Listen up folks. The weather is chilly, our bellies are hungry, and our crock pots are ready. It’s time to try the best, soul nurturing, healthy turkey chili recipe. Made with lean ground turkey, red kidney beans, and a variety of chopped aromatics, you’ll make this by the bucket.
Bonus points: this chili makes AMAZING leftovers, so double up on the recipe and eat like a queen, or king, all week. You can also repurpose the leftovers for another meal, such as Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes!
I can make this recipe in two ways, and either way it always starts on the stovetop for me. However, I will outline below where you can start using your slow cooker after about 5 minutes.
Turkey Chili Recipe with beans
Listen, I grew up in NJ so there was no such thing as the great bean or no bean debate in my world. In Jersey, we argue about whether you call it Taylor Ham or Pork Roll, Hoagies or Subs, the existence of central Jersey, etc.
Now that I’m a girl of North Carolina, I still don’t think there is a bean debate as much as their is a barbeque sauce debate. Did you know there is even a greater divide on the better bbq sauce between western NC and Eastern NC?! The things we learn…
So with that, there are dark red kidney beans in my chili recipe and until I taste something phenomenally different, they will stay.
Turkey instead of Beef
The great thing about chili is that it’s totally adaptable to your tastes, preferences, and dietary needs.
This recipe is packed with bold, hearty flavors, giving all the ingredients an opportunity to shine. Using ground turkey does not interfere with the wonderful development of spices and flavor during the long, slow cook.
It soaks up all that great flavor and saves you a few calories while at it.
If you are so inclined, feel free to use ground beef but be sure to drain out any excess liquids (fats and oils) before adding it to the rest of the recipe.
Fresh vegetables are key
Typically, the only acceptable shortcuts are when you use products you already have on hand instead. Here, the only shortcut we take is using dried spices for a potion of the recipe.
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Otherwise, you absolutely want to use fresh onion, fresh jalepeno, fresh celery and fresh garlic.
All fresh vegetables should be minced well, sauteed and sweated out to extract maximum flavor.
The shortcut is then adding a packet of Mild McCormick Chili Seasoning Mix.
Let’s get to it…
Stove Top Cooking Instructions
First, as mentioned above, finely chop all fresh vegetables and set aside into separate little piles.
In a large saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Once warmed, add the onion and celery and stir every 1-2 minutes until translucent.
Then, add peppers and cook until soft, another 2-3 minutes. Finally, add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Once all veggies are cooked through and fragrant, add one can of tomato sauce (use the good stuff: Tuttorosso Tomato Sauce), beans and the packet of chili seasoning. Turn heat down to low, mix well and cover with lid.
In a separate pan, on medium high heat, add a drizzle of oil and the ground turkey. Allow to slightly sear and break into small pieces as it cooks. Cooked until browned.
Once the turkey is browned, add it to the pot of sauce and mix thoroughly. All to simmer on low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring from time to time so the bottom doesn’t burn.
30 minutes before serving, add the chopped chunks of cheddar cheese and allow it melt and stir well.
Crock Pot Cooking Instructions
If cooking the chili in a crock pot, add all of the veggies, uncooked, with the Tuttorosso Tomato Sauce and chili seasoning into the basin.
You still want to brown the turkey or beef on the stove to give it a nice sear. If you add the ground meat into the crockpot raw, you’ll have a ‘mushier’ texture. This is fine if you like super fine pieces of meat, but we like it a little chunky and searing it first keeps it more in tact.
Add in chopped chunks of cheddar cheese and beans and close the lid.
Set slow cooker on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours.
What to serve with it
The best things to serve with this ground turkey chili recipe is toasty slices of Italian bread. Sorry low carb friends! However, it’s only 10 net carbs when enjoyed without the bread!
Easy Turkey Chili Recipe
Recipes You’ll Love:
Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 15oz can Dark Red Kidney Beans drained and rinsed
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1 jalapeno seeded and minced
- 1/2 yellow onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic mined
- 1 28 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 cup cheddar cheese cubed
- 4 tbsp cream cheese
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 packet McCormick Mild Chili Seasoning Mix
- Wash, peel and deseed all produce where necessary.
- Finely chop all fresh vegetables and set aside into separate little piles.
Stove Top Instructions
- In a large pot, add 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. and add the onion and celery and stir to sweat them out and cook until fragrant. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Then, add the peppers and cook -3 minutes followed by the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add tomato sauce, beans and the packet of chili seasoning to the pot and turn heat to low, mix well and cover. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a separate pan, add a drizzle of oil and the ground turkey on medium high heat and cook until browned. Allow to slightly sear and break into small pieces as it cooks.
- Once the turkey is browned, add it to the pot of sauce and mix thoroughly. Simmer on low for 3-4 hours, mixing from time to time so the bottom doesn’t burn.
- Before removing from heat to serve add the cheddar cheese and let it melt and mix it in until combined.
- In your serving bowls, add one tablespoon of cream cheese and top with the chili and mix well.
- Serve with toasted Italian bread.