Moroccan Turkey Breast and Lentils (Slow Cooker Recipe)

4.67 from 3 votes
16 hours 15 minutes
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Slow-Cooker Moroccan Turkey Breast and Lentils is a delicious way to put an exotic twist on turkey!  Perfect for the holidays or an easy dinner any night of the week and any time of year!  Serve Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes for dessert!

Photo of Slow Cooker Moroccan Turkey and Lentils on gray-rimmed platter garnished with cilantro and lemon wedges with gray napkin.

I LOVE a traditional Thanksgiving.  However, I’ve also stressed and practically made myself crazy over getting everything done on time.

If you’re not much into the big traditional Thanksgiving with the big old bird, this super-easy recipe for Slow Cooker Moroccan Turkey and Lentils is one you can get marinating the day before, then simply pop it into a slow-cooker, go watch some football and ENJOY your day off.

What is chermoula?

Slow-Cooker Moroccan Turkey and Lentils start with a chermoula marinade.  Chermoula (sometimes spelled charmoula) is a traditional Moroccan sauce.  It’s pronounced “SHARE-moo-lah.”

You’ll see two different types:  A green herb-based sauce and another spice-based (heavy on the paprika) such as the one I used.

Cooks in North Africa use this herbaceous sauce to marinate fish and to dress cooked vegetables.  The ingredients vary by the cook and by the region, but it typically contains cilantro, flat-leafed parsley, lemon, garlic, cumin, paprika and either fresh or dried chiles.

Photo of marinade for turkey in glass bowl.

How to make Slow-Cooker Moroccan Turkey and Lentils:

  • Mix up the marinade, add the turkey and refrigerate for 24 hours.  Afterward, drain off some of the olive oil so your dish doesn’t end up too oily.
  • When working with lentils, be sure to look them over carefully for any sticks, stones or odd-looking dried-up misfit-looking lentils.  Not good and not good for your teeth!
  • There are many different types of lentils.  I used green lentils here.  They take longer to cook than regular brown lentils but they’re perfect for a slow-cooker.  If using brown, you may end up with a brownish “sauce” instead of a lentil dish.

Photo of a jar of brown lentils with some scattered on surface.

  • Add the tomatoes near the end of the cooking process.  Dried legumes such as lentils or beans do not like salt and acid.  (Tomatoes are acidic.)  While there is a little bit of salt and acid in the marinade, it’s not very much and much will drain out when you drain out the oil.

Photo of Slow Cooker Moroccan Turkey and Lentils in slow cooker after being cooked.

  • Allow the turkey breast to rest a little before slicing.  Add some cilantro springs and some fresh lemon slices and WHOA!

Delicious!  Easy!  Slow-Cooker Moroccan Turkey and Lentils.  AND…. you’re able to watch football all day!

Close-up photo of Slow Cooker Moroccan Turkey and Lentils on gray-rimmed platter garnished with cilantro and lemon wedges.

For more easy turkey recipes perfect for a small-scale Thanksgiving, be sure to check out:

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Slow Cooker Moroccan Turkey and Lentils on oval gray-rimmed platter garnished with lemon wedges.

Moroccan Turkey Breast and Lentils (Slow Cooker Recipe)

4.67 from 3 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef's Kitchen
Slow Cooker Moroccan Turkey Breast and Lentils is a delicious way to puts an exotic twist on turkey! Perfect for the holidays or an easy dinner any night of the week and any time of year!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Additional Time 12 hours
Total Time 16 hours 15 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings 4
Calories 460 kcal



  • 1 large onion - finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt - plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large lemon - juiced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Turkey and Lentils

  • 1 (2-pound) boneless skinless turkey breast half
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (15-ounce) diced tomatoes - undrained
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro - plus more for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • Lemon wedges



  • Combine marinade ingredients in a 1-gallon zipper-top bag. Add the turkey breast half and massage the bag to distribute the marinade evenly over the turkey breast. Refrigerate overnight.

Turkey and Lentils

  • Spray the insert of the slow-cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Remove the turkey breast from the marinade and place it in the slow-cooker.
  • Drain the excess oil from the marinade through a sieve and discard. Place remaining marinade ingredients in the slow-cooker around the turkey breast.
  • Add the lentils and chicken broth. Cover and cook for 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW.
  • When the turkey and lentils have about a half-hour to go when cooking on HIGH or an hour to go on LOW, stir in the tomatoes.
  • When finished, remove the turkey breast and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Remove bay leaves. Add cilantro to the lentils and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  • Serve turkey sliced on a platter over the lentils, garnished with cilantro sprigs and lemon wedges.


MAKE AHEAD:  Can be made 1 day ahead of time.  Reheat in the slow cooker or in a 350-degree oven until heated through.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1056mg | Potassium: 789mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1755IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 6mg

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.

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    1. Thanks, Stine! He is recovering physically, but the accident has taken it’s toll on this spirits. He’s such an active guy that it’s tough being housebound for him. Thank you again!

  1. Oh wow, definitely a lot to be thankful for this year- so glad to hear your family is recovering! I’m all about a traditional Thanksgiving, but also LOVE the idea of dishes like this one!!