Turkey and Bean Skillet

Turkey and Bean Skillet

A turkey and bean skillet is, quite frankly, delightful. Why? Because it is packed with protein and vegetables, has notes of smoked paprika and the fresh bite of green onion, and is topped with salty, tangy cheese. Also, there is something so satisfying about:

  1. A meal you can cook all in 1 skillet (yay for whomever in your house is doing the dishes!)
  2. Mmm, that combo of ground turkey (or beef or plant-based meat, take your pick) and beans

And a fun fact: these red kidney beans were part of a sensory experiment I am working on. Gotta love doing a PhD in food!

Turkey and Bean Skillet

Recipe by A Legume a DayCourse: MealsDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



This turkey and bean skillet is a quick and filling meal that is packed with flavor and results in minimal dishes, making it a favorite for cooks and eaters alike.


  • 1-2 medium onions – Use whatever type you like and have on hand

  • 1-lb (16-oz.) ground turkey meat – Use beef or plant-based meat if you prefer

  • 1 can (15-oz.) or 1.5 cups cooked beans like red kidney, black, or pinto

  • 1 can (15-oz.) corn or 1.5 cups frozen or fresh corn – or roasted corn is great in this if you have it

  • A few cloves of garlic, minced, to taste

  • Jalapeño, pickled or fresh, to taste (optional)

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1-2 Tbs neutral oil, to sauté

  • 1 bunch of green onions (4-7 onions)

  • Feta or cotija cheese, to taste – I would recommend ~1/2 cup of crumbled cheese

  • Cilantro, to taste (of course optional for you cilantro haters out there)


  • I love onions, so I tend to go onion heavy and use 2 yellow onions. This recipe is flexible, so use the amount and type of onion that matches your taste preferences! Chop the onion, and then add it to a medium or large skillet with the oil and a pinch of salt. Turn on the burner to medium heat and sauté until translucent.
  • While the onion is sautéing, prepare other ingredients. Mince your garlic, chop the cilantro, slice the green onions, and chop or mince the jalapeño, if using. Depending on how much of a bite you like, add the garlic, green onions, and jalapeño earlier or later on in the sautéing of the (yellow) onions. Reserve some of the green part of the green onions to garnish, if desired. Cilantro stems are tender and can easily be added to the skillet for extra flavor instead of throwing them away.
  • After the onion is translucent, add 1 tsp ground cumin and stir, letting cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. This could also be a good time to add the garlic if you have not yet done so. Then, add in the meat with another pinch of salt (if using seasoned meat, use less salt accordingly) and cook through.
    Food safety note: turkey should reach at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
  • If using canned beans, drain and rinse. When the turkey is cooked or nearly cooked, add in corn, beans, and cilantro stems, if using. Heat through and ensure turkey is fully cooked. Stir in cilantro leaves and smoked paprika, reserving some cilantro for topping if you like. Taste for flavoring and adjust as needed. Remember that you will be adding a salty cheese, so avoid over-salting.
  • Serve hot, topping with crumbled feta or other cheese and garnishing with green onion and cilantro if desired.


  • If you can find whole feta and crumble it yourself, it tends to be cheaper and taste better. Pepperjack cheese could also work well.
  • If you want the onion to lend more sweet flavor, take it a bit further and sauté until it turns a light golden brown.
  • It’s hard for me to recommend an amount of salt without knowing the saltiness level of your beans, cheese, etc. Salt to suit your taste! 🙂
Turkey and Bean Skillet close-up

Looking for more satisfying meals that create minimal dishes? How about this black bean and sweet potato bake that comes together on 1 sheet pan?


  1. We made this recipe last night. It was delicious! It was very easy with minimal clean up. Also, the ingredients were not expensive. We will definitely make this again!

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