for about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Aaaaand that’s all, folks! Yup. You can garnish with jalapeno, cilantro, avocado or just dive straight in with a fork or a bag of tortilla chips!

Homemade Taco Seasoning: 

This is a pretty simple recipe and VERY customizable, but here is my basic recipe for a homemade taco seasoning! Of course, taste and adjust as needed. Go ahead and make a double or even triple batch of it to save for the next time you make this! 

  • 1 tbsp chili powder (can add more if desired)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Note that this is a BASE recipe – I recommend you mix it up, try it yourself and then adjust to your taste. Add more spice, more salt etc. Enjoy!

How to Serve Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet:

I also love how many different ways you can serve the dish! You can eat it straight from the skillet with tortilla chips as an appetizer.

hand dipping a chip into the skillet

You can pile it on top of a bed of greens to make a taco salad. Or, you can totally pile it into a taco shell and eat it that way!

Ingredient Variations: 

Add ground chicken or ground beef instead of turkey! 

You can also double up on the beans and make it a vegetarian dish.

If you want this a little spicier, add in a chopped jalapeno! 

overhead photo of 2 tortilla chips in the finished turkey taco skillet

I love adding greek yogurt or sour cream on top as a garnish. 

Storing Leftovers: 

You can store leftovers in a tightly sealed container for up to 4 days in the fridge…when you’re ready to eat it again, heat it up until warm and load with toppings! 

Cheers to minimal clean up, easy, delicious meals! Yay Fall comfort food!

Did you enjoy this recipe? Here are a few more you might like:

Cheesy Chicken Lime Tortilla Soup 

One Skillet Taco Chili Mac and Cheese

Chorizo Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema

Thank you so much for following along here, friends! Want to see more? Be sure to follow ourbalancedbowl on Instagram and tag me with your photo if you end up making a recipe! You can also post a photo of your recipe to the Our Balanced Bowl Facebook page! Like a recipe that you saw? Follow me on Pinterest here! I always love to see your re-creations! If you do make a recipe, it would make my whole day if you were to rate and comment so I can get your feedback! Lots of love! – Haylie

Did you enjoy this recipe? Here are a few more you might like:

Loaded Turkey Taco Bowls 

Roasted Garlic Green Goddess Tacos 

One Skillet Taco Chili Mac and Cheese 

Thank you so much for following along here, friends! Want to see more? Be sure to follow ourbalancedbowl on Instagram and tag me with your photo if you end up making a recipe! You can also post a photo of your recipe to the Our Balanced Bowl Facebook page! Like a recipe that you saw? Follow me on Pinterest here! I always love to see your re-creations! If you do make a recipe, it would make my whole day if you were to rate and comment so I can get your feedback! Lots of love! – Haylie

5 from 8 votes
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Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet

This Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet is perfectly spicy, full of protein and a cheese lovers dream! The best part? It's made in one skillet and takes only 30 minutes!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword ground turkey tacos, one skillet meal, taco skillet, turkey taco quinoa skillet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 316 kcal
Author Haylie

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey, 85% lean
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 can corn (can also use fresh, about 1 cup)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups freshly shredded cheese, I used a blend of colby jack and monterey jack
  • 2-3 tbsp taco seasoning (homemade or store bought)
  • handful of cilantro (for garnish)
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion and bell pepper into small bite size pieces. If you're using homemade taco seasoning, mix it together now! See blog post above for my base recipe. Shred your cheese and set aside.

  2. Add olive oil to to large cast iron skillet - I used my 10 inch skillet! Place skillet on medium heat.

  3. Add in onion and bell pepper along with a pinch of salt and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in your ground turkey and cook until done - around 7-10 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of taco seasoning and mix together to combine. 

  4. When your turkey is done cooking, add in your drained black beans, corn and quinoa. Add in about 3/4 cup of water. Add lid to the skillet, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, checking on it occasionally to make sure it isn't burning.

  5. Once the 20 minutes are up, TASTE and add a little more taco seasoning or salt if desired. Mix together. Add 1 cup of cheese and mix into the skillet. Use the rest of the cheese on top, put the lid back on the skillet and let the cheese melt for 2-3 minutes.

  6. Garnish with cilantro. Serve warm with chips, tortillas or just eat by itself. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

See above recipe in my blog post for homemade taco seasoning! 

28 comments / Add your comment below

  1. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight and Holy. Cow. So fast and SO delicious! Going into our permanent dinner rotation! Thanks for this amazing recipe! ❤️

    1. Hi Heather, sorry I’m just now seeing your comment! It is made with uncooked quinoa! It cooks in the skillet with everything else 🙂

    1. Hey Nikki! I think that would work! I would just completely skip adding the water/simmer part since the quinoa is already cooked. So basically, after cooking your turkey/veggies, stir in the quinoa. Let it cook just enough to heat it through. If it’s too dry, add just a splash of water or broth to help liven it back up! 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        I just have to say I’ve made this about 5 times now and it’s so good. We add cilantro of course and we love adding different toppings like avocado and chips to dip. My 4 year old likes a little sour cream and sliced grape tomatoes. Definitely a recipe we will keep enjoying!

        1. Stephanie, this comment made me so happy!! Thank you so much for making the recipe..so glad to hear that you and your whole family are loving it! Definitely wanna add grape tomatoes to mine next time! 🙂

    1. Hi Brittany! I actually used to have a super fun nutritional label on my blog for each recipe which I have since removed. The way it works was I would put the nutritional information based on the package of the food into the nutritional info counter and it would then calculate how much of the ingredient I put in (for example, 1/2 cup rolled oats) – and the calories you see are for about 1/4 of the skillet 🙂 hope you enjoy if you make it!

  2. 5 stars
    This was our convo de Mayo meal this year and we loved it. Plus it is so super easy and can be altered according to what you like or have on hand (I don’t care for corn but I love avocados). I was thinking maybe next time I’d throw in a can of Rotel tomatoes, too, and cut down on the water.

    1. Yay! So glad you enjoyed this, Linda! I love rotel so I think that would be an awesome add for flavor for this dish! Hope you had an awesome Cinco De Mayo!! 🙂

  3. 4 stars
    This was bomb! I don’t even like quinoa but THIS I would eat at least once a week! Not to mention it was so so easy and made in one pan. Like wow. I added half a jar of salsa to the mix and then topped it with some guacamole salsa at the end and I was in love. Delicious 😋

    1. Thank you SO much for the kind review, Kim!! I’m so so happy you liked it! Love the added salsa as well! I’ll have to give that a try 🙂 Thanks again for making the recipe!!

    1. Hi Deanna – I’m so so sorry this recipe didn’t work out for you 🙁 I’m going to go into the instructions and try and make them more clear…I hope you give another one of my recipes a shot. Again, so sorry! – Haylie

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