Healthy Turkey Chili – Slender Kitchen

Healthy Turkey Chili – Slender Kitchen

A healthy turkey chili recipe that can be made in under 35 minutes for a delicious weeknight meal! This ground turkey chili will leave you feeling full and satisfied without the guilt.

295 CAL 26g CARBS 6g FAT 36g PROTEIN 1

This good for you Turkey Chili recipe is a quick and easy way to enjoy chili any night of the week. Trust me, it tastes like it has been simmering for hours but takes just 35 minutes and it’s packed with lean protein, beans, and tons of flavor.  We also love this Easy White Chili Chicken and Slow Cooker Turkey Chili when you want a lightened-up chili.

Normally when I think about chili I think of a slow weekend meal where the chili simmers on the stove or in the slow cooker all day, but in real life sometimes a girl is craving chili and needs a quicker solution. Enter this dreamy Healthy Turkey Chili. The whole thing is ready in about 30 minutes but you would never know it from the deep flavor. It tastes like a chili that spent all day on the stove.

What’s the main difference that makes this chili option a bit healthier? Ground turkey! Making this lean ground turkey chili in place of the usual higher-fat ground beef does not change the flavor or texture in my opinion. Since most chili is made with higher-fat ground beef, this is just a lower-fat, lower-calorie chili option that still tastes amazing. 

Why You’ll Love This Turkey Chili

Chili is one of my favorite meals. everyone loves it! 

  • Ready in 30 minutes:  Unlike traditional chili that takes hours on the stove, this chili is ready in 30 minutes making it great for weeknight meals.
  • Great for meal prep: While I love eating chili right from the bowl, it’s also great for meal prep. Make a big batch of chili and use leftovers served over pasta or spaghetti squash, to make healthy chili dogs or nachos, or served with eggs. Plus chili tastes even better after a night in the fridge. 
  • Lighter and healthier:  This chili is packed with extra veggies, high-fiber beans, and ground turkey which is packed with lean protein.

Ingredients and Easy Swaps

Here is everything you need to make this tasty turkey chili.

  • Ground turkey: If you want to make a low-calorie turkey chili, reach for 99% lean ground turkey or ground chicken. If you aren’t as concerned about calories or fat, you could use 93% lean turkey or 85% lean turkey. This recipe also works with ground beef, just look for a leaner option. 
  • Onion and garlic: Onion and garlic are essential in a chili recipe to build deep flavor. Any type of onion will work including yellow onion, white onion, or red onion. 
  • Bell pepper and celery: Although not always traditional in chili, I love adding more veggies and flavor with bell peppers and celery. Any color bell pepper works. You can also add diced carrots, corn, cauliflower (or cauliflower rice), or some greens if you like.
  • Jalapeno and chipotle peppers: Many chili recipes rely on tons of chili powder for flavor and spice, but I prefer using fresh jalapeno peppers and canned chipotle peppers. The combination adds the perfect amount of spice and smokiness. 
  • Spices: Use a combination of chili powder, oregano, cumin, and bay leaf to add flavor. You could also add some garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika if you like. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper are also important to make all the flavors pop.
  • Diced tomatoes: Any canned diced tomatoes can be used in this recipe, just make sure to add both the tomatoes and juice.  For a stronger tomato flavor, add some tomato paste as well. 
  • Chicken broth: Use chicken broth, beef broth (for a more traditional flavor), or vegetable broth in this recipe.
  • Kidney beans: Kidney beans are the most traditional option for chili, but you could use any beans you like including black beans, white beans, pinto beans, or even chickpeas. 

How to Make Healthy Turkey Chili

Now that I have you convinced to try this healthy turkey chili alternative, let me explain the prepping process.

  1. Wash your onion, red pepper, celery, and jalapeno and dice them to your desired size.
  2. Saute the veggies and garlic in a touch of olive oil. The key to getting a nice deep flavor is starting by sauteing all the veggies to bring out and deepen their flavor. Allow them to cook for 5-8 minutes until onions are beginning to become translucent.
  3. Add the turkey and spices – chili powder, oregano, cumin, and bay leaf are added. Cook this combination for 6-8 minutes, breaking up the turkey, until it is browned. Adding the spices early helps deepen their flavor as well. For more tomato flavor, add a few spoonfuls of tomato paste as well during this step. 
  4.  Add the tomatoes, broth, and beans to create a thick, rich chili. This final mixture should simmer for about 10 minutes to allow all the flavors to blend.
  5. Taste and season as needed. Add extra chili powder or chipotle for more spice. Add more chicken broth for a thinner chili. Add salt if needed. Add cumin for smoke. You get the idea. 

Best Healthy Chili Toppings

In terms of making this turkey chili recipe your own, you can personalize it in all sorts of ways but my personal favorite is the toppings.

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Queso cotija
  • Avocado or guacamole
  • Diced onions
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Green onions
  • Baked tortillas chips
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Sliced or pickled jalapenos

Ground turkey chili in a wooden bowl with cilantro and cheese.

Tips and Recipe Ideas for Turkey Chili

This recipe is versatile and there are so many options for making it your own.

  • Beans: You could switch up the beans by using black beans, cannellini beans, or even chickpeas.
  • Sweet potato or squash: You could also add some diced sweet potato or butternut squash to add some sweetness to the dish.
  • Add warm spices: Add some cinnamon to the spice mixture. It adds a delicious, surprising flavor to the chili, that I love.
  • Swap the protein: This chili can be made with any kind of ground meat or even vegetarian crumbles. I have made it successfully with extra lean beef, chicken, and turkey sausage. I use whatever I have at home.
  • Want some veggies? Add in some cauliflower, spinach, zucchini, or corn for even more veggie goodness. Your family won’t even notice that there are added veggies.
  • Less spicy: If you don’t like things too spicy, you can swap in poblano pepper instead of fresh jalapeno. Try to use at least some of the chipotles (or just the adobo sauce) since they adds a nice smoky flavor to the chili.

Meal Prep and Storage

We talked about how we’re all busy, right? This is one of those recipes that is perfect for meal prep. Make up a big batch on the weekend and even consider doubling or tripling it so that you can freeze the leftovers. Pack up your favorite toppings on the side and then just assemble at mealtime.

  • Fridge: Store this in an airtight container for 4-5 days in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • Freezer: Let the chili fully cool and then freeze for up to 3 months. 
  • Reheat: Let the chili defrost overnight in the fridge and then reheat on the stove or in the microwave

Ways to Use Leftover Chili

This is one of those recipes that you will want to double or even triple since there are so many different ways to use it. 

  • Chili mac: Serve this healthy turkey chili over cooked pasta, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles. Top with some shredded cheddar cheese and green onions.
  • Baked potatoes: Make baked potatoes or baked sweet potatoes and top with leftover chili and all your favorite toppings.
  • Stuffed zucchini or squash: Hollow out some zucchini, butternut squash, or eggplant. Fill with leftover chili and top with shredded cheese. Bake until tender. 
  • Nachos or queso: Make homemade nachos  (with baked chips or mini bell peppers) with leftover chili or fold your chili into this healthy queso for a delicious homemade chili con queso. 
  • With eggs: Chili is delicious with scrambled eggs or as a topping for omelets or frittatas. 

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