I give you comfort food that is quick, easy, and believe it or not, healthy. This Turkey Chili Recipe is one of the best chili ones around. It is rich and hearty but one you don’t have to feel guilty about it. A cozy dish of “comfort” to warm you up on these “chilly” evenings. It’s full of flavor and rich in texture. Throw in a pan of homemade sweet cornbread and you’ll be in “chili” heaven.
Cozy pots of soup or chili are a glorious way to warm your soul in the winter. A truly hearty chili recipe is my Short Rib Beef Chili and this Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup is an old-fashioned “hand-me-down” recipe that is sure to comfort your heart and belly.
Main Ingredients for Turkey Chili
- Red and Sweet Onions – Red onions are pungent and somewhat spicy. While sweet onions are sweeter than regular yellow onions. Both of these together complement this chili dish.
- Jalapeño Peppers – Depending on your family’s “heat” preference, you can add or not add sliced jalapeños.
- Garlic Cloves
- Lean Ground Turkey – I went with the lean 90/10 ground turkey.
- Tomato Paste – A thick tomato concentrate that infuses the sauce with a rich zesty flavor.
- Chicken Stock – I always choose stock over broth. It has tons more flavor and is a more concentrated, richer liquid.
- Adobo Chipotle Peppers – These add a distinctly spicy and smoky flavor but with a sweet aspect.
- Spices and Herbs – Chili Powder, Cumin, Ground Coriander, Smoked Paprika, and Dried Oregano.
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes – If you like a chunkier tomato base, then go with diced or petite diced tomatoes.
- Canned Beans – Dark Red Kidney and Black Beans
- Brown Sugar – The sugar balances out the heat and the savory portion of this recipe.
How to Make this Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe
- Sauté the onions and jalepaños. Coat the bottom of a large heavy bottom pan (a Dutch oven works great) with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and add the onions and jalapeños. It will take 10-12 minutes over medium heat until softened. Season with salt and pepper while these veggies are cooking. Once the onions and jalapeños are tender add in the chopped garlic and let it cook for 30 seconds to one minute.
- Cook the ground turkey – Remove the onions and jalapeños before you started cooking the turkey. Turn the heat to medium and use a spatula or a wooden spoon to break up the clumps of ground turkey. Cook for three-five minutes until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the chicken stock – Before the spices are added, pour in 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and scrape well to get up all the bits and pieces that stuck to the bottom of the pan. This process is called “deglazing.”
- Add the Flavors: spices, herbs, chipotle peppers & tomato paste – Turkey itself can be pretty bland. Salt and pepper alone do not fully correct the issue. That’s where adding all of these other ingredients contribute to the complexity of this chili.
- Add Crushed Tomatoes – The ratio of meat, beans, and tomatoes is important to this recipe. You don’t want to have an overbearing tomato base. I added 3-14 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes which ended up being a nice blend with the turkey and beans.
- Add the beans- In this Turkey Chili Recipe, I used dark red kidney beans and black beans. Make sure to rinse and drain your beans really well before adding them to the pan.
- Simmer the Turkey Chili – Cover and give it at least an hour to simmer on low. But watch it and stir every once in a while so the chili doesn’t burn in the bottom of the pan.
What to Serve with this Turkey Chili Recipe
The beauty of this pot of deliciousness is how hearty and complex it is which makes it worthy to be a stand-alone dish. If you want to spruce it up even more though throw in one of the following sides.
- Homemade Sweet Cornbread. The sweetness of the bread is the absolute perfect companion.
- Loaded Potato Skins. Crispy and baked, these skins are a perfect counterpart.
- Sweet Potato Fries. This recipe is for baked sweet potato fries, which even adds to the healthy aspect of the turkey chili.
- Cheese Quesadillas.
- A simple side salad.
What should you Top this Turkey Chili Recipe With?
- Sour Cream. A favorite garnish is a dollop of sour cream which adds a cool, tangy flavor. It gives it a creamy texture as well.
- Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese. This also gives it a tangier taste and contributes to a creamier finish.
- Fresh Sliced Jalapeños. If you and your family like a bit more heat throw in some sliced jalapeños.
- Sliced Avocados and Diced Fresh Tomatoes. Not only will these brighten up your dish, but they also add freshness.
- Tortilla Strips or Corn Chips. If you’re looking for some added crunch, grab a handful of either tortilla strips or corn chips and throw them in. Both of these pair well with chili.
Can you Substitute Ground Beef for Turkey?
For sure! If you still want to make it somewhat healthy, I would choose 90/10 grass-fed beef or bison.
Can you Use Different Beans in the Chili?
Yes. You want beans that hold up under the pressure of everything else going on in this recipe. Pinto Beans would be a good substitute for that. You can add great northern beans or navy beans as well. It’s best to have at least two different types of beans for added texture.
Can you Freeze this?
Absolutely. Chili in general freezes beautifully. Wait until it cools completely and spoon it into freezer plastic bags or other freezer-type containers. It will store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat
When ready to reheat, take it out of the freezer and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Pour it into a large saucepan and slowly reheat while stirring regularly. Or if you’re short on time, run hot water over the frozen package until it loosens from the sides of the ziplock bag. Place the frozen block into a large microwave-safe bowl and heat over medium-low heat until fully reheated, stirring often.
How Long is this Turkey Chili Recipe Good for?
This chili is fantastic as leftovers. What a bonus, since it makes a huge pot, you’ll have plenty of extras. It’s like a fine wine, it gets better with age. The longer it sets, the more the flavors will be drawn out. You can store this Turkey Chili for up to four days in the refrigerator.
If you’re looking for an easy weeknight idea that can get you in and out of the kitchen in thirty minutes with minimal clean-up, this one-pot (from start to finish) meal gives you everything you could ask for. If you want it to simmer, it’ll take longer. But that’s a great time to grab a glass of wine, put your feet up and enjoy a “moment.” They don’t seem to come that often.
More Chili and Soup Recipes
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Healthy Ground Turkey Chili
Comfort food that is quick, easy, and healthy – this Healthy Ground Turkey Chili is the perfect, hearty dish that you don’t have to feel guilty about. A cozy dish of “comfort” that is full of flavor and rich in texture. Throw in a pan of homemade sweet cornbread and you’ll be in “chili” heaven.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 12 servings 1x
- Category: Chili
- Method: Stove-top
- Cuisine: American
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- One large Red Onion, chopped
- One Large Sweet Onion, chopped
- 3 large Jalapeno Pepper, sliced
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 6 large Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- 2 pounds Lean Ground Turkey
- 3 heaping tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
- 2 Adobo Chipotle Peppers with 1 tablespoon of Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
- 2 tablespoons ground Cumin
- 2 tablespoons ground Coriander
- 2 tablespoons Smoked Paprika
- 1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
- 3 – 14 ounce cans of Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 cans Dark Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
- Heat a large heavy bottom pan (a Dutch oven works great) over medium-high heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat until shimmering.
- Add 1 large chopped red onion, 1 large chopped sweet onion, and 3 large sliced jalapeños.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions and peppers until tender, about 10-12 minutes while stirring often.
- Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Add 6 large chopped garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Remove the cooked vegetables from the pan and set aside.
- Cook 2 pounds of lean ground turkey over medium heat until no longer pink. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the vegetables back into the pan with the meat.
- Add 3 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste and 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock stirring well and scraping all the browned bits and pieces from the bottom of the pan.
- Add 2 adobo chipotle peppers (from the can) with 1 tablespoon of sauce, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 2 tablespoons ground coriander, 2 tablespoons smoked paprika, and 1 tablespoon dried oregano.
- Add 3 – 14 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes, 2 cans each of dark red kidney and black beans along with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
- Stir everything together and let simmer for at least one hour.
- Garnish with sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and slices of fresh jalapeños. (optional)
- Depending on your family’s “heat” preference, you can add or not add sliced jalapeños. This recipe is probably a “medium” heat. I used three larger size jalapeños. I kept the ribs and the seeds when I sliced them, which added extra heat to the dish.
- A word of caution. Use gloves when you handle the jalapeños. They can really burn your skin if not careful, especially if you’re handling a bunch of them as I did with these Stuffed Jalapeño Poppers.
- It’s best to season with salt and pepper in layers while cooking. This way it counteracts the finished dish in being bland. I sprinkled in about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper with the onions and peppers. And more when I cooked the turkey meat.
- I always choose stock over broth. It has tons more flavor and is a thicker, richer liquid.
- Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups Chili
- Calories: 262
- Sugar: 5 g
- Sodium: 466 mg
- Fat: 9 g
- Saturated Fat: 2 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 5 g
- Trans Fat: o g
- Carbohydrates: 25 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 21 g
- Cholesterol: 60 mg
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