Say goodbye to boring ground turkey with Cuban-Style Turkey Picadillo with Sweet Potatoes! This super-flavorful skillet dinner is a healthy budget-friendly meal that’s ready in about an hour so it’s perfect for a weeknight.
(Update to a post originally published 1-7-21.)
Why This Recipe is a Keeper!
Ground turkey in place of ground beef is a healthier choice when you’re trying to make improvements to your diet. However, it’s easy to get bored with it because of its lean nature.
That’s one of the reasons we love this Cuban-Style Turkey Picadillo with Sweet Potatoes!
More reasons we love it are:
- It’s an easy dish to pull together with only a few fresh and raw ingredients plus pantry ingredients that you probably already have on hand.
- It’s budget-friendly!
- It’s prepared in one skillet.
- All you need is a green vegetable or salad for a well-balanced hearty yet healthy meal.
- It’s ready in about an hour.
- It’s super-flavorful!
What is Picadillo?
Picadillo is a traditional Latin American dish that’s typically made with ground meat, tomatoes or a tomato sauce, raisins and olives and other ingredients that vary by region. The name means “to mince” which is picar in Spanish.
Picadillo is also prevalent in the Philippines. In Mexico, picadillo is often used as a taco filling and in some countries, as a savory filling for pastries.
For more information, here’s a complete rundown on everything picadillo including Cuban-style picadillo at Wikipedia.
Fresh and Raw Ingredients:
- Ground Turkey: You can use either all-white ground turkey, a blend or dark meat turkey. All-white ground turkey is going to be much lower in fat while a blend or dark meat will have more fat but it also has more flavor. You can also use ground chicken or beef.
- Dry White Wine: When cooking with wine, always use a wine you would drink. If you prefer to not use wine, add additional broth. Or, make a white wine substitute with ½ cup water and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar. Any alcohol that remains in white wine vinegar is a trace amount.
- Mexican Oregano: Mexican oregano has an earthy flavor with citrus undertones and is a staple in Mexican cooking. Turkish or Greek oregano that you may be most familiar with is not a good substitute as that oregano has minty undertones. These two types of oregano share a name but that about it.
- Capers: Capers are the green, unripened flower buds of the caper bush. They’re available near the pickled products section.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan or skillet and cook the onions and peppers until softened.
- Add the ground turkey and cook until it’s no longer pink.
- Add the white wine and bring to a boil.
- Let that cook down until it’s almost evaporated.
- Add the spices, chicken broth, tomatoes, raisins and sweet potatoes.
- Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
- Add the olives, capers, red wine vinegar if needed and crushed red pepper flakes for a little more spark if desired.
- And that’s it!
- Garnish with cilantro if desired.
Chef Tips and Tricks:
- When I make this turkey picadillo for personal chef clients, I undercook the potatoes by a few minutes and leave it a bit more “saucy.” If the client freezes it, the slightly undercooked sweet potatoes will have more “staying” power in the freezer.
- Cumin is a staple in Cuban cuisine. To bump up the flavor of ground cumin, lightly toast it in a dry nonstick skillet before using. This method works with a lot of dried, ground spices.
- To save time, used presliced green olives. They won’t look as uniform or pretty as slicing them yourself, but you’ll cut prep time.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Absolutely! In fact, regular white potatoes are traditionally used in Cuban picadillo. Sweet potatoes add nutrition.
Cuban-style picadillo is traditionally served with black beans and rice. However, we prefer a salad or green vegetable because of the addition of the sweet potatoes so extra starch isn’t necessary.
Yes! Get everything prepped for the Cuban Turkey Picadillo to the point of simmering then cool and refrigerate for next-day slow cooking or transfer to a slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 6-8 hours. Add the olives, capers and red wine vinegar before serving. Remove the bay leaf.
More healthy ground turkey recipes you’ll love!
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Cuban-Style Turkey Picadillo with Sweet Potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper chopped
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- ½ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano preferably Mexican
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 large bay leaf
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 can (14.5-ounce) diced fire-roasted tomatoes undrained
- 1 medium sweet potato peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ½ cup sliced green olives with pimento
- 1 tablespoon capers
- Splash of red wine vinegar or to taste if needed
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saute pan.
- Add the onion, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 4-5 minutes or until beginning to soften.
- Add the green bell pepper and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften.
- Add the ground turkey. Increase heat to medium-high and brown well, breaking up the meat into small pieces as you go until no longer pink.
- Add the salt, garlic, oregano, cumin and bay leaf. Stir to coat the turkey evenly with the seasonings.
- Add the wine. Bring to a boil and cook until the wine is almost evaporated.
- Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and raisins.
- Simmer 20-25 minutes or until liquid has reduced and sweet potatoes are tender.
- Add the olives, capers and heat through.
- Taste and add red wine vinegar if needed.
- Remove bay leaf.
- Add crushed red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper if desired.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.