Turkey Chili [RECIPE]

Turkey chili

Want the chili but not the beef? Try cooking up this yummy bowl of red using ground turkey instead. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

If you’re trying to reduce your intake of beef for one reason or another, but still get a hankering for warm chili on a cold day, try this recipe which takes the moo out of the comfort food favorite and replaces it with a gobble. It’s equally delicious and cooks up in no time.

Turkey and onionsFirst, I like to brown a pound of ground turkey and one small white onion, diced, in a large 12-inch skillet with high sides, or in a Dutch oven, over medium heat. Cook until the onion comes out translucent and the turkey is crumbled and no longer pink.

Dark red kidney beans

This recipe is really versatile, and while you can pretty much use any beans you prefer, I like using traditional dark red kidney beans. Just pop open a can and dump it in the skillet. You don’t have to rinse them. I find that not rinsing them actually thickens up the chili a little bit.

Diced green chiles

Add in a can of chopped green chiles. These aren’t really hot, they just add another delicious level of yummy flavor to the mix. Of course, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can always char, steam, peel and dice your favorite pepper and toss it in. Sometimes I do this with poblano chiles if I want something a bit spicier and I have the time and inclination to do it!

Rotel tomatoes and tomato paste

Now it’s time to add a bit more color to the pan. Drain the liquid from a can of Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and green chilies, then pour the tomatoes into the skillet. Add about a tablespoon of tomato paste to add extra depth of flavor here, and stir everything together. I like using the tomato paste that comes in a tube rather than in a can so I don’t have to find a container to store the leftover tomato paste in. That way, you can just put the cap on the tube and store it in the fridge until next time you need it. A little dab will do ya!

Chili powder

Now it’s time to add the spice! Stir in two teaspoons of chili powder and half a teaspoon of garlic salt. If chili has the tendency to make you a little gassy, you may want to put in a sprinkling of epazote, which I like to call mother nature’s Beano. It’s amazing how effective this stuff is at taking away those embarrassing moments on game day!


Pour in 1 1/2 cups of water and stir. If you have beef broth handy, you can use that instead, but water works just fine here. Let the mixture come to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let it cook until you have the desired consistency, about 15 to 20 minutes or so.

Turkey chili

To serve, ladle a cup of the turkey chili into a bowl, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and serve with oyster crackers or a steaming slice of skillet cornbread. If you want a little extra heat, dash a bit of Tabasco Sauce on for good measure. Enjoy!

PREP: 5 minutes
COOK: 20 minutes


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles (We recommend using a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes.)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt


  1. Cook ground turkey and onions in a large 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven until meat is browned and onion is translucent.
  2. Add beans and remaining ingredients; stir. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat and cook until desired consistency is achieved, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and oyster crackers or corn bread.

YIELDS: 5 cups

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

One Response to Turkey Chili [RECIPE]

  1. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    Cold weather got your teeth chattering? Serve up a steaming bowl of hearty turkey chili this winter. It is just as yummy as the beef version, and you won’t miss the red meat.

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