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Kalyn's Kitchen

Ground Turkey and Bean Stew with Cumin, Green Chiles, and Cilantro

This Ground Turkey and Bean Stew with Cumin, Green Chiles, and Cilantro has pinto beans and it’s thickened with refried beans, and this tasty stew is low-glycemic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and South Beach Diet friendly! Use Stew Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

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Ground Turkey and Bean Stew with Cumin, Green Chiles, and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

A reader named Katherine from Sacramento sent me the link to green chile chicken and pink bean stew that inspired this Ground Turkey and Bean Stew with Cumin, Green Chiles, and Cilantro. And of course, I had to change it up a bit when I tried the recipe!

I used ground turkey instead of chicken thighs, and Rancho Gordo Yellow Indian Woman Beans instead of pink beans, but I kept the generous amount of garlic, cumin, and diced green chiles from the original recipe. I also added a can of refried beans to thicken the stew, and although it ended up being not not overly photogenic, this turned out to be the kind of comforting stew I’d love to have in the freezer for a quick dinner. Don’t skip the lime wedges for serving this; they’re the perfect finishing touch.

Ground Turkey and Bean Stew with Cumin, Green Chiles, and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

You can use 2 cans of pinto beans if you prefer, but I cooked the beans in the slow cooker and used three cups of them to make this soup. Brown 2 lbs. of ground turkey very well. It will take 12-15 minutes to get nicely browned turkey, so don’t rush this step. Then push the ground turkey over to the side of the pan, add a little more olive oil, and brown the onions.

When onions are lightly browned, add garlic and ground cumin, mix the onions with the turkey, and cook for 2-3 minutes more.  Add the chiles and 3 cups cooked beans. Add 3 cups chicken stock, reduce heat to very low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring a few times. At this point I wanted a thicker stew, so I decided to add a can of refried beans. I mixed the refried beans with 1/4 cup of water to thin it for easier mixing into the stew.

I stirred in the refried beans, then simmered the stew about 25 minutes more on low. Then I added about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and simmered the stew about 5 minutes more. Serve hot, with pieces of lime to squeeze into the finished stew.

More Bean Stew Recipes to Try:

Slow Cooker Cowboy Pinto Bean Stew from The Food Charlatan
Pressure Cooker Pinto Bean and Ground Beef Stew with Cumin and Cilantro from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Brazilian Black Bean Stew with Roasted Sweet Potatoes from Foodie with Family
Slow Cooker Kielbasa and White Bean Stew from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Pueblo Vegetable Stew from The Perfect Pantry

Ground Turkey and Bean Stew with Cumin, Green Chiles, and Cilantro

This Ground Turkey and Bean Stew with Cumin, Green Chiles, and Cilantro is perfect for a cold day!


  • 2 T + 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey (use turkey with less than 10% fat for the South Beach Diet)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, to season ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 cups cooked pink beans or pinto beans (3 cups = 2 cans)
  • 2 cans (4 oz.) diced green Anaheim chiles
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or use 2 cans chicken broth)
  • 1 can (16 oz.) refried pinto beans
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or more)
  • sliced lime wedges, for serving


  1. Heat the 2 T olive oil in a heavy frying pan with high sides, add ground turkey, season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and cook over medium heat until the turkey is well browned. This will take 12-15 minutes; don’t rush the browning step.
  2. While turkey browns, peel a large onion and chop into 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. When turkey is well browned, push it over to the side of the pan, add 1 tsp. more olive oil, add onion pieces and cook about 5 minutes, until onion is lightly browned. Stir in minced garlic and ground cumin and cook the mixture about 3 minutes more, stirring a few times.
  4. Add 3 cups cooked beans, 2 cans diced green Anaheim chiles, and 3 cups chicken stock. Stir to combine, then reduce heat and let the mixture simmer about 30 minutes.
  5. Combine 1 can refried pinto beans with 1/4 cup water to thin the beans, then stir refried beans into the turkey and bean mixture. Simmer about 25 minutes more.
  6. While mixture simmers, chop 1/4 cup (or more) cilantro. When the stew is as thick as you’d like it to be (about 25 minutes for me), stir in chopped cilantro and simmer 5 minutes more.
  7. Serve hot, with lime wedges to squeeze lime into the stew when you eat it.


cooked beans in the slow cooker, then used some for this recipe.

This recipe was adapted from Green Chile Chicken and Pink Bean Stew by Melissa Rubel Jacobsen for Food and Wine.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Ground Turkey and Bean Stew with Cumin, Green Chiles, and Cilantro is too high in carbs for traditional low-carb eating plans, but it’s a great main dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. Although low-glycemic dried beans are approved for all phases for South Beach, the recommended serving size for phase one is 1/3 to 1/2 cup beans.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Ground Turkey and Bean Stew with Cumin, Green Chiles, and Cilantro found on KalynsKitchen.com

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30 comments on “Ground Turkey and Bean Stew with Cumin, Green Chiles, and Cilantro”

  1. This looks so tremendously satisfying and filling. I bet my guys would adore it!

  2. Love the refried-beans-thickening-idea!! You're a genius!

  3. I tried this tonight because I was trying to find something tasty to do with ground turkey. I amended the recipe to fit what I had on hand. I think the secret of this recipe is the browning of the turkey. Taking the extra time to develop well browned turkey really gives it flavor. I used cannelini beans, Italian seasoning and canned tomatoes instead of the pink beans and cumin and omitted the chiles. I deglazed the pan with a little red wine. I also added some frozen spinach, dreamfields elbow macaroni and a bit of grated Parmesan cheese. So there are definitely Italian favors going on. My husband LOVED it! Thanks for all the inspiration your website provides!

  4. Sofia, I think using turkey sausage in this sounds great!

  5. I have this simmering on my stovetop right now… it smells and tastes great! We replaced half of the ground turkey with a lean turkey sausage.

  6. How nice to hear people are liking this. (And I always love to hear that the blog is useful to people.)

    I didn't have the superbowl in mind when I made this, but I also found myself thinking it would be a good option.

  7. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to find your site. I'm starting back on SB after several years and needed ideas. I have to say that this stew is the favorite. I'll double and freeze in small batches next time (if there is any left). This tasted way too good to be legal! I've sent the link to several SB'ers so that they can enjoy it too! This is perfect, the fam has requested it for the Super Bowl Sunday.

  8. Mmmm i loved this! I just wished that I could have added more spice. Delicious and great idea. 🙂

  9. The stew sounds amazing. Nice twist with the lime.

  10. TW, that's my favorite kind of recipe, something that tastes great reheated and that you don't get tired of.

    Tanna, I agree about the green chile love. They are so good in everything.

    Dara, me too, and the refried beans added flavor plus thickness.

    Katrina, just leave out the cilantro and put more lime!

    Maria, I do want to go there. I wish it was downtown though!

    Kevin I liked the turkey a lot here. The original recipe called for chicken thighs, which sounded like a pain to me to cut up and cut the fat off.

    Neil, you want stew weather, and I wish it was summer here. We're never happy are we?

    Biggles, I agree some Cojita cheese on top would have been good here. Might have added some interest to the photos too.

    Paula, you're welcome. I'm intrigued by the sound of turkey chorizo. I bet that's good!

  11. Hello there—I read your recipe yesterday and went home and made something similar. Although your picture looks much more appetizing than mine.

    I used peruano beans and gave a shot at making turkey chorizo. This is the first time I've commented and I just wanted to thank you for the great food recipes.

  12. Yeah, soups & stews can be a tough one. Sometimes I'll over-load with bits versus the broth to get some texture, but then the stew doesn't look juicy enough.

    Whar's the Cotija cheese on top?

    xo, Biggles

  13. I long for the cooler days that would make this so right. Love all the additions you made. Beans = good.

  14. What a hearty and tasty sounding stew! I like the use of the turkey for the meat.

  15. I want to try those beans now. Also, let me know if you try that tofu place. Sounds interesting.

  16. This sounds fantastic – except for the cilantro:) Thanks so much!

  17. Great idea to add refried beans to thicken the stew! This is exactly the kind of stew I like – chock full of great ingredients.

  18. Green Chiles will always bring me in. Obviously this is a beauty the day it's fixed and then becomes a beauty again each time it comes out of the freezer. Wonderful.

  19. That looks pretty darn attractive to me! I would feast on this for days!

  20. Rebecca, I always love getting new ideas for soup.

    Dave thanks, I loved it.

    Karina, of course nothing can compared with freshly roasted Hatch green chiles, but diced green chiles from a can are one of my all-time favorite pantry ingredients.

    Lydia, I am completely sold on the slow cooker for cooking beans. I bet you'd like this recipe with 3 cans of diced green chiles!

    Year on the Grill, wow, thanks! It was really tasty.

    CookieCrumb, the funny thing is these actually were beans I bought several years ago in SF. I wondered how long it would take to cook "old" beans in the slow cooker, and found these in the back of the cupboard. Looking forward to getting some Rancho Gordo Cannellini beans when I come next month.

    Joanne, I thought the refried beans thickened this just enough.

    LeaAnn, thanks.

  21. Now this is my kind of stew. Beautiful photo.

  22. Stews, I think, are not photogenic in the traditional sense but they definitely look appealing. In that homey comfort food kind of way. Looks fantastic! I especially like that it has refried beans in it.

  23. Whoo! Did you finally get your RG beans sent to you from the condo in SF?
    Nice shot. Cool dishes.
    It was bean day at our house too.

  24. That photo may be the most beautiful presentation of a stew/soup I have ever seen… and the recipe sounds terrific!

  25. Funny — I just made a very similar chili, though the Rancho Gordo beans would have made it even better. I love making big batches of dried beans in the slow cooker; they come out perfect every time, and I think the flavor is so much better than canned beans.

  26. There is nothing like a big pot of green chile stew to make things right with the world. Perfection.

  27. I seriously wish that I would have read your blog earlier in the day! I felt like having soup, but didn't know what to make! This sounds delicious! I'll have to keep this in mind for the next time I have a craving for soup. I made tortellini tomato spinach soup and just posted it if you are looking for another wintery-soup recipe 🙂

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