The Best Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

turkey chili

Here’s what you should know about me. Once the temperatures dip below freezing, I crave a few things: warm slippers, flannel pajamas, chai tea, red wine, and chili. Seriously, I could eat chili every night during the Winter months as long as the flavors change.

Our tastes have fluctuated over the years, and we’ve most recently been eating white chicken chili rather than the traditional red chili. But, after last night’s dinner, I think I’m back on team red.

In fact, I’m about to make a very strong statement. This chili recipe is the best, healthy chili we’ve ever tasted. Hearty, filling, flavorful and rich it leaves you smiling from a full belly while still warming your mouth with smoky, rich flavors. A few surprise ingredients, like charred red peppers, will add depth to the flavor while only requiring a minute of extra effort. Trust me, it’s worth it.


It’s one of those dishes that only gets better as a leftover, whether served for lunch or dinner. The few simple, surprise ingredients give it a rich, warm flavor that is often missing in healthy chili recipes. Made with lean, ground turkey, it’s healthy enough to eat during the month of January when 99% of blog readers are thinking twice about what they eat.

We recommend topping off your bowl with with jalapenos, shredded cheddar cheese, scallions and a dollop of sour cream before grabbing your largest spoon.

turkey chili

The Best Healthy, Turkey Chili

Servings: 12-14 depending on serving size
Active prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1-2 hours simmering
2 medium onions (diced)
6 garlic cloves (grated on a micro planer)
2 red bell peppers (charred on the burner and diced)
2 pounds ground white meat turkey
4 15oz cans red kidney beans (rinsed well with cold water)
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 28oz can whole tomatoes
1 15oz can crushed tomatoes
10 Tbsp. chili powder (divided into 8, 1 and 1)
2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup bourbon
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. corn starch (to thicken if needed)
olive oil
1) Place a large stock pot on the stove over medium high heat, once hot add about 2 Tbsp. olive oil
2) Add onions and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes or until the onions begin to soften
3) Add red peppers and cook for another 3 minutes – remove contents of pot to a side dish
4) Return pot to stove and add additional olive oil – once hot, add 1 lb of turkey and season well with salt, pepper, 1 Tbsp. chili powder and a little cumin (you can also add any other spices you like such as garam masala, turmeric, or paprika)
5) Once brown remove turkey to bowl with onions and peppers and repeat with other pound of turkey
6) Return all cooked ingredients to the pot and add kidney beans, tomatoes (crushing whole tomatoes in your hand as they go into the pot), stock, spices, herbs, bourbon and syrup
7) Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for at least an hour, up to 2 hours (the kidney beans should not be broken)
8) Season to taste with salt and pepper and if the chili seems a little thin, add corn starch a little at a time to thicken the broth
9) Garnish with any combination of white or green onions, avocado, cheddar cheese, sour cream, corn chips, cilantro, etc.
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