Turkey cuts that will make you want to eat it more than once a year

Every November, we wonder why we don’t eat turkey more often. It’s high in protein, low in calories, affordable, and can instantly turn any side dish into an entrée. But I think we can all agree, preparing the whole bird is a labor of love we can justifiably reserve for special occasions.

Fortunately, plenty of turkey cuts don’t require the same workload and time constraints of cooking a whole turkey, including several easy-to-find cuts that can help you put a healthy dinner on the table in just minutes. Here’s a few to look for next time you’re stocking up for the week.

Lean Ground Turkey

Using lean ground turkey in place of ground beef is a great way to cut down on saturated fat–the type of fat that contributes to high cholesterol. Two types to look for are 93% lean ground turkey and 99% lean ground turkey. The biggest difference is that the 99% version is generally made with all breast meat and contains no saturated fat. However, because it has so little fat, it runs the risk of getting dry. For sauces or tacos, it’s usually not an issue, but if you’re making meatballs or turkey burgers, 93% or mixing the two together are your best bets.

Turkey Tenderloin

Tenderloin is the long strip of meat located on the inside of the turkey breast. True to the name, this cut stays tender when cooked. It’s also comparable to turkey breast meat in terms of nutrition. A 4-ounce serving has about 120 calories and 28 grams of protein.

Lean Turkey Sausage

Turkey sausage has nearly 100 fewer calories and half the fat of its pork counterpart–making it a healthy alternative to a grilled brat. It’s also a great way to add flavor to soups, pastas, and casseroles without the extra saturated fat.

Turkey Breast

Roasting a bone-in turkey breast, approximately 4 pounds or so, may take a little longer than cooking cutlets or ground turkey, but it offers plenty of hands-free time, especially when cooked in a slow cooker. A bone-in turkey breast provides about 24 grams of protein, 180 calories, and 8 grams of fat per 4-ounce serving. For a quicker and even leaner option, look for a boneless turkey breast roast.

For recipes and ideas, visit Hy-Vee.com/recipes-ideas.

Italian Turkey Cutlets

Recipe courtesy of Honeysucklewhite.com

Serves 4

Total Time: 30 minutes


1 package turkey breasts

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) low-moisture mozzarella cheese

1 bunch basil leaves


1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in tomatoes (with juices) and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer gently. Stir occasionally, until sauce has thickened but is still chunky, about 20 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.

3. While sauce simmers, pat turkey dry with a paper towel and season with a pinch of salt. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey to the skillet and cook for 6 minutes on one side. Flip the cutlets and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until an internal temperature reaches 165°F, measured by a meat thermometer.

4. Spoon the warm tomato sauce over each piece. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Cover skillet and cook until cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Garnish with basil.


The information is not intended as medical advice.

Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Laura Schmidt is a registered dietitian representing Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community.


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