Indian-Spiced Turkey and Vegetable Ragu

5 stars average

This hearty turkey and vegetable chili is packed with warm Indian spices that will have your taste buds begging for more.

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Indian Summer Turkey Chili - The Lemon Bowl

This hearty turkey and vegetable ragu is packed with warm Indian spices that will have your taste buds begging for more.

Indian Spiced Turkey and Vegetable Ragu - The Lemon Bowl

FACT: “Clean Out the Fridge” dinners are, hands down, the most delicious meals you’ll eat all week. I don’t know about you but whenever I enter the kitchen without any sort of plan, recipe or strategy, I almost always end up with the most creative, flavorful and inventive meal I’ve eaten all week.

My Indian-Spiced Turkey and Vegetable Ragu is the direct result of a recent clean-out-the-fridge dinner experiment. We had ground turkey to use so I sautéed it in a pan with the last of the vegetables including one ear of corn, a red pepper and a zucchini. Since ground turkey is quite lean, it lends itself well to strong spices which is why I decided to head towards India with the addition of garam masala, curry powder and turmeric.

pile of yellow turmeric on wooden spoon on white background

Warm spices like turmeric, cinnamon and others found in this dish are not only intoxicatingly delicious but they are also full of antioxidants. In fact, studies show that the remarkably low rate of alzheimer’s in India is due to the high consumption of turmeric. Since alzheimer’s runs in my family, I have been trying to add it to our diet more and more.

Indian Summer Turkey Chili by The Lemon Bowl

Speaking of turmeric, I must give a shout out to my friend Faith of An Edible Mosaic. She sent me several bags of spices including turmeric from a spice bazaar in Kuwait where she is currently living. Let me tell you, there is something to be said for high quality spices from good quality sources that makes all the difference!

Your fork is waiting.

Indian Summer Turkey Chili by The Lemon Bowl

Indian-Spiced Turkey and Vegetable Ragu

5 stars average
This hearty turkey and vegetable chili is packed with warm Indian spices that will have your taste buds begging for more.
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 20 minutes
TOTAL: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 zucchini (diced)
  • 1 red pepper (seeded and diced)
  • 1 ear corn (kernels removed)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 2 cups kale (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (low sodium)
  • brown rice – to serve
  • fresh cilantro and plain yogurt (optional garnish)


  • Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat and add onion. Sautee until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 30 additional seconds to release flavor.
  • Add ground turkey and spices (salt through cayenne) to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to break down turkey as it browns, about 7-9 minutes.
  • Toss zucchini, red pepper and corn into the pan and continue to cook with the turkey until veggies soften, 4-5 minutes.
  • Pour chicken broth into the pan and use wooden spoon to scrap up any browned bits from bottom of the pan. Add kale and cook until wilted, 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato sauce and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Check for seasoning at this point and adjust accordingly.
  • Serve over brown rice and garnish with fresh cilantro and plain yogurt if you wish.


Serving size is 1 1/2 cups. Nutrition facts do not include rice.


Serving: 1gCalories: 264kcalCarbohydrates: 25.4gProtein: 31.6gFat: 5.1gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4.8gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 726mgFiber: 5gSugar: 9g

30 thoughts on “Indian-Spiced Turkey and Vegetable Ragu”

  1. Really delicious! Your recipes are outstanding! I am surprised, though, that there were no comments about the recommended amount of salt. I was surprised at the 1.5t and decided to go with 1t. I love salt as much as the next person but 1.5 seemed like a lot. 1t was perfect.

    I might experiment with adding peas or cauliflower the next time or even some currants.

  2. Hey there! I’m new to the kitchen so this is a very basic question. But I made it and it turned out more like a soup in its consistency. It didn’t seem like there was any broth in the picture, and I thought ragu was supposed to be a fairly thick, almost pasty sauce. Did I mess up somewhere?

    1. Hi Zoe – Yes most of the broth is absorbed by the vegetables as it cooks and simmers. Did you make any substitutions to the recipe at all? I guess my only advice next time would be to add a little less broth. Perhaps it was the size of the vegetables you used? I hope it still tasted good!

      1. I used a cucumber instead of zucchini because the grocery store was out. I guess that has a higher water content but I can’t imagine that made the entire difference. Ah well. It’s still delicious! One of my coworkers was jealous when I brought in leftovers for work today. Definitely making again so will try with less broth.

  3. This has become my new favorite recipe. It would really help with servings to know how many cups a serving is and whether or not you count the rice in the overall nutritional value. Thank you!

  4. I made this last night. I changed it a tad by only using about 1.5 cups water rather than broth since I didn’t have any on hand. I also cut the cayenne in half cause I’m kind of a wimp but it was so good! I served it over mashed cauliflower and my husband devoured it. I’ll definitely be making this again.

  5. I just made this the day after I found this recipe and WOW! We use cayenne pepper in many of our recipes so I went for the full amount. Next time I’m going to try this with 1/2 of the cayenne so we get a bit of that kick but not quite the full intensity. This was really good! We were all so excited to eat it we forgot to add the cilantro and yogurt (I had bought both – grrrrrr next time). My mom has diabetes type 2 and this was an excellent dish for her. Lots and lots of flavor! This recipe is absolutely going into permanent rotation at our house (I cook for 4 adults and this made 6 adult sized servings). It was incredibly easy to make as well, I used my large cast iron skillet and that was all that was needed.

  6. Liz, I love clean out the fridge dinners and this looks like one I’ll really love. I’m all for Indian spiced dishes so I’ll have to try this one. I love the mix of veggies and meat. This dish has it all. Thanks!

  7. I learned to love turmeric from my brother Rand who is a huge turmeric fan. I love the spicy heat it adds to things! This sounds fantastic, and thanks for the shout-out for my soup with turmeric too!

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