Smoky Turkey and Saffron Red Rice

I am thrilled to be sharing this recipe with you today! I first had this rice at one of my good friends homes last year. I was in LOVE at first bite, no joke. My friend Mary told me that her Persian friend makes this rice and the kids LOVE it. My boys call it red rice and get so excited when I tell them I am making it for them. If you haven’t cooked with saffron before you are in for quite a treat. It has a very distinct flavor that really makes this rice so incredible. McCormick Gourmet sells a lovely saffron, do check it out next time you are at the store 🙂

After enjoying this red rice so many times at Mary’s home I finally decided I’d create the recipe myself! It tastes identical! Hope you all enjoy.

Here’s your line up of ingredients.

These McCormick Gourmet Spices make me smile they are so fabulous!

Start by sauteeing your onion and garlic.

Add 1 lb ground turkey breast.

…..and cook until cooked through.

Time to add some green beans. You can use fresh green beans if you prefer.

Add your cooked basmati rice.

….and give it a nice stir.

Add a small can of tomato sauce.

….and it will look like this 🙂

Time for the spices!


This saffron is like little threads of gold. It is expensive, but once you try it you’ll see why….it’s delicious!

Add you threads of saffron, give a good stir and you are ready to enjoy!


Smoky Turkey and Saffron Red Rice in a bowl.

Smoky Turkey and Saffron Red Rice

Smoky Turkey and Saffron Red Rice combines seasoned ground turkey with green beans to create a delicious all-in-one meal. This is an instant family favorite recipe!
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 205kcal
Author: Jenny
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  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 3 Tablespoons grape seed oil (you can use olive oil if you need)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped white onion
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh minced garlic
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 15 oz cans green beans drained
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick Gourmet Roasted Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet garlic salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Spanish Saffron threads


  • Cook rice according to package directions. 
  • Heat oil into a large 5 quart dutch oven or pot over medium heat.
  • Saute onions for 5 minutes or until translucent and softened. Stir in garlic and stir for 1 minute. 
  • Add turkey, salt, pepper and cook until cooked through and crumbled. 
  • Stir in green beans, rice, tomato sauce, cumin, paprika, garlic salt and saffron threads. Stir until well combined.
  • Taste and season according to your liking. Reduce heat to low until ready to serve.


Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 268mg | Potassium: 258mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords: ground turkey and rice recipes, ground turkey recipes, saffron rice recipes, saffron turkey


*Disclaimer: I am part of the McCormick Real Gourmet Blogger Program and am being
compensated however the thoughts and recipe are my very own.

Have a great week! Come back soon 🙂


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29 Responses
  1. Ziba

    Thanks for unique idea! Turkey and green beans ! I am Persian , we prepare this dish most with lamb, I have never try with turkey. But I cooked today by turkey ! Was amazing . Just the recipe and direction of cooking is very different from the traditional . We call it Lobia(been) Polo(rice)….Yummy .

  2. Zari B

    Very disappointing. I am half Persian and this taste nothing like the Persian food I have ate or cooked. It taste like Mexican rice. Might try turmeric instead of cumin.

  3. Nigel

    I’m not normally a fan of rice, thought I would try this based on the smoked paprika (which I absolutely love). Well, it ended up being an emergency dinner when other plans fell through, and it worked out wonderfully. We used American saffron rather than spanish, and normal cumin instead of roasted, but it still tasted delicious, and we’ve had lots of people asking for the recipe.

  4. Amanda

    I made this last night – oh, my word, is it good!!
    The only alterations I made was to add the saffron to the rice as it was cooking – I’m a sucker for yellow rice! I also added the paprika and cumin at the stage where the green beans and tomato sauce were added to the turkey.
    Wonderful, wonderful recipe!!

  5. beatrix

    Oh my… I am going to have to try this… I love cooking with saffron and I just so happen to have some ground turkey in fridge. Can’t wait.

  6. Susan

    Love it! The addition of the saffron sounds absolutely fanstastic! And you are right – threads of gold!!

  7. Cookin' Canuck

    I love hearty rice dishes like this one. Saffron is not cheap, but a little goes a long way to adding beautiful color and flavor.

  8. Christel

    You can also mix the saffron with a tad bit of sugar, and grind it in a mortar, to bring out the flavor and rich yellow color.

  9. Tina (My Life as a Mrs)

    YUM! This looks absolutely delicious! Love love love your blog & fab recipes 🙂

  10. marla {family fresh cooking}

    Jenny, I am convinced that smoked paprika makes everything better – way better. Great recipe girl! xo

  11. Liz - Meal Makeover Mom

    I have all the ingredients for this dish right at home … with the exception of the green beans and saffron. I have frozen green beans, so maybe I’ll use those. The key for me is finding recipes my boys will love …and this looks like something they’d gobble up happily.

  12. the country cook @ Delightful Country Cookin

    Interesting! I will have to try this, but I think I’ll use the saffron in the traditional way (putting the threads in a bit of warm water for a few minutes to help release the flavor and then adding the whole kit and kaboodle to the rice). Sounds excellent!

  13. Sahar

    This recipe excites me! I’m Afghan, not Persian and the recipes always intimidate me (usually because there is no recipe and my relatives will just say a pinch of this, a glug of that haha) but this looks easy and healthy too. Can’t wait to try it.

  14. Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}

    You may have convinced me to break open my tightly closed wallet and give saffron a whirl. I remember the first time I came across it in a recipe and went to get some at the store. I nearly choked on the price tag. I need to just try it!

  15. Jamie

    This looks AMAZING! And absolutely like something we’d love. I’ve never cooked with saffron before and this looks like a safe place to start trying.

  16. Heather (Heather's Dish)

    this dish has a TON of flavor…i love that you added saffron and smoked paprika!

  17. Vicky @ Recipe Adaptors

    This looks great – shame my husband refuses to eat rice! Why are some men so awkward?! 😉

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