This flavorful ground Turkey with Green Bean Stir-Fry is the perfect dish for a busy weeknight or for whenever you’re in the mood for a healthy and delicious meal!
I’m pretty sure I make this turkey with green bean stir fry almost once a week, all year long. Delivering a wallop of flavor with few ingredients, we just never tire of it. Best of all, it comes together really fast making it the best treat on busy weeknights.
In this super tasty, quick-cooking stir fry, the lean ground turkey soaks up loads of salty umami from fish sauce and soy sauce. Heat and more flavor comes from a generous amount of chili paste, garlic, and scallions. Fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil, and/or mint add herbal bursts of brightness.
- Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Ingredient Notes
- How To Make Turkey with Green Bean Stir Fry
- Good To Know
- How To Make Ground Turkey Crispy?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Serving Suggestions
- Storing And Reheating Tips
- More Ground Turkey Recipes To Try
- Turkey and Green Bean Stir-Fry
Though I often switch up the vegetable, this time of year fresh and crunchy green beans are my favorite to use. Cut into pieces, they cook fast and pick up all the succulent garlicky, salty flavors from the meat. Abundantly flavorful and so easy to make, I have no doubt this dish will become your weeknight staple, too.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s fast and easy – There’s a bit of veggie chopping, but not that much. Once that is out of the way, this dish comes together fast making it the perfect weeknight dinner.
- Healthy and satisfying – Ground turkey is a lean protein that is lower in saturated fats. In addition, this dish has a hefty amount of low carb, fresh green beans which are a good source of vitamins, fiber, folic acid and potassium. In short, this ground turkey with green beans stir-fry makes a healthy dinner you can feel good about.
- Very adaptable – You can use any ground meat or vegetable you’d like, including a plant-based ground meat alternative.
- Leftovers are fantastic! This dish gets even better as it sits making it great for meal prep. We use it for next-day lunches, or for making entirely new meals throughout the week.
- One pan! Similar recipes will have you blanch the green beans separately or even broil them. We don’t do that here. The beans are cut small enough that they will cook quickly. Everything cooks in one pan without removing any of the ingredients. Yay!
To me, the true allure of this recipe is how flavourful and satisfying it is despite using only a few, mostly pantry-friendly, ingredients. Here is what you will need to make it:
- Ground turkey – I use lean ground turkey but you could also use ground chicken, ground beef, ground pork, or ground lamb.
- Green beans – I have only ever used fresh green beans for this recipe. Unfortunately, I don’t think frozen or canned would work very well.
- Neutral oil – I like to use avocado oil but any neutral oil will work. You can also add a drizzle of sesame oil, along with the neutral oil. In a pinch, olive oil will work just fine.
- Scallions (green onions) – These will add so much flavour to the dish so don’t omit them or get skimpy with the amount. In a pinch, you can use shallots or red onion.
- Garlic – Like most stir fries, a good amount of fresh garlic is essential for adding some delicious pungent flavour.
- Low-sodium soy sauce – It may seem like this recipe calls for too much soy sauce but keep in my mind the idea of this recipe is to make it super flavourful quickly, using just a few ingredients. I always use low-sodium soy sauce so if yours is a regular soy sauce, you will have to use considerably less or it will be too salty.
- Fish sauce – Though it lends some funky umami to the dish, the fish sauce here is optional. I don’t always add it and the ground turkey and green bean stir fry is still fabulous.
- Chili sauce – I use Sambal Oelek which adds loads of flavor and a nice kick. If you don’t like any heat, use just a smidge or any similar sauce that has less spice such as a chili garlic sauce.
- Coconut sugar – I don’t like my stir fries sweet so we are only using a bit of sugar here. The sugar will help brown the meat, as well as balance all the flavours in the dish. I always use coconut sugar but white, cane, or brown sugar will also work.
- Lime wedges – Optional, but a little drizzle of lime juice adds a bright cheery note to the finished dish.
- Herbs – Fresh herbs will take this dish over the top. I love to add cilantro, a tiny bit of mint, and lots of sweet or Thai basil. But here’s a surprising observation: During winter, when I don’t have any fresh herbs growing in the garden, and I don’t feel like running out to get any, I omit them all and the dish is aaalmost as delicious.
- Add ginger: Fresh ginger, an ingredient I almost always use in stir-fries, is notoriously absent from the ingredient list in this recipe. This is because this dish is supposed to be a very quick, weeknight endeavour and for some reason, I don’t really miss it here. But if you love ginger, please feel free to add some if you wish.
- Make it gluten-free: Use Tamari or coconut aminos to keep it gluten-free. Tip: If your Tamari isn’t low-sodium, reduce the amount accordingly.
- Use a different vegetable(s): This time of year, beautiful fresh green beans are easy to find and are terrific in this dish, but other seasonal veggies such as bok choy, bell peppers, snow peas, snap peas, or summer squash would work just as well. In the colder months I mostly use bok choy or sometimes shredded cabbage.
- Make it vegan: Replace the ground meat with crumbled tofu, tempeh, or any ground plant-based meat alternative.
How To Make Turkey with Green Bean Stir Fry
This is a straight-forward stir-fry with just a few tweaks to get the green beans to cook quickly. What I like about this recipe is that everything is cooked in one pan and you don’t have to remove the meat or any veggies throughout the browning process.
Step 1: Place a large skillet, or large wok, over medium-high heat. Once hot, add oil then stir in the turkey and sugar, and let it cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, start to break up the meat and continue cooking for about 5-6 minutes or until meat is very crumbly and no longer pink.
Step 2: Shove the turkey to one side of the pan and add the chopped green beans. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally and leaving them on the side that has no meat as much as possible.
Step 3: To the beans, add the garlic and scallions, and cook for 1 minute. Stir everything to combine the bean mixture with the turkey meat. Cook for 2-3 minutes more or until beans have softened enough to have a pleasant bite (they will still be crunchy).
Step 4: Add the herbs, soy sauce, chili sauce and fish sauce (if using). Taste and add more soy sauce or chilli sauce, if needed.
Step 5: Serve turkey over a bed of rice, drizzled with lime juice and topped with more chopped herbs and scallions, if desired.
*Please use the recipe card below for the detailed instructions.
Good To Know
Start by making your rice. If serving the turkey and green bean stir-fry with rice, get it started before you make the stir-fry. Like all stir-fries, this one comes together pretty fast and you don’t want to be waiting for your rice to be ready.
The beans should be on the crunchy side. We love the green beans a little on the crunchy side. If you prefer very tender green beans, sauté them in the pan, before adding the turkey, for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Proceed with adding the turkey to the skillet (no need to remove the beans), then add the rest of the ingredients once the turkey is cooked.
The dish might taste slightly salty on its own. But paired with rice, the salinity is perfectly dispersed and toned down. If serving with lettuce cups, you may want to add a little less soy sauce, and/or a little more sugar.
This is not supposed to be a saucy dish. If you want a saucier dish, you can try mixing 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, a splash more soy sauce and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Stir it into the dish once it has been removed from heat.
How To Make Ground Turkey Crispy?
The biggest complaint I hear about using ground turkey is that it doesn’t get crispy. Unlike pork or beef, ground turkey is very lean and releases a lot of moisture when cooked so it is very hard to get it crispy and brown without it becoming too dry.
I don’t mind one bit not having crispy meat in this dish, but for those of you who are willing to go the extra mile for it, I have come up with a pretty good hack:
- Add oil to a hot skillet and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar evenly all over the surface. After 30 seconds or so, grab a handful of the turkey meat, quickly pat it down into a burger patty-like thickness and shape and carefully place it in the skillet. (Use a stainless spatula if you’re worried about burning your hand). Repeat with remaining ground turkey, making similar-ish sized patties and adding them all to the pan. It’s best if the “patties” aren’t touching each other.
- Cook the “patties” undisturbed for about 4 minutes, or until the meat has started to brown and caramelize and most of the moisture has cooked off. Flip the “patties” and cook for another 2-3 minutes or, again, until most of the moisture has cooked off.
- Use a a flat spatula, or wooden spoon, to break up the meat. It should crumble really easily. Continue to cook until no longer pink and desired browning has been achieved. Just don’t cook the meat for too long or it will turn out dry.
This method will not give you meat as crispy as pork. However, the sugar, and patty shape, will help it develop a lot more flavour and colour.
Note that this is not the method used in this recipe so it will not be included the recipe card instructions. If you give it a try, please leave a comment below and let me know how it worked out for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
I recommend using only fresh green bean for this recipe as they will retain their crisp texture better. However, if you only have frozen green beans, make sure to thaw them completely and pat them dry before using.
As written, this recipe is only mildly spicy. If you’re sensitive to spicy food, use half of the chili sauce that is called for in the recipe.
This turkey and green bean stir-fry is outstanding with coconut rice. I love how the sweet and creamy coconut rice absorbs all the salty, umami flavours of the stir-fry. White rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, or rice noodles, would all be great options for a substantial, delicious meal.
If you’d like a salad to serve with the turkey stir-fry and rice, I almost always make an easy cucumber salad to serve alongside, or even some quick pickled red onions. Or, when tomatoes are in season, slice up a large platter and drizzle them generously with apple cider vinegar and olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Divine.
For something fun and less carb-y, tuck the stir-fry into lettuce cups – easy and delicious.
Storing And Reheating Tips
- Store: Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
- Freeze: The turkey and green bean stir-fry freezes well. Transfer the cooled stir-fry to freezer-safe containers or resealable freezer bags and freeze for up to 2-3 months.
- Reheat: To reheat, place the desired amount of stir-fry in a skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating. If the meat looks a bit dry, add a splash of water and soy sauce. Heat until the stir-fry is heated through.
More Ground Turkey Recipes To Try
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as avocado, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey, light or dark meat
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or honey, optional
- 8 ounces fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced, plus extra for garnish
- 1/4 cup soy sauce, plus more if needed
- 1 Tablespoon chili paste, such as Sambal Oelek (see notes)
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce (optional, see notes)
- 1/4 cup torn cilantro leaves, (or use all basil), plus more for garnish
- 5 or 6 mint leaves, roughly torn, plus more for garnish (optional)
- lime wedges, optional for serving
- Cooked coconut rice, optional for serving
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Once oil is hot, but not smoking, stir in the ground turkey and sugar (if using). Let it cook, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, start to break up the meat and continue cooking for about 5-6 minutes or until meat is very crumbly and no longer pink.
- Shove the turkey to one side of the pan and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the empty side. Tumble in the chopped green beans over the oil and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally and leaving them on the side that has no meat as much as possible.
- Add the garlic and scallions to the beans, cook for about 30 seconds then stir everything to combine the bean mixture with the turkey meat. Cook for 2 minutes more, or until beans have softened enough to have a pleasant bite (they will still be crunchy).
- Add the soy sauce, chili paste, fish sauce (if using), and all the herbs. Stir briefly to combine. Taste and sprinkle with more soy sauce or chilli paste, if needed.
- Top with extra herbs and scallions. Serve with rice and lime wedges on the side, if desired.