Chickpeas / Picadillo / Turkey

Turkey Picadillo With Chickpeas

Picadillo is a favorite dish of mine and I never had it until I met my husband. My mother in law made this dish twice and each time was on thanksgiving. So good! It’s a tomato based sauce typically made with ground beef, olives and raisins. Some variations are made with potatoes. All delicious. It’s a perfect one pot meal that can be served with a side of rice or beans. And leftovers make for the best  empanadas! SO GOOD! This turkey picadillo with chickpeas is the perfect cozy fall or winter dinner that is full of delicious flavor. 

 I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but my husband and I don’t eat red meat or pork, so my mother in law always makes a ground chicken version during the holidays to accommodate. It’s an honest dish that is so filling with so many different flavors that really come together. Theres the acid from the tomato sauce, sweetness from the raisins and then there’s green olives for a salty-briny note. Castelvetrano olives to be exact. You could use any green olive you prefer. I happen to love the mildness and slightly sweeter taste that castelvetrano olives have.

This dish starts off with sautéing green pepper and onion in some achiote oil.  It gives this turkey picadillo with chickpeas its beautiful color and flavor.

How to make achiote oil 

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1-2 tbs annatto seeds
  • Heat both on low in a small saucepan until it starts to bubble slightly and drain in a small ramekin or small bowl over a sieve to remove the seeds. Reserve for cooking.

I love to serve this with a side of white rice and some tostones. You could also serve this with brown rice, quinoa or couscous. This dish is even more delicious the next day and the leftovers are perfect for making empanadas! I add a bit of cheese and fry them up. So delicious


Turkey Picadillo with Chickpeas

A twist on a Cuban classic that is so delicious and full of flavor. Turkey Picadillo with Chickpeas is the perfect fall night meal that is even better the next day.
Course Dinner
Keyword Dinner, Healthy
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Author Leona G.


  • 12 inch fry pan or Cast-Iron Skillet
  • Wooden spatula


  • ¼ cup achiote oil see instructions below
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 5 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 16 oz ground turkey meat
  • 15 oz crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup green olives plus ¼ cup of brine
  • 15 oz canned chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 oz raisins
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp vinegar acv or white vinegar

achiote oil

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp annatto seeds


Achiote Oil

  • On low heat, add your oil to a small saucepan along with the annatto seeds. Heat until the oil starts to slightly bubble, about 1-2 minutes. Be sure not to overheat. Drain into a small ramekin over a sieve to remove the seeds. Reserve for cooking.

Turkey Picadillo

  • To your saucepan, heat your achiote oil on low-medium heat and add in your onion, garlic and bell pepper. Saute until tender. Next add in the tomato paste and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Now, add in your turkey meat and break it up with a spatula. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. Next, add in your crushed tomatoes, olives & brine, chickpeas and raisins.
  • One the mixture simmers, add in your bay leaves, spices & sugar, except the salt. Stir to combine and cover. Cook the picadillo on low for 25 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off and stir in the vinegar. Add in the salt according to taste. Serve with white rice, quinoa or couscous. Enjoy!


  • You can use any type of ground meat you prefer. Ground chicken is also delicious.
  • Golden raisins work well too.
  • I prefer to use castelvetrano olives, but any kind of green olives are good.
  • The annatto seeds give this dish its beautiful color and although the flavor is mild, its slightly peppery. 

More recipes to try…

Japanese Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Ranch

Turkey Chili Cheese Fries


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