Today I’m sharing a healthy turkey chili recipe with you! I don’t know about you, but things can get pretty hectic during the holidays and I seem to eat indulgently starting at Thanksgiving and then non-stop thru the New Year.
I like to have a few healthier options on the menu, like this Healthy Turkey Chili, so I don’t feel so guilty when I’m eating all of those holiday cookies!
What makes it healthy?
Ground turkey is leaner and a healthier alternative to ground beef, and I especially like the swap in my chili recipe. It’s easy to cook yet still incredibly flavorful and budget friendly. Although you can find very lean ground beef, turkey will still beat out it’s competition for lower calories and fat. You do want to make sure you are purchasing lean ground turkey, in order to get the most benefit.
A secret ingredient
The last ingredient I add to this chili is a little bit of Dark Chocolate. It deepens the flavor just a little, pairing beautifully with the chili powder but it also ads a velvety smooth texture to the broth. I promise, it’s really good! If it makes you nervous you an leave it out, but I hope you’ll give it a chance!
How to Make Turkey Chili
Turkey Chili, when cooked right, has such an incredible flavor that no one will know it’s made with turkey instead of beef!
This recipe makes a generous amount, so you need to start with a large soup pot. I love cast iron because the heat retention is great.
Melt some olive oil and cook some diced onions over medium heat until they’re soft. Add 2 pounds of ground turkey and cook with the onions until the turkey is fully cooked.
To the meat, add spices and seasonings and stir them in, allowing the spices to toast and flavor the meat.
Stir in diced tomatoes with the juices, black and pinto beans and chicken broth, then bring the turkey chili to a boil for about 30-45 minutes on low. You should let your chili simmer for at least 20 minutes to combine the flavors, but the longer, the better. I usually give it about an hour.
Just before serving you’ll add some chopped dark chocolate. Trust me on this one. Stir it in until it’s completely melted.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS AND VARIATIONS
Chili Nachos – Tortilla chips topped with cheese and chili. My kids love these!
More beans – Want more beans in your chili? Add kidney beans, pinto beans, white beans or any other bean you want. Sometimes I’ll add corn to sweeten it up.
Favorite chili toppings – sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, jalapenos, diced red onion, Fritos or tortilla chips, cilantro
Too thick? If your chili is too thick, add a little bit more broth to thin it out. If it’s too watery, simmer it with the lid off for at least 30 minutes. For a quick fix you could add a slurry of cornstarch and water.
Spice it up – Add some hot sauce to the pot if you want a spicier chili. You could also add this to individual bowls if you have some sensitive tummies. Other options are to add a can of diced green chiles or jalapenos or some red pepper flakes.
Easily double or triple this recipe to feed a bigger crowd.
WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS
Leftover turkey chili will freeze incredibly well. When it’s cooled, store it in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge, and reheat on the stove top uncovered.
In the fridge, leftovers will last 4-5 days if properly stored in an airtight container.
And here are a few more yummy chili recipes to try:
Place a large stockpot on the stove over medium heat. Add olive oil and onions and saute until onions are softened and lightly browned; about 5 minutes.
Add ground turkey and cook until turkey is no longer pink; about 5-7 minutes.
Add all spices (chili powder, cumin, garlic salt and mustard powder) to the pan and cook for several minutes to allow the spices to absorb completely.
Stir in tomatoes, beans and chicken broth. Lower the heat to low and continue to cook for at least 20-30, stirring often, as the chili thickens. (I recommend cooking for at least 45 minutes to an hour). Note, if you need to cook it faster, turn the heat up a little to help thicken and keep stirring often to keep it from scorchin on the bottom.
Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until it's completely melted and incorporated.
Serve with your favorite toppings, like cheese, sour cream, avocado, diced tomatoes, jalapenos, chips, etc.
This recipe is from a family friend of my mothers that has been in our family for over 30 years. I did adapt it a little over the years which is when the chocolate addition came in!
Let us know how it was by leaving a review or sharing on Instagram with the tag #yellowblissroad
Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.