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Spicy Ground Turkey Pasta

This Spicy Ground Turkey Pasta is the perfect weeknight dinner — it’s so easy and so delicious!

spicy ground turkey pasta

I love spice. And because of this love, if you open my refrigerator and look on the door shelves, you’ll see a ridiculous variety of  different jars and bottles of various spice blends, sauces, and pastes. When I’m ready to cook, I unload this mass of ingredients onto my counter and I begin. This makes me sometimes think twice about making my favorite spicy dishes when I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.

But, now… things have gotten way easier…

I found my new spice blend obsession: Ayoba-Yo Spice Blend.  It’s a rare thing for me to be willing to give up my trusted spice jars, but this spice blend is so good that I’ve been able to streamline my cooking so much. This single jar is a blend of sea salt, coriander, worcestershire powder, and black pepper. And, it’s flavorful enough to use on it’s own without adding a ton of other ingredients.

As an aside, I should tell you that Ayoba-Yo makes amazing bags of Biltong (which is their version of jerky). It’s soft and spiced perfectly and really is the perfect on-the-go Paleo snack.

This Spicy Ground Turkey Pasta is so simple to make. I made it this past Saturday morning, stored it in the fridge, and then we ate it later for dinner. It’s so good!

I added some Asian flavors to this pasta, because that’s the mood I was in. The addition of ginger, rice vinegar, and aminos, really complements the spice blend. Yum.

It would be just as easy to customize this pasta with Mexican, Italian, or Indian flavors. So many pastas, so little time…

I used a grain-free chickpea pasta for this dish (see the recipe below for details). Sometimes when I do this, my family is not too happy (they like traditional pasta better), but because of the spice blend, nobody could tell it was chickpea pasta! This is the mark of an awesome recipe.

spicy ground turkey pasta

Serve this pasta with my favorite Caesar salad, and you’ll be smiling from ear to ear!

spicy ground turkey pasta

Here are some of the amazing healing ingredients in this recipe for Spicy Ground Turkey Pasta:

Turkey is a healthy meat. Make sure you buy organic turkey for the highest nutritional benefits. Recent research has shown turkey helps lower the risk of pancreatic cancer; however I did read some research that suggests that if you eat the skin along with the meat, some of this value is reduced, so don’t eat too much skin — this recipe uses ground turkey so it has no skin involved… Turkey also has a great protein-to-fat ratio, so it keeps you feeling full with less potential for weight gain. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B and selenium. And, in Chinese medicine, turkey is thought of as a qi-booster, so it can be good for low energy levels.

Coriander is the main ingredient of the Ayoba-Yo spice blend, and that’s a great thing because it’s so good for digestion.

Ginger is  a Chinese herb. In it’s raw form it’s called Sheng Jiang. This herb is especially good during cold weather months and also during seasonal changes. So, when winter is trying to turn into spring, and we (those of us on the east coast) get some of those cold, raw, damp days, ginger will make you feel better and will help boost your immune system. And, when summer is turning into fall, or fall is turning into winter,  those are great times to add ginger into your diet, to prevent those winter colds that seem to pop up often.

Ghee is a clarified butter that has had the milk solids removed and it is lactose free. And, it has the delicious taste of butter.  It has a high smoking point, and it doesn’t have to be refrigerated. I recommend buying organic ghee if possible. Ghee contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease.

spicy ground turkey pasta

Spicy Ground Turkey Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: grain-free, gluten-free, nut-free
Cuisine: pasta, meat, simple, Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This spicy ground turkey pasta is a great quick meal with tons of flavor and tons of health benefits.
Ingredients
  • 8-oz pasta (I used a grain-free chickpea pasta), cooked al dente, and drained
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling at the end
  • 1 Tbs Ayoba-Yo spice blend
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp date or coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbs ghee
  • fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 Tbs oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
  2. Add the meat, and stir, breaking up with a wooden spoon.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. When the meat is not pink any longer, add the Ayoba-Yo spice blend and the tomato paste, and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the ginger, sugar, vinegar, and aminos.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer 10 mins.
  7. Remove from heat, and stir in the ghee and the cooked pasta.
  8. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and enjoy!

spicy ground turkey pasta

Paleo Turkey Meatballs

Did you know that turkey can boost your energy…
paleo turkey meatballs

I’m of the belief that any meatball is a good meatball. It’s kind of like any pizza is a good pizza. There’s just something about food in the form of a bite-size round ball that makes it taste awesome. But, not every ball is a healthy ball. And if you are a paleo eater, it’s sometimes hard to find a meatball with great taste and great texture. Enter… these paleo turkey meatballs.

Im my house, meatballs are not reserved just for a plate of pasta. Although, I do love my grain-free pasta… But, my absolute fav way to eat them is atop a huge bowl of steaming veggies. My current obsession is a bowl of garlicky broccoli rabe topped with meatballs. I think I just drooled a little bit onto my computer as I’m typing.

Usually I like my balls with my homemade tomato sauce. But, since these are turkey balls, I thought I’d just go with the Thanksgiving theme and I made a pot of paleo gravy. This was awesome. (I will be posting that recipe soon.) Meatballs are so versatile… what’s not to like? You’ve gotta love a food that multi-tasks well.

These paleo turkey meatballs are amazing! Really! I mean it! They have the texture of old-fashioned delicious meatballs. And, the taste is terrific. When I was testing this recipe I made it several different ways and this one’s the winner. It has pancetta in it to up the taste even more. OMG, when I tell you that these are better than breadcrumb-laden beef meatballs, you just have to believe me…

Also, try my recipe for Vietnamese Meatballs.

paleo turkey meatballspaleo turkey meatballs

These meatballs have some great nutritional benefits:

Turkey is a healthy meat. Make sure you buy organic turkey for the highest nutritional benefits. Recent research has shown turkey helps lower the risk of pancreatic cancer; however I did read some research that suggests that if you eat the skin along with the meat, some of this value is reduced, so don’t eat too much skin — this recipe uses ground turkey so it has no skin involved… Turkey also has a great protein-to-fat ratio, so it keeps you feeling full with less potential for weight gain. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B and selenium. And, in Chinese medicine, turkey is thought of as a qi-booster, so it can be good for low energy levels.

Pork (this recipe uses pancetta) strengthens the digestive system, helps with constipation, and can moisten a dry cough and other dryness in the body. It’s also good to strengthen your qi and give you energy.

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; they actually can rid the body of bacteria. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!

Carrots help strengthen the organs in your body. They also are good for the eyes (this is their claim to fame) and they promote healthy digestion. Many moons ago, people used to make carrot tea to ward off measles and to prevent cancer. Carrots help detoxify the body and in today’s world of Chinese medicine, they are prescribed to ease constipation and
tonsillitis.

Parsley has been shown to reduce tumors in the lungs and to neutralize the effects of carcinogens, including cigarette smoke. It is high in vitamins A and C, and is good for your heart. This herb is also a natural breath freshener. So, if you have a chance to use more than a few sprigs as a garnish, go for it.

Tapioca is a starch that comes from the cassava plant. It’s not really a flour in the traditional sense; it’s grain and gluten free. It’s good for your circulation and your digestion. Oftentimes I will make recipes (like this one) with tapioca flour — it works as a great substitute in a lot of recipes that would otherwise include breadcrumbs.

paleo turkey meatballs

Paleo Turkey Meatballs
Author: 
Recipe type: meatballs, turkey, pork, main course, Italian
Cuisine: paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
These meatballs are better than any breadcrumb-laden balls you've had. They are healthy, taste amazing, and are easy! Try eating them on top of a bowl of steaming broccoli rabe instead of pasta... yum!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 med onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, cut into thirds
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
  • 2 oz finely diced pancetta
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Season the turkey with salt and pepper and place it in a large bowl.
  3. Put the onion and the carrot into a food processor and pulse until really finely minced/grated (alternatively you can do this by hand).
  4. Add the carrot mixture to the turkey in the bowl.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl.
  6. Mush it all up with your hands until combined.
  7. Form the mixture into balls the size of golf balls.
  8. Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake 15 minutes, then flip the balls over.
  10. Bake an additional 7 minutes, or until cooked through.
  11. Remove from oven and enjoy!

paleo turkey meatballs

Spicy Chickpea Turkey And Tomato Stew

This spicy chickpea turkey and tomato stew is so warming and healing!

Spicy Turkey, Chickpeas, And Spinach-9643

Why is it that a big pot of spicy stew makes me smile so much?

Do any of you feel the same way?

Whether it’s chili or hot and sour soup or a spicy meat and veggie concoction, just the smell of it makes me happy. Maybe that’s why a huge pot of chili is often on my stove. Or, maybe it’s because I love football and all of the traditional foods associated with the game.  I’m sure it’s partly because a big pot of simmering goodness is the perfect foil for my Chinese herbs.

But it’s mostly because it’s just so yummy! And warming! And filling!

Whatever the reason, this stew came together because I had a hankering for chili, but it wasn’t football Sunday. So, what’s a cook to do? Lots of times, I just make the chili anyway, but this day I felt like something a little different… more like stew I thought… or maybe a touch Moroccan… I just felt like taking regular chili to another level… a little more gourmet if you will (does that sound too snooty???). Since I was only cooking for a few people instead of a regular big football crowd, I figured I’d experiment. And a successful experiment it was!

I love cooking down the aromatic ingredients and then shoving (literally shoving) as many leafy greens as I can into the pot and watching them melt into the gooey goodness in the pot…

Spicy Turkey, Chickpeas, And Spinach (spinach)-9583

“Pots of stuff” or “stews” are great because you can add in whatever you like and whatever your body needs at that point in time. Here’s some of what I put in this gorgeous pot:

Turkey is a healthy meat. Make sure you buy organic, pasture-raised turkey for the highest nutritional benefits. Recent research has shown turkey helps lower the risk of pancreatic cancer; however I did read some research that suggests that if you eat the skin along with the meat, some of this value is reduced, so don’t eat too much skin — this recipe uses ground turkey so it has no skin involved… Turkey also has a great protein-to-fat ratio, so it keeps you feeling full with less potential for weight gain. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B and selenium.

In my acupuncture practice, some of my favorite conditions to treat are stress, anxiety, and depression. I’m also always looking for foods that will add to the effectiveness of these treatments. Chickpeas actually help calm the spirit. They relieve anxiety and soothe irritability… it kind of makes you realize why hummus is so popular…

Most people think of Popeye (am I dating myself??) and iron when they think of spinach. It is true that spinach contains iron, but it’s this vegetable’s lesser-known qualities that really hold my admiration. Spinach contains a substance that helps eliminate prostate cancer. It’s also great for your bones and also for memory loss. Diabetic patients may find that eating spinach helps combat excessive thirst and can even be good for night blindness. Spinach can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium, so calcium-rich foods should be avoided when eating this leafy green.

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections. This recipe has canned chopped tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes — double whammy!

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; the onion can actually draw the toxins out of the body!

Chili powder is rich in vitamins A and C and also in essential minerals. Spicy pepper is one of the most nutritious spices available. Consuming small amounts gives you a great source of potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium. Spicy peppers have been shown to ease the pain of arthritis and muscle soreness.

Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric.

I love to add my Chinese herbs to anything that simmers on the stove for awhile. This time I added some Bai Shao. Bai Shao is white peony root and it’s great for yin deficiency (think menopausal symptoms…). If you want more info on this herb, just ask…

Spicy Turkey, Chickpeas, And Spinach (pot)-9633

 

Spicy Chickpea, Turkey, And Tomato Pot
Author: 
Recipe type: stew, chili, one-pot meal
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ground turkey, chickpeas, and spinach cook in an amazing, spicy tomato sauce... so warming!
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric (just found this one-- I'm buying it for next time!)
  • ½ tsp (or more if you like more spice) chipotle chili powder (here's one I use a lot)
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika (this one sounds good - let's try it!)
  • 20 oz canned chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup sliced sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 5 oz baby spinach
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute 2-minutes.
  2. Add the turkey, season with salt and pepper, and stir for about 3 minutes, or until it is starting to get some color.
  3. Add chili powders, turmeric, and smoked paprika. Cook, stirring, until no longer pink.
  4. Pour in canned tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes.
  5. Add chickpeas and bring pot to a boil, then reduce heat to low and add the spinach. Let the spinach wilt and stir until it is all well combined.
  6. Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes or until it's hot and smelling amazing.
  7. Ladle into bowls. Enjoy!