Thick & Healthy Turkey Chili is a hearty chili made with lean turkey, red kidney beans, corn, and bell pepper. It's loaded with protein and fiber without sacrificing any flavor. This easy dinner can be made in under 45 minutes and yields plenty of leftovers for days on end.
This Turkey Chili is always in the weeknight dinner rotation. We make it about once a month and it lasts us 3-4 nights (2 nights for a whole family of 4). As a result, we have fewer dishes, less cooking, and more time to spend together and with our pups.
We particularly enjoy a hot bowl of this ground turkey chili with a side of Miso Cornbread year-round, even in the summer months.
About Turkey Chili
- Taste - While lean and healthy, this chili is also very flavorful and satisfying.
- Texture - The chili ingredients are cooked down until perfectly tender. Baked tortilla strips provide a nice crunch.
- Effort - This chili is simple. Just cook the onions and bell pepper, then the turkey, then add the rest of the ingredients. While the chili cooks, you can make crunchy tortilla strips and greek yogurt topping if you desire.
- Time - It takes just 10 minutes to prep then about 25 minutes to cook everything.
How to Make This Recipe Vegetarian or Vegan
While this gluten free recipe calls for turkey, you can easily make it vegetarian. In lieu of meat, you can use chickpeas or an additional serving of kidney beans. You can also substitute the dairy toppings, including Greek yogurt and cheese, for non-dairy options or completely omit them. Either way, the chili will be flavorful and delicious.
How to Make This Recipe More Mild or Spicier
Reducing or increasing spice in this recipe is easy. To make the recipe milder, omit or reduce the amount of chili flakes in the recipe. If you want to add more spice, you can add an additional can of diced green chiles, increase the amount of chili flakes in the recipe, or add a couple tablespoons of chili powder.
- Bean medley - Substitute kidney beans with a combination of black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans if you want more variety in the chili.
- Ground Beef - Use ground beef if you prefer the texture or taste of ground beef to turkey. We suggest using lean ground beef so the chili is still as healthy as possible.
Healthy Turkey Chili has lean turkey meat and healthy ingredients that offer texture and flavor. My secret ingredient soy sauce, which gives the chili a sweet and savory umami taste.
Steps to Make Chili
- Cook the Aromatics - First, in a 5-quart dutch oven or large pot, heat oil on medium heat. Then, add green or red bell pepper and onion and cook until the onion is fragrant and translucent, or for about 3-5 minutes.
- Brown the Turkey - Add the ground turkey breast to the pot and break apart the meat into crumbly pieces. Allow the turkey to cook until it is browned. Stir in garlic and soy sauce, and simmer for a few more minutes.
- Add the Flavor - Add tomatoes, water, corn, kidney beans, chiles, bay leaf, cumin, chili flakes, and salt to the pot. Once you have added the ingredients, stir them until well-mixed.
- Cook - Cover the pot and cook over low to medium heat. Then, allow the chili to simmer for 25 minutes. As a result, all of the ingredients will meld together and draw out the flavors.
- Bake the Crunchy Garlic Tortilla Strips - While the chili is simmering, slice the corn tortillas into thirds, then cut each third into strips. In a mixing bowl, toss the tortilla strips with vegetable oil, garlic powder, and salt to taste until evenly coated. Once coated, place the tortilla strips on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Make the Homemade Greek Yogurt - While the chili is simmering, use a food processor to pulse and blend Greek yogurt, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, lemon juice, green onions, and water until creamy and well mixed, about 30 seconds.
- Sit and Serve - Once the chili is cooked, let it sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken. Serve the chili in bowls and garnish with Crunchy Garlic Tortilla Strips, cheese, Greek yogurt, onions, cilantro, and lime juice.
What to Serve with Turkey Chili
This simple turkey chili requires a few kitchen essentials, all of which can be used for many other common recipes. To make this chili, you will need a knife, cutting board, medium pot or dutch oven. You can also use a slow cooker or crock pot for this recipe. You can cook it on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 hours.
Storing this Ground Turkey Chili incredibly easy. After you make the chili, store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can store the chili in smaller containers for meal prep.
To reheat the chili, transfer leftovers into a pot. Heat the chili over low-medium heat and occasionally stir.
The great part about this thick chili recipe is its flexibility. Besides controlling the spice level or making it vegetarian, you can also play with other aspects of the recipe like the amount of beans. For example, sometimes we just use 1 can of beans. If you or your family aren't fans of beans, feel free to reduce the amount of beans to 1 can or none, the chili will still be delicious.
Did You Like This Recipe?
If you loved this thick hearty chili, please rate and comment below! For more healthy weeknight dinner ideas, check out:
- HEALTHY PENNE ALLA VODKA
- DUTCH OVEN WHOLE CHICKEN WITH MEYER LEMON
- LEMONY SPRING RISOTTO WITH PEAS AND ASPARAGUS
Thick & Healthy Turkey Chili
- 1 knife
- 1 lb lean ground turkey breast
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 red or green bell pepper chopped
- 2 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes with juices
- 1 cup water
- 1 15 oz can whole kernel corn juice drained
- 2 15 oz cans kidney beans juice drained
- 1 can 4 oz can diced green chiles
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Crispy Tortilla Strips
Greek Yogurt Dressing
- Cojita or shredded cheddar cheese
- Greek yogurt sour cream, or creme fraiche
- Diced green onions
- Diced red onion
- Lime wedges
- In a 5 quart dutch oven or large pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add bell pepper and onion and cook until the onion is fragrant and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.1 onion, 1 red or green bell pepper, 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Add turkey breast and break apart the meat into crumbly pieces. Allow the turkey to cook until it is no longer pink. Stir in garlic and soy sauce, and simmer for 3 more minutes.1 lb lean ground turkey breast, 3 garlic cloves, ¼ cup soy sauce
- Add tomatoes, water, corn, kidney beans, chiles, bay leaf, cumin, chili flakes, and salt. Stir the ingredients until well-mixed.2 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes with juices, 1 cup water, 1 15 oz can whole kernel corn, 2 15 oz cans kidney beans, 1 can 4 oz can diced green chiles, 1 bay leaf, 4 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoon chili flakes, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cover the pot and turn the heat down to low-medium. Allow the chili to simmer for 25 minutes.
- While the chili is simmering, bake the Crunchy Garlic Tortilla Strips by slicing the corn tortillas into thirds, then cutting each third into strips. Next, in a mixing bowl, toss the tortilla strips with vegetable oil, garlic powder, and salt to taste until evenly coated. Once coated, place the tortilla strips on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving with chili.4 corn tortillas, 2 tablespoon vegetable oil, 2 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- While the chili is simmering, make the homemade Greek Yogurt by using a food processor to pulse and blend Greek yogurt, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, lemon juice, green onions, and water until creamy and well mixed, about 30 seconds.Greek yogurt, Diced green onions
- Once the chili is cooked, let it sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken. Serve in bowls and garnish with Crunchy Garlic Tortilla Strips, cheese, Greek yogurt, red onions, cilantro, and lime juice.1 onion, Cojita or shredded cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt, Cilantro, Lime wedges, Diced red onion
- To make Healthy Turkey Chili spicier, add another can of diced green chiles or more chili flakes.
- To make this recipe vegan, substitute turkey with an additional can of kidney beans.
- Store in an air-tight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in a pot on medium heat and stir occasionally.