The best turkey chili recipe is not only delicious and flavorful but is also nutrient-dense and low-calorie. This cozy dish is perfect, whether you are prepping healthy meals for the week or cooking to impress your guests!
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The Nutrition Benefits of Turkey Chili
Turkey chili is the perfect dish if you are looking for major flavor but also want a low-calorie meal that maxes out on nutrients. Plus, it is just so appetizing during these cold winter months!
Healthy Can Be Delicious!
This turkey chili recipe is so flavorful because it includes generous portions of several spices that interact for maximum taste bud satisfaction. You can also easily increase or decrease how spicy the chili turns out by adjusting the amount of chili powder and red pepper flakes you add.
Where Do the Nutrients Come From?
This recipe is incredibly nutrient-dense because it is packed with vitamin-rich vegetables, including bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, onion, and jalapeno. It also calls for red kidney beans, which are high in fiber to help you feel fuller for longer after eating and reduce how much your meal spikes your blood glucose (sugar).
I also encourage you to use chicken bone broth in this recipe instead of chicken stock. This will increase the amounts of protein and collagen (for glowing skin and hair and mobile joints!) in the dish. Kettle and Fire makes my go-to bone broth- their products use only the best organic, hormone-free ingredients. Using their chicken bone broth to prepare this turkey chili dish will add an impressive 20g of protein to the recipe!
Last but not least, the ground turkey used in this recipe is a nutritious source of lean protein. I always cook with ground turkey made from dark meat, because it tends to be more flavorful and moist (so it absorbs the spices better!). Make sure to choose organic ground turkey when possible, and aim for at least 90% lean.
Keep in mind that the higher quality protein you purchase, the more nutrients it will contain. My recommendation for buying the most nutritious protein is Crowd Cow. This is because they adhere to the highest standards of food quality. And, you can truly taste the difference! Learn more by clicking the banner below!
The Secrets to Low-Calorie Chili
Turkey chili is an ideal dish if your goals relate to weight management, such as weight loss or weight maintenance. This is because all of the amazingly nutritious ingredients described above are low in calories. Another benefit of a meal made of mostly vegetables and lean protein is that you can eat a generous portion size. This means you can easily stick within any calorie range you’re targeting for your weight loss goals. Plus, the high protein content in this meal will help you stay full for many hours after eating, which is a science-backed key to weight loss.
The Best Turkey Chili Recipe, Revealed!
This recipe is adapted from the New York Times Cooking’s Turkey Chili recipe. I made a number of changes to the recipe to increase the amounts of vegetables and protein and reduce the fat content. I will also share my healthy suggestions for tasty toppings (so long, sour cream!). The nutrition info for my adaptation of the NYT Cooking recipe will save you nearly 300 calories and 25g of fat per serving!
Step 1: Brown the Ground Turkey
Heat a large stockpot over medium heat with avocado oil cooking spray. When heated, add a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes. Then, add 2 pounds of 96% lean dark meat ground turkey and cook until browned.
Step 2: Chop and Season the Vegetables
Note: it is helpful to work on this while you’re waiting for the turkey to brown!
In a large glass bowl, dice 2 white onions, 2 red peppers, 6 celery stalks, and 1 jalapeno pepper (if you want a little spice!).
Then, season with 1 tbsp oregano, 3-4 tbsp chili powder (depending on your spice preference!), 2 tsp ground cumin, and 2 bay leaves.
Mix well to combine the spices.
Step 3: Add the Seasoned Veggies to the Turkey
Once the turkey meat has browned, add the seasoned veggies and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Jason and I are big garlic lovers, so we always add an extra spoonful of minced garlic.
Step 4: Add Tomatoes and Bone Broth
Next, add in 3 cups of canned (undrained) diced tomatoes (look for an organic, no-salt-added brand like Muir Glen), 2 cups of Kettle and Fire chicken bone broth, and salt/pepper to taste. I cook with Himalayan pink salt to add in some bonus minerals like magnesium!
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Step 5: Add Kidney Beans
Last, add in 2 cans (drained) of red kidney beans and simmer over medium heat for another 15 minutes.
Step 6: Serve!
The recipe is designed to serve 6 but with the added veggies, we usually get 8 portions out of it!
The typical chili toppings are adding about 1 oz cheddar cheese + 2 tbsp sour cream will add 170 calories and 13g of fat to your dish. If you have a weight loss goal, you might as well get the most out of these calories and eat another half portion of chili!
Instead, I recommend adding 1/2 oz sharp cheddar cheese (stronger taste to max out reduced portion size!) + 5 saltine crackers. You’ll still get the cheesy goodness and also the tasty bonus of a little crunch. This alternative topping is 125 calories and 6g of fat.
Ingredients and Nutrition Facts for the Best Turkey Chili Recipe
For those of you who log your food intake, here’s all the info you’ll need. (And if you’re curious about why I recommend it, learn more here!)
- Avocado oil cooking spray
- 2 tsp (or much more!) minced garlic
- 2 pounds dark meat ground turkey (96% lean, organic if possible)
- 2 white onions
- 2 red peppers
- 6 stalks celery
- 1-2 jalepeno peppers (depending on your spice preference)
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 3-4 tbsp chili powder (to taste based on your spice preference)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 3 cups canned diced tomatoes (undrained)
- 2 15-oz cans of red kidney beans (drained)
- 2 cups Kettle and Fire chicken bone broth (adds 20g of protein to the recipe!)
- Salt/pepper to taste
Serves 6, with each serving containing 331 calories, 3g fat, 397mg sodium, 36g carbohydrates, 13g fiber (=23g net carbs), 7g sugar, and a whopping 43g of protein!
Don’t forget to add the nutrition info for any toppings you add to this delicious chili!
Dr. Schulte’s Summary
Turkey chili is a perfect recipe to satisfy your craving for cozy comfort food because it is low in calories and packed with nutrients. The quality of the ingredients you cook with can make a big difference in how nutritious your meals turn out.
My go-to for the highest quality, hormone-free meat (like the turkey in this recipe!) is Crowd Cow. Click the banner below to get $100 of free meat + free shipping on your first order!
I hope this recipe becomes a staple in your house as it has become in mine. Whether you’re prepping a healthy meal for the week or cooking for a party, this delicious recipe never disappoints.
Comment below if you would rather make this chili for a healthy dinner at home or bring it to your next potluck event!
Disclaimer: all opinions are my own and are not affiliated with my employers. Please seek medical guidance before pursuing weight loss or making significant changes to the way you eat or your physical activity routine.