by Olena

Ground Turkey Quinoa Casserole

by Olena

4.9 from 25 reviews

Ground Turkey Casserole

Ground Turkey Casserole

If you have lots of leftover quinoa and ground turkey in the freezer, this ground turkey casserole with a giant pack of baby spinach is for you! Some of my favorite casseroles are made with quinoa: black bean quinoa casserole and spinach artichoke quinoa casserole.

Quinoa is a queen of healthy whole grains, full of complete protein and contains all essential amino acids. Treat it like rice but quinoa is even better. Simply just because it is ready in 12 minutes.

I originally posted this healthy ground turkey casserole 4 years ago while visiting my mom’s farm. Over the years, I made it over tens times receiving rave reviews. So more appetizing photos were in order.

How to Make Healthy Ground Turkey Casserole and Tips

Ground Turkey Casserole Ingredients healthy ground turkey casserole

Cook quinoa as per package instructions undercooking by 4 minutes. In my world, it means 8 minutes cooking time, with a clean up afterwards.

ground turkey for ground turkey quinoa

Sauté ground turkey for 5 minutes, breaking into pieces with spatula while stirring. I used ground venison because I already had it on hand. You can also use ground buffalo, chicken, pork or beef.

onion for ground turkey and quinoa

Then you want to pan fry dried herbs in a bit of oil first, to help release their flavors. Afterwards, add garlic and onions, and cook until translucent and fragrant.

Ground Turkey and Spinach

Don’t be afraid to throw as much spinach as you want because it shrinks like crazy – I used a giant standard 11 oz pack of baby spinach. Load it up with iron, vitamins A, K, C, E , calcium and cancer fighting abilities.

Tip: if your kids are not spinach eaters, replace it with broccoli, green peas or any other green vegetables they like.

ground turkey casserole recipe

Mix everything together in a giant bowl, dump into baking dish and level (do not press or tap). Sprinkle with cheese and bake uncovered for 25 minutes. That’s it!

Garnishing with diced tomatoes and green onions is optional. My kids loved it! This ground turkey and quinoa bake came out extremely juicy and right amount cheesy. It tasted even better next day.

Can I Freeze It?

Yes. Got a friend who just had a baby? You are having a baby? This casserole is perfect for freezing.

To freeze casserole: assemble, tightly wrap with plastic and then foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and bake as per instructions + 15 minutes.

Is It a Make Ahead Casserole?

Absolutely. Assemble, cover with plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bake as per instructions. It tastes fresh no matter what you do. very hard to ruin this recipe.:)

Ground Turkey Casserole

Hungry for More Ground Turkey Casserole Recipes?

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Ground Turkey Quinoa Casserole

4.9 from 25 reviews

This Healthy Ground Turkey Casserole is a budget friendly crowd pleaser. Perfect to use up leftover quinoa, freeze and make ahead.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American Ukrainian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 11 oz package baby spinach
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 3 cups cheddar or mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tsp basil, dried
  • 1/4 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or coconut oil
  • Cooking spray (I use Misto)
  • Green onions and diced tomatoes, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa as per package instructions undercooking by 4 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees and spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Preheat large non-stick skillet on medium heat and add ground turkey. Saute for 5 minutes, breaking into pieces with spatula while stirring. Transfer to the bowl with quinoa.
  3. Return skillet to medium heat and swirl 1 tbsp of oil to coat. Add dried basil and thyme, saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add garlic and onion, saute until golden brown. Add spinach in batches while stirring, and cook until it’s wilted. Transfer to a bowl with quinoa and turkey, along with tomato sauce, bread crumbs, 2 cups of cheese, salt and ground pepper. Stir just enough to combine.
  4. Transfer mixture into a baking dish, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese and bake uncovered for 25 minutes.
  5. Cut into 8 pieces. Serve immediately garnished with tomatoes and green onions, no need to let casserole cool down.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

Freeze: Assemble, tightly wrap with plastic and then foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and bake as per instructions + 15 minutes.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

148 comments on “Ground Turkey Quinoa Casserole

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  1. Easy and very good. That’s a winner for me! Added bonus of finding a great recipe for quinoa and ground turkey. Sometimes those two can be a little dull to eat. This was not. I also just used what I had in the pantry. Used Italian seasoned turkey which my son accidentally bought and Italian seasoned breadcrumbs. I did not add anymore spice and it was delicious. I love it’s versatility.

  2. Even though my hubs didn’t love it that just meant there was more for me! This was so yummy and one of those meals that you feel better after, stronger and healthier (even with the cheese).

  3. Man, this was sooooo good! It’ll get added to the rotation. Any recipe that gets my husband to eat quinoa is a bonus!

    There’s just the two of us, so we cut the recipe in half, but still used a 14oz can of the tomato sauce. It was a perfect balance. Looking forward to the leftovers!

  4. I haven’t made it yet, but was wondering if you thought it would be okay if I only added 1 cup of cheese to the mix and then maybe .75-1 at most on top. 3 cups of cheese just seems like a lot and given that my husband will probably eat 1/4 of it in one sitting I wouldn’t mind lightening it up a bit 🙂

  5. I love this recipe! I added chopped bell peppers. The whole family loves it and it is so healthy and made with real food. A keeper for sure!!!

  6. I made this tonight for our family of 5 and it was a big hit which is hard to do here! I cook with ground turkey often so it was great to find a new recipe.

    1. I am so happy to hear that this was a hit with your family Annette! Don’t forget to check out some of my other ground turkey recipes 🙂

  7. Delicious. Very substantial, good for a crowd, freezes well. I have used Parmesan as part of the cheese mix so cut the overall amount as it has a stronger flavour and substituted crushed tomatoes when i have no tomato sauce.
    I feel like a broken record when I type these reviews as i’m always saying the same things about your recipes. It’s to your credit, Olena, I think you are simply a very good cook, your recipes are well-tested and therefore produce consistently excellent results.

    1. Connie! Thank you so much for your positive feedback about my recipes. I am so happy that you are enjoying cooking them!

  8. I’m a firefighter in Georgia, and this is a firehouse (and personal) favorite now! Packed full of protein, good carbs. My wife loves this too, and that’s always a win. 5 stars for taste and ease of cooking! I’ve made it 4 times so far, and it’s in the oven right now. This time I’m trying ground venison (the stores were out of ground turkey because of the 2020 events panic).

    1. Since the stores were out of stock of a lot of the ingredients I needed, I used green peppers instead of spinach, red onion instead of yellow onion, and tomato paste instead of tomato sauce. I’ll let you know how it turned out!

    2. Hi Joseph! It made my day reading that this recipe has become a firehouse favourite! Let me know how it turns out with the venison.

  9. I’ve made this dish several times and I have to say, it has been absolutely delicious and taken my family by surprise with this recipe!

  10. Hi,
    What size pan do you use? I was to make a really big casserole ( somewhat larger and deeper than a 9X13.
    Thanks!

  11. I made this last night and it was SO incredible! I somehow skipped the part to mix In the cheese (used 3 cheddar bagged blend) and instead put it all on the top but it was still really good. My husband said this was one of his favorite healthy meals. Perfect for someone like me who isn’t a pro in the kitchen :).

  12. So sorry to bother you, I must have missed something. I erased my original recipe in MyFitness pal and started from scratch. Your calorie count is spot on! Looking forward to making your recipe. Thanks for your reply, sorry again and have a good day!

  13. Oops, I forgot to mention that I halved the recipe, so I dropped the cheese from 1.5 cups to 1 cup. Everything I simply cut in half and looked up in MyFitnessPal and compared that to actual nutrition labels from my local grocery store.

  14. Hi! Would love to try this recipe because it sounds delicious. I’m having trouble figuring out the calorie count though. I substituted Panko for the bread crumbs, diced tomatoes for the tomtato sauce, low fat shredded cheese and Jennie-o extra lean (99%) ground turkey. I even dropped the cheese down to 1 cup and I’m still over 520 calories per serving in my nutrition app (app is MyFitnessPal, and all the nutritional info looks accurate with nutrition labels, and left everything else in the recipe the the same). Oh, and I’m gonna use full circle quinoa. Am I missing something? Any help you can provide would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    1. I am not sure why. We use Nutrifox. Also it’s just for info purposes as we don’t calorie count but rather encourage wholesome ingredients in real life.

  15. Very good!I halved the recipe and uses diced tomatoes instead of sauce and panko instead of bread crumbs. I used spray instead of oil. This brought the calories down significantly.

  16. Hi Olena, my name is patty and I was wondering how I would figure out the servings because I have to have a low fat low sodium diet. I had a heart attack in February. What are the actual servings for the Ground Turkey Quinoa Casserole ? thank you so much.

  17. Super good. I was concerned about the moisture level upon putting it in the dish to bake, but it turned out perfectly!

  18. I absolutely LOVE this recipe! I was never a fan of spinach, but in this, it’s almost my favorite part! I did add more tomato sauce and garlic than the recipe calls for, but it’s amazing. Also, I calculated the WW Smartpoints after I made it and I came up with 14 points rather than 7 but who knows.

  19. I bought quinoa (tricolor) for the first time. I already had ground turkey so I looked for a recipe with both and this one came up. Note l halved all of the original ingredients. I cooked the quinoa with some chicken broth, sautéed onions, red, yellow and orange peppers and added the ground turkey. Added chopped spinach and garlic. Once everything was cooked I added the quinoa to the Sautee. Added cumin, sage, basil, oregano and Adobo to taste; a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and Jack and cheddar cheese.
    Put in oven 20 minutes.
    Pretty tasty!

    1. This was a hit in my family! I adopted some of Tracy’s adds too! Next time I will try the fire-roasted tomatoes and vegan cheese for a non-dairy option.

      Olena, I will certainly keep this recipe on hand for social-distancing gatherings! I can’t wait to try your other turkey recipies too.

  20. It looks yummy but the picture sure looks like there are red and yellow peppers in it but no mention in the recipe…?

  21. This is the first recipe I have tried. Your instructions are clear and easy to follow except I am a gong show. So I did things like forget to pick up tomato sauce and not realize that until I needed it so had to borrow a jar of spaghetti sauce from my mother-in-law who lives in our basement suite. Then after going to get it I forget to add it so I had to scrape all the cheese off the top put it all back in the bowl to add the sauce then reassembled it all back again. I used the Tex mex shredded cheese because I had that already and made my own bread crumbs so there’s that. #thestruggleisreal. Anyways aside from my poor “just follow instruction skills” it turned out amazing! I can’t wait to try another one. I want to make the salad you made at the bbq on Monday are they on your site?

  22. This is a great, easy recipe. I halved it and it still made a full 9×9 pan. I added broccoli and peas. I found it a little under-seasoned so next time I will add more spices.

  23. Festive and fun! Looked like it was going to be dry but not at all! Can’t wait to try the left overs tomorrow morning with a fried egg on top!

  24. So delicious and easy to make and I love the fact that is is so healthy! I make it very frequently and it’s always a hit!

  25. Looking forward to making this tonight, trying to get my husband to eat more quinoa. Is that red and yellow bell pepper on top? I only saw tomatos and green onion as a garnish in the recipe

      1. Ah ok, the tomato was an amazing garniah with the green onions. We loved it! I will give a five star. We used turkey italian sausage (ground) by accident but it still was really yummy. May use a quarter less quinoa next time. Great though! Thank you

  26. Tried this today, it’s delicious! Instead of tomato sauce, I used diced tomatoes and didn’t use breadcrumbs. Turned out great! Thanks for the recipe, it’s my family’s new favorite.

  27. yes! I love this one too!! it is glorious! I tried cooking this to my family once! they really enjoyed it!

  28. This is an amazing recipe, I actually made it last November, (three months ago) and froze an extra casserole for later which we had tonight. I made a simple mushroom gravy and served that overtop and it was better than the first time. This is a great recipe to freeze. Thank you.

  29. I made this for dinner tonight and it was AMAZING! I am so pleased with how satisfying and comforting this meal was while still being so healthy! Thank you for introducing this delicious recipe into my home. Can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow 🙂

  30. First time eating quinoa, and it was amazing! My husband and I loved it. I added celery and celery leaves to the garlic and onion, soooo good. Thank you! Definitely a new favorite!

  31. I made this today, and it turned out great! I cut the recipe in half for my family of three, and it should last us for just about three days. I will definitely be making this again.

  32. Love this recipe! Our daughter introduced it to us and we’ve been making it ever since! Curious: Have you ever added diced tomatoes to mix? I accidentally opened a can of diced tomatoes instead of sauce and wondered if I should add it along with the sauce or if that would be “gross”?!! What do you think? Thank you!

    1. Hi Teresa. If you mix both sauce and diced tomatoes it will be fine. Diced tomatoes alone would make this dish less creamy and more bland. You know what I mean? You can add diced tomatoes to any soup you make soon.:)

  33. When you say 2 cups dry quinoa that says to me 2 cups of uncooked quinoa. But this makes a ridiculous amount of food, did not fit into a 9×13. Am I reading this wrong?

    1. You are reading it right. You can cut recipe in half or freeze leftovers. Your dish must be not 9×13 or not deep enough. 9×13 is quite a large dish. Haha, this ridiculous amount of food is gone in my house in 1.5 meals. I envy you.:)

  34. Hi there 🙂 I made this recipe tonight…wow that was yummy!!! I thought I bought turkey chop meat..it was chicken, still came out great! Ty Ty Ty
    I also follow we and love the fact that you put the points plus values. Plenty leftover and froze some too!!?

  35. This is so delicious! I love it more than anything. And I love that it makes enough to freeze portions for my lunches! Thanks for this great idea! ( We love to sprinkle Franks’s hot sauce on top)

  36. Delish!! I added zuccini, brocolli, carrots and green peas. I didn’t have any fresh spinach so I used 2 frozen packs instead. I also doubled the tomato sauce and added 3 cans of diced tomatoes. Very tasty and lots of leftovers!!

  37. I made this recipe tonight maybe I did something wrong but it turned out like mush and looked like dog food? It’s in the oven Im hoping it tastes better than it looks lol

  38. Made this — added zucchini but otherwise followed the recipe to a T and it was delicious! I made it for my son but I may have eaten most of it…

  39. Hi! have just made this without breadcrumbs and was about to bake but thought I’d quickly post and see if the breadcrumbs are necessary for some reason, thanks!

  40. oh my, this sounds wonderful. It contains all the things I love and I’ve been looking for more interesting dishes to use quinoa in. I’m looking forward to trying it!

  41. I have really bad GERD so all tomato products are out of the question 🙁 Do you think there would be anything I could substitute for the tomato sauce?

    1. You can try any organic canned soup. Amy’s or Pacific Foods have a good selection. I’m thinking mushroom, chicken or butternut squash soup will be great.

  42. I made a slightly altered version of this tonight and really enjoyed it–though I’m sure I would have loved the original, too. However, I have a kid who really doesn’t like quinoa, so I used an 8 oz. package of farro instead (cooked per package instructions); also, I had leftover roast turkey that needed to be used so I replaced the browned ground turkey with diced roast turkey. Thank you for a delicious dinner! We’ll certainly make it again, I hope eventually with ground turkey and quinoa! 🙂

    1. Greek yogurt wouldn’t work. You can skip cheese completely but then add a bit more of dried herb spices to compensate for lost flavours. Or you can use cheese alternatives, there are plenty.

  43. I made this tonight and we really enjoyed it. It was great that I could prep it all last night and then just stick the casserole pan in the oven when I got home from work. I’m going to be blogging about this recipe soon!

  44. My Parents hunt & we’ve got quite a bit of Ground Venison in our Freezer. Could you do a swap out of it w/the Ground Turkey? It would certainly help from hearing, yet again, Mom say to me “Do you know how expensive that is!?!” Ever since being diagnosed Gluten Sensitive at the very least this past year, that sentence gets said at least twice a week by her. I see these blogs where people they have no idea where they’d be w/out the support of their Family after their Gluten Intolerance diagnosis and I wonder what that’s like. I mean, it’s not like I’m doing this to her on purpose or have any choice in the matter, but for some reason…

    Anyway, please let know if that swap can be done? Thanks!!

  45. Yay! Pinned this about a month ago – tried it tonight! EVERYONE liked it!! (Includes an 8 & 11 year old!!) SO happy! Thank you! I added some red peppers for color (& because I had them) Other than that, stuck to recipe – yum!

  46. I was looking for a new recipe that I could use quinoa with. This look delicious! And I love that you added the WW Points Plus on there. So helpful! DEFINITELY trying tonight. 🙂

  47. I’ll be honest – as I was preparing this dish, I was getting a little worried. It looked mushy and I thought I had gotten the proportions off.

    HOWEVER, this casserole is amazing! I am so, so pleased and so excited to have found it. I added some red pepper flakes, and then garnished with diced tomatoes with habanero peppers for a kick. Yum, yum, yum! Glad I’ll have leftovers for a while. 🙂

    Thank you, Olena! I’ll definitely be back for more recipes. 🙂

    1. Haha, I always appreciate the honesty. I never get offended because we all have different tastebuds. Glad you liked it! And yes, I cook in big portions.:) You can always freeze too.

    1. You can use gluten free breadcrumbs, coarsely ground gluten free oats or ground rice crackers instead of regular breadcrumbs.

  48. I tried this recipe with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and it was wonderful! I am an oncology nurse navigator and in our clinic’s monthly newsletter I like to put one healthy recipe for our cancer patients to try. May I have your permission to use this recipe?

  49. Just made this it was the best! Had such a different but good taste! Made me fill full without filling weighed down can’t wait to makw this for special occasions!

    1. Breadcrumbs soak up the liquid and cheese helps to hold the casserole together. It will work out without these 2, just won’t taste the same or be holding together. Still should be good.:)

    1. Mix some tomato paste and diced fresh tomatoes with boiling water to bring it to 2 cups. It will kind of be the same consistency as tomato sauce. Or as an alternative, puree in a food processor some tomatoes with the paste. The paste will thicken the tomato juice.

  50. I really enjoyed the flavour of this dish. The texture was
    a bit homogeneous and mushy for my husband. Next time I will break
    it up more by adding vegetables (maybe broccoli) throughout. I
    halved the recipe and it filled an 8×10 casserole dish. Adding
    tomatoes to the top was delish.

  51. Looks amazing!! I’ve question though, when you undercook the quinoa, do you drain the excess water first, or leave it in with the other ingredients? Can’t wait to try it, thanks!!

    1. You undercook quinoa by a few minutes, so it is al dente, a bit hard. There will be no water left, maybe just a tiny bit at the bottom. The grain should absorb all water, it just won’t expand that much if you cooked it all the way. But in case you have some water left, just drain it. I always cook my quinoa 1:1.25 ratio, not 1:2. You can do that. Guarantee, there will be no water left.:)

  52. I have two packages of ground turkey breast sitting in my
    freezer. Didn’t know what to do with it. I think I just found my
    answer 😉

  53. Just made this & even without the garlic, onion, & spices, it was delish, so with these I can’t even imagine! This’ll be a regular in my home!

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