When the weather turns cold, warming up with a bowl of veggie-loaded turkey chili is about as good as it gets! This healthy turkey chili recipe is gluten-free, simple to make, and easy to tweak to your dietary and taste preferences.
One of Our First Ever Go-To Recipes
This turkey chili is one of our go-to recipes and has been for quite some time. In fact, it was one of the very first recipes we shared on our Facebook page before this The Real Food Dietitians’ website even existed.
It’s always fun to look back and see how far we’ve come and the community we have grown. We’ve grown from a site that didn’t exist to one that accumulates around two million views/month. Crazy, huh?!
This Turkey Chili Is Everything You Need In One Bowl
One thing we love about our turkey chili is that it’s loaded with veggies! Our husbands and kids (even the picky eaters) are happy to eat it, and it’s a complete meal.
A serving contains everything you need for well-rounded health, including quality protein, tons of veggies, 9 grams of fiber per serving, and an adequate source of healthy fats when topped with avocado (which we highly recommend).
You can up the ante on veggies even more by serving it over a bed of greens. You can add heartiness by serving it over a baked sweet potato or winter squash — a heavenly combination, if we do say so ourselves. If comfort food is your vibe, serve it with a classic side of cornbread muffins (yummy!).
Ingredients To Make Turkey Chili
Here’s what you need to make this veggie-loaded turkey chili today:
- Lean ground turkey — ground beef or ground chicken work, too
- Olive oil or avocado oil
- Garlic cloves
- Red bell pepper
- Zucchini or yellow squash
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Canned tomato sauce
- Canned crushed or petite diced tomatoes
- Canned black beans
- Frozen corn
- Water or broth
- Cayenne (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- Optional toppings — avocado, cilantro, shredded cheese, and/or sour cream
Find the ingredient list with exact measurements in the recipe card below.
How To Make Turkey Chili
Here are the three easy steps to making this so-simple healthy turkey chili:
- Saute the meat and veggies. Start by heating oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground meat, garlic, onions, bell peppers, zucchini or yellow squash, and carrots. Sauté for 7-9 minutes until the meat is cooked and no longer pink.
- Add remaining ingredients. Then, add seasonings, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, beans, corn, and water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the carrots are tender. You can serve it with your choice of toppings.
- Let it simmer away. For a slow cooker version, follow the stovetop directions through step 1, then transfer the turkey and vegetable mixture to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper), stir, and cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.
For serving size and the complete directions and ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card below. All of our recipes include the nutrition analysis, listing calories (kcals), protein, carbohydrates/carb, fiber, sugar, sodium, cholesterol, and more per serving.
Pre-Chop The Veggies
If you pre-chop the veggies the day or two before you cook this chili, you can save a considerable amount of prep time and have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Woot! We’re all about easy weeknight meals.
How To Store
We like to freeze this chili in 1 ½ cup servings in an airtight container or gallon ziplock bag (once cooled). Then, we reheat exactly as much as we need at a time.
If you’re looking to stock your freezer with some easy meal plan options, go ahead and double this recipe.
Turkey Chili Toppings
The world is your oyster when it comes to chili toppings. There are so many options including some of our faves – avocado or guacamole, cilantro, chopped jicama, fried plantains, sour cream, cheddar cheese, sliced jalapeños, and some crushed tortilla chips. You do you!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey, beef, or chicken
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 zucchini or yellow squash, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (15-ounces) can crushed or petite diced tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 8 ounces water or broth
- Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Optional: Diced avocado, chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, and/or lime wedges for serving
- In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add ground meat, garlic, onions, bell peppers, zucchini or yellow squash, and carrots.
- Sauté for 7-9 minutes or until meat is cooked and no longer pink.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, beans, frozen corn, and the water or broth.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.
- Garnish with toppings of choice.
Slow Cooker Directions:
- Follow the directions above for the Stovetop version through Step 3.
- Add the browned turkey and vegetable mixture to the slow cooker.
- Add the remaining ingredients (chili powder through water/broth) to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on LOW for a cook time of 8 hours or on HIGH for a total time of 4 hours.
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- Serving Size: 1 ⅓ cups
- Calories: 290
- Fat: 9 g
- (Sat Fat: 2 g)
- Sodium: 575 mg
- Carbohydrate: 32 g
- (Fiber: 9 g
- Sugar: 9 g)
- Protein: 22 g
- Cholesterol: 43 mg
Frequently Asked Questions
The main ingredients in our turkey chili are lean ground turkey, black beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. After that, it’s all about the veggies and spices!
We kept our turkey chili recipe as simple as possible for a quick weeknight meal that’s packed with flavor and nutrition, with ingredients such as:
-Lean ground turkey
-Garlic and onion
-Bell pepper, squash, corn, and carrots
-Crushed or diced tomatoes
-Tomato sauce and broth or water
-Ground chili pepper, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper
Turkey chili is such a versatile recipe that adapts to whatever ingredients you have on hand. As long as you have the basics (ground meat, beans, tomato sauce, a can of tomatoes, garlic, onion, and spices), you can play around with the other ingredients to make the best chili for your family.
Here are some common ingredient substitutions you can use for turkey chili:
Meat: ground beef, ground chicken
Beans: kidney beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans
Veggies: yellow onion, green onions, any peppers
Liquid base: chicken broth (low sodium chicken broth is fine), vegetable broth, tomato paste and water
Spices & flavor: cayenne pepper, dried oregano, paprika, brown sugar, hot sauce
This photos in this blog post were taken by Monica Stevens Le.
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