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Delicious and nutritious, this hearty stew recipe is a warm, piquant, one-pot meal that’s perfect for winter. It’s filled with butternut squash, sturdy greens, fresh herbs and lemon. I make the recipe with ground turkey but if you’re vegan you can make it with white beans.

Lemony Spiced Turkey Stew in bowl

This turkey stew recipe is supremely adaptable and it doesn’t need to simmer very long to meld the flavors.

I use ground turkey, but whatever ground meat you have, chicken, pork or beef will work just fine.

If you’re vegan, white beans or chickpeas can be used instead of the ground meat.  If you want more variety you can mix and match with a little of each.

The butternut squash provides just the right amount of satisfying carbs. Sweet potatoes or white potatoes can be substituted if you prefer.  If you’re using beans, you can even leave out the butternut squash, there will be enough carbs.

Lemony Spiced Turkey Stew in pot

Add in a bright green vegetable and this dinner almost cooks itself.

Any green vegetable can be used.  Heartier greens like collards, kale or cabbage need longer to cook than delicate spinach or Swiss chard.

Add more broth if you like it thinner or maybe a thicker stew is what you’re craving. Either way is good.

Finish the stew with lots of lemon to give it a lively zing.

This is such a wonderfully piquant and brothy stew, not too thick and at the same time it’s cozy and hearty.

Enjoy the light, lemony spiced taste of this warm turkey stew recipe.  It’s packed with nutrition, high in protein, easy, versatile and delicious.

Lemony Spiced Turkey Stew bowl on table

If you like this recipe you may also enjoy these other delicious stews:

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine with Greens

Indian Vegetable Stew (Vegan or Paleo)

One Pot Winter Vegetable Lentils

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Recipe updated January 2023.

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Lemony Turkey Stew with Greens

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  • Author: Ingrid DeHart
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This quick and easy turkey stew recipe is wonderfully piquant, hearty and satisfying. It’s filled with butternut squash and greens to nourishing your body.


  • 1 small bunch curly kale or 5 ounces baby kale
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 1 pound humanely raised ground turkey (dark meat) or 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained*
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, more to taste
  • 4 cups butternut squash cut into chunks
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil or a combination
  • 24 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste



  1. Rinse the kale and pull the leaves off the stems. Finely chop the stems and set aside. Tear or chop the leaves into bite size pieces and set aside, separately from the stems.* SKIP THIS STEP if using baby kale.
  2. Heat a large pot over medium-low. Once it’s hot add the olive oil.
  3. Add onion, carrot and kale stems (if using bunched kale). Sauté until very soft and lightly brown about 7 minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste, cumin and red pepper flakes. Stir and sauté 1 minute until tomato paste gets a little darker.
  5. Add turkey or beans, garlic, ginger and salt. Turn up heat to medium. Sauté breaking up the meat with your spoon, until turkey is a little brown, 4-7 minutes.
  6. Add butternut squash and broth.
  7. Cover and simmer until squash is tender and broth is flavorful, 15-20 minutes.
  8. Add the kale leaves* and simmer until they are very soft, 5-10 minutes.
  9. Stir in parsley and lemon juice. Taste to adjust seasoning. Add more cumin, salt or red pepper flakes if desired.
  10. Serve topped with parsley.



Recipe adapted from Melissa Clark.

If your bunch of kale is large don’t use more than 8 cups of kale leaves.


  • Use 2 (15 ounce cans) white beans instead of the turkey . Add beans along with the butternut squash.
  • Make it with turkey and beans use 1/2 pound turkey and 1 can white beans.
  • Substitute other hearty greens like broccoli rabe or collards.
  • If using a more delicate green like spinach simmer only a few minutes.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish, Lunch, Stew
  • Cuisine: Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Vegan, Whole30

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