Eating with a plant-forward focus is my main food mission, and I try and slip in veggies at every meal and snack. Recently, my body has been craving more meat in my diet and, for me, that means integrating wild salmon, chicken, and turkey. When I do add these animal proteins into my meals, I always try and purchase the best option available, which means grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone-free, and humanely raised products. These turkey taco bowls allow me to get my turkey fix, yet continue to place priority on fresh, nutrient-rich vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
A huge reason why I am craving more meat in my diet is that..... I am having a kid! I am approaching my third trimester and have noticed, at times, a strong inclination for more animal protein. Protein needs increase in pregnancy and, instead of trying to find alternative ways to compensate, I have started cooking more meals containing animal protein. To be totally transparent, it has not always been an easy decision, and sometimes I feel guilty about eating animal protein. Yet, I having been trying my best to listen to what my body is telling me and to focus on a healthy pregnancy.
If you want to make this recipe without the turkey, I recommend subbing in lentils and chopped walnuts for the turkey as a meat alternative. What I love about this dish is that it is not only very satisfying and flavorful, but it also comes together quickly and adds an interactive element to dinner. If one person doesn't fancy cabbage or beans, they can omit them and build their own completely customized taco bowl or lettuce cup.
turkey taco lettuce cups
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sized white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound ground dark meat turkey
Sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked long grain brown rice
2 cups cooked pinto or black beans (canned beans work, just rinse the beans well)
1 head Boston or butter lettuce, leaves separated
1/4 head of purple cabbage, shredded
Garnishes: lime wedges, pico de gallo/salsa, sliced avocado. cilantro, radish
In a medium sized dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, and tomato paste, toasting the spices and blending the aromatics. Add the turkey, a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until browned and turkey is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.
While the turkey cooks, prep your garnishes. Shred the cabbage, slice the limes, avocado, and radish, clean and separate the cilantro. Warm your rice and beans, if cooked in advance.
To serve, place a few pieces of lettuce on your plate and scoop a hefty tablespoon each of rice and beans, followed by turkey. Top with cabbage, pico de gallo, avocado, fresh lime juice and additional garnishes, if you wish.