Skip to content

recipe: turkey, black bean & spinach tacos.

July 29, 2011

I bet you just read that title and thought, turkey, black bean & spinach tacos?!

Yep – I used all three ingredients to make this dinner last night. Why not?

Mexican/Tex-Mex food is one of our favorites. Several times during a single month we’ll eat anything from quesadillas to veggie or chicken fajitas to black bean nachos. Once in a while we’ll go down the road and eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant in town, Mazatlan (that place is so good!). For some reason, I had the hankering to eat tacos. Since these things aren’t necessarily the healthiest (though, they’re not bad for you), I decided to put my own “healthy” spin to it.

The result? My husband loved it! (I did, too.) He enjoyed it so much he went back for seconds. I love that I still got to satisfy my Mexican food craving and eat something healthy at the same time. I hope you try this dish because it’s really good, super easy to make and you can add your own twist to it!

Turkey, Black Bean and Spinach Tacos


  • 1 lb lean ground turkey (93/7 fat ratio)
  • 1 regular packet of your favorite taco seasoning
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1-2 cups fresh spinach leaves, or even a bit more if you want (feel free to use frozen spinach, too)
  • 6-8 whole grain corn taco shells (Ortega brand; less fat than the normal hard taco shells)
  • 2-3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican-style cheese

1. Place the ground turkey in a large, deep skillet. Cook on medium-high heat until browned. Drain excess fat into a heat-safe container (to discard later; don’t pour it down the drain!).

2. Add packet of taco seasoning and mix it well into the meat. Add the water and mix again. Cook for about 1 minute (it should be bubbling at this point).

3. Add the black beans and spinach leaves, and cook the meat and veggie mixture for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat. The sauce will thicken up at this point.

4. Using box directions, heat the desired number of taco shells in the oven or in the microwave.

5. Serve tacos, using the turkey & veggie mixture along with lettuce, tomato & a bit of shredded cheese.

My husband and I aren’t really fans of sour cream so we didn’t have that. The turkey & veggie mixture had a lot of flavor already so there was no need to add anything else to the tacos other than the fixings. If you want a bit more heat to the tacos, use your favorite spicy salsa or add some red pepper.

Again, I love these tacos. In general, tacos are very versatile – you can use vegetables or beef or chicken or seafood. You can add whatever veggies you want and it will still taste good. Even for the veggie-phobe, you can’t really taste the beans and spinach because of the taco seasoning. Next time I do this, I will probably add diced zucchini and squash, and maybe include a bit of brown mushrooms. The sky’s the limit!

Who said that tacos can’t be healthy? 🙂 Just use lean meat, add some of your favorite veggies in there, go easy on the cheese and hold the sour cream. Enjoy!

PS – I have a confession. For the longest time I detested iceberg lettuce. You see, when I lived in the Philippines, we didn’t salads. Veggies were in main dishes, mixed in. When I moved to the United States, the first kind of salad I ate was a bowl of iceberg lettuce covered in some nasty ‘ol ranch dressing. Bleeeeccch. Then I heard this rumor that iceberg lettuce has no nutritional value – that it’s all just water. Guess what? That’s just a MYTH! It definitely has a lot of water in it (and actually low in calories), but it also has other nutrients like folate (vitamin B), vitamin A and vitamin C. It’s also an good source of potassium, iron and calcium. Sure, it doesn’t have as much nutrients as other leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce, swiss chard or collard greens but there’s no reason to completely negate iceberg lettuce. (For more information about the iceberg lettuce, visit this page.)

My apologies, oh humble lettuce. You’re not as bad as I thought you were. Unfortunately, I’ll still pick other leafy greens over you most days. But you’re alright.

You’re alright.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2011 7:13 pm

    I love tacos! I have yet to try using ground turkey for my taco meat, but that’s definitely next on my list! I made steak tacos this week: Thanks for sharing! I’m new to blogging and love that there is a foodie community! If you have time, please check out my blog: And of course! Any advice would be great 🙂

  2. July 29, 2011 7:31 pm

    I like making tacos! Adding the taco seasoning from a packet makes it easy. Your tacos look good!

  3. July 29, 2011 8:45 pm

    I think that sounds delicious! Love me Tex-Mex food.

  4. July 29, 2011 9:24 pm

    This sounds delicious! So often recipes are meat OR beans and I rarely think about combining them. Looking forward to trying this out!

  5. July 29, 2011 9:59 pm

    haha, ice burg lettuce is plain jane, but it fun to fancy it up! i agree. Glad you given it a second chance.

  6. July 29, 2011 11:09 pm

    These look amazing!

  7. August 1, 2011 2:24 pm

    Cool link for iceburg lettuce. It’s true that other leafy greens are more exciting than iceburg, but in tacos, it just seems to make more sense. That extra crunch is nice! I’m also a fan of crunchy taco shells over soft tortillas. Whenever we have tacos, I have to make both because my husband prefers the soft ones. I love the idea of using turkey instead of beef. I love taco seasoning so much that I’ll usually eat the leftover meat without a taco shell (so unhealthy!). Turkey would be better for indulging. Not sure if you have a Penzeys Spices near you, but their Fajita seasoning is the BEST taco seasoning I’ve ever had. I’m sure you can also order online. It’s worth trying sometime.

    • August 1, 2011 4:00 pm

      Okay, MY husband always prefers soft tacos! He likes flour tortillas the best and I think they’re so heavy on your stomach :-\ I love soft corn tacos and the regular crunch ones. I’ll have to look up that Penzey’s Spices.

  8. September 6, 2011 5:20 pm

    Just tried this recipe the other night. My husband and I both loved it! I even threw in zucchini like you suggested. Delicious.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: