Aggie's Kitchen

Kheema {Spiced Ground Turkey and Peas}

plate of rice and ground turkey with carrots, peas, and onions

One big thing I’ve been doing lately is trying to cook from my cookbooks more. I have a huge cookbook collection that I covet, yet sadly they are just sitting pretty on a shelf in my kitchen the last couple of years. How did that happen? (The internet, that’s how). Well, things are changing. My kids have heard me talk about how I miss cooking from my cookbooks and they’ve been pulling some off the shelves and onto the kitchen table lately so that we can look through them and find something to try. This has been fun for all of us!

I bought this cookbook last year when it came out – Aarti was one of my FAVORITE Next Food Network Star contestants and I watched her show regularly after she won her season (did she win her season? I can’t remember now). Total sadness that it is no longer on air. My daughter loved her show too, and my husband and I pretty much were introduced to Indian food because of her (LOVE). This recipe for Kheema comes from her cookbook and made it to our meal plan this past week. We loved it.

Aarti Paarti Cook Book

One of the reasons I picked this recipe (other than it sounds so delicious) is that it had the spice garam masala in the ingredient list. I always seem to have a jar of garam masala in my spice cabinet, but never use it. Feels silly because I absolutely love the warm flavor it brings to whatever it’s added to. For this month’s Recipe Redux, we were challenged to cook something with a new ingredient we wanted to try. I went with it by challenging myself to cook from a cuisine (Indian) that I’m not 100% comfortable cooking and a spice (garam masala) that I have been wanting to cook with more regularly. (The last time I used my garam masala was in these Chickpea Cakes – so so good!)

(If you aren’t familiar with The Recipe Redux, it’s a monthly recipe challenge group founded by dietitians with a focus on creating healthy recipes that are equally delicious. See past recipes I cooked up for Recipe Redux here. Check out our other members’ creations for this month’s challenge below!)

skillet of rice and ground turkey with carrots, peas, and onions with a blue spatula resting

I really only changed a few things in the recipe – I swapped ground turkey for ground beef and added a shredded carrot (because I am obsessed with adding shredded carrot to everything lately). Kheema is traditionally cooked with lamb and served with Indian flatbreads. Next time I make this, I will try it with beef. I also threw in a pinch of ground cinnamon because this girl got me hooked on adding cinnamon to savory dishes (have you tried her Lebanese Beef and Green Beans? So. Good.). The result was absolutely delicious served over brown rice for a weeknight dinner. Personally, I was wishing I had warm Indian flatbread like chapatis to scoop it up with instead of the rice…maybe I’ll personally challenge myself to that soon!

plate of rice and ground turkey with carrots, peas, and onions


Kheema {Spiced Ground Turkey and Peas}

  • Author: Aggie's Kitchen
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Ground Turkey
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Indian

Filled with warm spices and veggies, this recipe is great served over rice or scooped up with pita or naan bread.


  • 1 tablespoon light oil (I used grapeseed oil)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon regular or smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, drained)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • big pinch coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • small handful cilantro leaves, chopped


  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions to pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and stir, cooking for a minute longer. Add spices and cook for one minute, stirring constantly so that they don’t burn.
  2. Add ground turkey to pan and cook until brown and crumbled, about 5-7 minutes. Add shredded carrot, chopped tomatoes and water. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Simmer meat and vegetable mixture in partly covered pan for about 10 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Stir in peas and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and cilantro and taste for salt and pepper. Serve over cooked brown rice.


Recipe adapted from Kheema in the Aarti Paarti cookbook.

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14 comments on “Kheema {Spiced Ground Turkey and Peas}”

  1. Oh my gosh I have been making more and more curry dishes lately. Love the blend of spices in Indian dishes. I’m adding this one into next weeks meal plan. It looks delicious!

  2. I always have to figure out new ways to get Dave to eat more veggies. This sounds amazing!

  3. I love this so much! Garam masala is the best. And I love the apple cider vinegar touch!!! I can’t wait to try this!

  4. I love your version of kheema! I learned how to make this a number of years ago by an Indian woman – Indian cooking used to be so intimidating, but now I realize it’s not that difficult once you’re familiar with some of the Indian spices/ingredients. Love garam masala!

  5. OOh! I loved Aarti too and really enjoyed watching her on FN star! Yes, she did win that season. I’ve been obsessed with Indian spices lately so this recipe is definitely going on my “to make soon” list 😉

  6. I forgot about Aarti! I loved her! I have garam masala in my cupboard, too but I RARELY use it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. I’ve never had anything like this before! Looks delicious!

  8. Aggie, I love, love, love this post! I grew up on my mom’s kheema, it’s classic Indian comfort food. Yours looks amazing and seeing it brought back some great memories 🙂

  9. After reading your post, I not only want to make this and the green beans, but I want to buy her cookbook! Sounds awesome. I haven’t cooked with garam masala before but I’m totally going to get some now. 

  10. I can’t wait to make this! I recently bought garam masala for another recipe, so I’m super excited to have another use for it! 

  11. I too watched Food Network Star and was thrilled that Aarti won. She had a rough bout with depression after her first child but seems to have fought her way through. Bravo!

    I’m on a low-salt diet, so I’ve been using more spices recently. This looks wonderful!

    • Hi Vicki! I remember Aarti’s bout with depression oh so well…I was actually just a few months post partum with my little man as well and was struggling a bit myself and I remember reading her blog post in the middle of the night and it brought me to tears, really connected with what she was going through. She is such a beautiful person, really love her.
      Good for you for using more spices instead of salt, it really makes a difference doesn’t it? I just ordered a nice little box of spices from Penzey’s during one of their sales and am excited to try them and change things up!

  12. I did not think about eating turkey today, but after seeing your dish. It looks delicious! I have decided to change. Yeah.

  13. Pretty awesome as is. Customizable to your tastes as well. I add habanero and a bit of harissa and turmeric and serve it warm in butter lettuce (reduces carbs). Everyone loves this stuff. It freezes well to so you can make a big batch and save for later. 6/5 stars.