When a one-pot meal shines with Tex Mex flavors and lots of vegetables, you know you’ve got something special on your hands. This Turkey-Cauliflower Taco Skillet is just what you’ve been looking for: a quick and healthy one-pot meal the whole family will love!
I’m a sucker for a one-pot meal. There is something so gratifying about getting all the flavors, textures, and nutrients one could desire into one delicious dish. It makes me feel like a culinary ninja. So, when I hit on a version that had everyone in my family cleaning their plates, I knew I had to share it with you.
But the fact that this Turkey-Cauliflower Taco Skillet is a one-pot meal isn’t the only reason to love it. It is also incredibly good for you, especially for those who are trying to boost their vegetable and/or decrease their carb intake. Why? Because where we might normally include rice in this recipe, instead we use cauliflower rice, which not only makes it healthier, but also much faster to prepare. A win-win!
Since many people have never used cauliflower rice, I wanted to take a few minutes to share a little bit about it and then I’ll share how you make the full meal.
What is Cauliflower Rice, How to Make It, and Why Use It?
As someone who believes in eating for both pleasure and health, I tend to be skeptical of “healthy” ingredient replacements. The truth is that even the best alternatives always taste at least a little different. So, my feeling is, if a dish calls for pasta, then enjoy that pasta. Similarly, if a recipe calls for rice, then rice should be in the dish.
Which is why I want to be clear that I included cauliflower rice in this recipe not to skip out on rice, but rather because I love cauliflower rice in its own right and wanted to highlight this preparation as a really great, hearty way to serve one of my favorite vegetables.
What is Cauliflower Rice?
So, what is cauliflower rice? It is cauliflower that has been grated into granules or thin strands, or “riced.” You can purchase already riced cauliflower either in the produce section or in the frozen vegetable section of most grocery stores, but you can also very easily make it yourself.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice?
Making cauliflower rice yourself is incredibly simple and much cheaper than buying the already riced versions. All you need to do is grate the head of cauliflower with either a box grater or the grating attachment of your food processor. For a step-by-step breakdown of how to do this, check out our full post on how to make cauliflower rice with your food processor or boxed grater (and if you want even more info on cauliflower, check out our post on how to cook with cauliflower and recipes to get you started).
Why Use Cauliflower Rice?
As I mentioned, I love cauliflower rice not as a replacement for rice, but as its own fantastic ingredient. Some of the reasons that I recommend giving cauliflower rice a try are:
- It has a wonderful, slightly sweet, flavor that pairs well with lots of other ingredients
- Its texture is remarkably similar to rice (my Brazilian husband once ate a whole meal of Veggie Cauliflower Fried Rice before realizing rice wasn’t actually included in the recipe), which can make it feel familiar to dubious eaters
- The cooking time is only of a fraction of the time it takes to make rice
- If you are looking for new ways to introduce cauliflower to your family, cauliflower rice is so different from florets that it can help more reluctant eaters to give this vegetable another try
How to Make Turkey-Cauliflower Taco Skillet
Making this Turkey-Cauliflower Taco Skillet is incredibly simple and can easily be ready in 30 minutes or less!
To make your Turkey-Cauliflower Taco Skillet you will need the following ingredients:
- Cauliflower rice or 1 head of cauliflower
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Ground turkey (or, to make this vegetarian, use meatless crumbles)
- Diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- Black Beans
- Green chiles
- Cheddar cheese
- Chili powder
- Smoked paprika
- Ground cumin
- Dried oregano
- Sea salt
- Red onion
Make Your Cauliflower Rice
If you are not using store-bought cauliflower rice, then your first step should be to rice your cauliflower, so that you have it prepped and ready to go.
Make the Taco Skillet
You will start this one-pot skillet meal, by heating the garlic in the olive oil. To that, you’ll add the ground turkey (or meatless crumbles) and dried spices, which you will then brown.
While the turkey is browning, drain the diced tomatoes and black beans. To save time, you can use one strainer or sieve at the same time for both. Then, once the the turkey is cooked through, add the drained tomatoes, beans, and the can of green chiles (with their liquid). Stir and cook until the liquid is bubbling slightly.
Now, you’ll add the cauliflower and stir well. This is where using cauliflower rice is so much faster than regular rice because the cauliflower will become tender in only about five minutes (as opposed to the 20 minutes it takes rice to cook).
While the turkey-cauliflower mixture is cooking, shred the Cheddar cheese (if not yet shredded). Then, top the turkey-cauliflower mixture with the shredded Cheddar cheese. Place a lid on the skillet and allow it to cook until the cheese is melted, about three minutes.
While the cheese is melting, chop your avocado, tomato, red onion, and cilantro. Once the cheese has melted, remove the skillet from the heat and top it with the avocado, tomato, red onion, and cilantro (or offer the toppings on the side, if preferred) and serve immediately.
Bonus serving suggestion: My family loved this skillet meal just as it was, but we also tried it rolled in tortillas and loved it that way as well!
Turkey-Cauliflower Taco Skillet
- 3 cups cauliflower rice fresh or frozen, or 1 head of cauliflower, riced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb ground turkey or use meatless crumbles or an extra can of beans
- 1 ½ Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt or other coarse salt
- 1 15 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes drained
- 1 can black beans drained, or use 1 1/2 cups homemade black beans
- 1 4 oz can green chiles
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 avocado diced
- 1 tomato diced
- 1/4 red onion diced
- 1/4 cup cilantro roughly chopped
- 6 whole wheat tortillas for serving, optional
- If your cauliflower is not already riced, use your food processor or box grater to rice it.
- Heat a large skillet over a medium-high heat and when the oil is hot, add the garlic. Heat for 15-30 seconds, or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Turn the heat to medium and add the ground turkey (or meatless crumbles) and dried spices. Break up the turkey (or meatless crumbles) and allow it to brown.
- While the turkey (or meatless crumbles) is browning, drain the diced tomatoes and black beans (you can use one strainer or sieve at the same time for both).
- When the turkey (or meatless crumbles) is cooked through, add the drained tomatoes, beans, and the can of green chiles (with their liquid). Stir and cook until the liquid is bubbling.
- Add the riced cauliflower (no need to thaw, if frozen) and stir well. Allow the mixture to cook over the medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender, about five minutes.
- While the turkey-cauliflower mixture is cooking,shred the Cheddar cheese (if not yet shredded).
- Top the turkey-cauliflower mixture with the shredded Cheddar cheese. Place a lid on the skillet and allow it to cook until the cheese is melted, about three minutes.
- While the cheese is melting, chop your avocado,tomato, red onion, and cilantro.
- Top the skillet with the avocado, tomato, red onion, and cilantro (or serve the toppings on the side, if preferred) and serve immediately either on its own or wrapped in tortillas.