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Appetizers and Sides

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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


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 lb ground turkey breast

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

2 15 oz cans green beans, drained

8 oz tomato sauce

1 Tbsp McCormick Gourmet Roasted Cumin

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Smoked Paprika

1/4 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet garlic salt

1 heaping Tablespoon McCormick Gourmet Spanish Saffron threads

1. 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.

12 servings


*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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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30 Responses | Comments RSS

  1. 1

    This looks great – shame my husband refuses to eat rice! Why are some men so awkward?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. 2

    Such a unique dish. Smoked paprika is my favorite spice. Love it!

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

    Mmm! My husband (and me) would love this dish ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. 5
    Jamie says:

    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.

  6. 6

    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!

  7. 7
    Maria says:

    That rice looks delish! Great meal!

  8. 8

    Love all the spices in this rice dish – yum! Tell Mary thanks ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. 9
    Lauren B. says:

    I’m a sucker for any kind of rice and so is my husband. We’ll be making this soon!

  10. 10
    Sahar says:

    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.

  11. 11

    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!

  12. 12

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by LA Times Food, Jenny F. and others. Jenny F. said: @LATimesfood Had this Smoky Turkey and Saffron Red Rice, it was to die for!! ๐Ÿ™‚ […]

  13. 13
    Heather says:

    Love all the flavors in this dish! Sounds delicious Jenny!

  14. 14
    Kelli says:

    One of these days I will splurge on saffron!

  15. 15

    This looks delish…love the saffron in it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. 16

    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.

  17. 17

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

  18. 18

    YUM! This looks absolutely delicious! Love love love your blog & fab recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. 19
    Karly says:

    Oh, I am so making this! Looks divine!

  20. 20
    Christel says:

    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.

  21. 21

    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.

  22. 22
    Tracy says:

    I love adding saffron to rice dishes, especially risotto!

  23. 23
    Susan says:

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

  24. 24

    i can see myself scarfing this plate down in a sec

  25. 25
    beatrix says:

    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.

  26. 26
    Amanda says:

    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!!

  27. 27

    Something my husband will SURELY love. Thanks for the recipe!

  28. 28
    Nigel says:

    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.

  29. 29
    Zari B says:

    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.

  30. 30
    Ziba says:

    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 .

Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!