This recipe was originally published at an earlier date. It has been improved, updated, and re-photographed for you today!
This healthy turkey chili is thick and delicious with just the right amount of spice! Lean ground turkey and black beans provide plenty of protein too for a delicious and filling slow cooker meal or one-pan dinner recipe.
Cold days call for chili in my book. When the air begins to crisp up in September I know it’s time to reach for this healthy chili recipe again and add it back into our healthy fall dinner rotation.
Really chili is practically a year round food for this family because it’s so easy to make and everyone in our house loves it, but it’s especially perfect during the colder months! Sometimes you just need comfort food! You can make this lightened up turkey chili on the stovetop in just 30 minutes or pop it in the slow cooker for an all day simmer!
I try to always make a double batch so we can eat one and freeze one for later (see below for freezing instructions). Or I might take one batch to a friend or neighbor because nothing says “get well soon” or “life sucks but hopefully it will get better soon” like food delivered to your door. Or I’ll save the leftovers and we can eat them with hot dogs or mix into some melted Velveeta for some chili con queso! (<<so. not. healthy. but SO good)
How do you make healthy chili?
I love how flexible this chili is…that’s why it is one of our go-to meals! By using lean ground turkey instead of a fattier cut of beef you can cut down on the unhealthy fats in this chili without sacrificing any of the delicious flavor! I also prefer to use black beans in my chili but using pinto or chili beans is fine too! I think a lot of cooking the best pot of chili comes down to personal preference. So don’t be afraid to get creative and taste as you go!
Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe
Healthy Turkey Chili
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder more if you like it spicy!
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- red pepper flakes to taste
- 1 can black beans
- For stovetop: Pour oil into large panover heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add ground turkey to the pan and cook until no pink remains. Pour in tomatoes and tomato sauce. Next add chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes to fuse flavors. Add black beans and return heat to medium until beans are cooked through, approximately 8 minutes. Top with cheddar cheese and sour cream.
- For slow cooker: Pour oil into large pan over heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add ground turkey to the pan and cook until no pink remains. Transfer onion and turkey to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Stir. Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.
What should I put in my chili?
A lot of chili recipes call for a teaspoon or so of sugar to help reduce the acidity of the tomatoes. I haven’t been able to tell the difference with it there or not so I just leave it out–less sugar, even a little bit, sounds good to me!
Also, we leave out bell peppers, because we have some picky eaters, but if you’d like to add them in just dice and add with the onions. Truly, chili is a preference thing, so don’t be afraid to customize your turkey chili recipe to exactly your liking!
What toppings are good on chili?
What a wonderful question! Toppings make everything better! It’s like the confetti of chili. We keep things simple in our household and serve our healthy turkey chili with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of shredded cheese and some crackers. If you want to add some spicy peppers or fritos to the top, you do you.
Can Turkey Chili be Frozen?
Absolutely!! To freeze chili first let it come to room temperature. Then place in quart freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as you possibly can. Next, I like to lay it flat to freeze (saves space) or I try to flash freeze in container of similar size and shape to my crockpot. (<<< a real pro tip!) Then after it has frozen completely remove the bag from the container a couple hours later and it will still hold the shape. I get all my freezing tips and info from this cookbook! I highly recommend it if you are interested in freezing ahead some healthy dinners!
How long do you let chili simmer for?
The short answer is as long as possible, and the long answer is anything longer than 10-15 minutes is good. When we are short on time I cut it short and this recipe is still delicious! But the more time you give it the better it tastes! I think that’s why I love making this turkey chili in the slow cooker–it basically simmers all day and the flavors blend in a really awesome way!
What goes good with turkey chili?
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Make a big bowl of this awesome + healthy turkey chili and it will make you feel warm and cozy in your heart while also being good for your heart.
What toppings do you like on your chili?