Hearty, Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe


I’m not a huge fan of chili, but until recently I’d never been introduced to my friend the Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe ™. Don’t let my use of the word “healthy” in this dish lead you astray, though–this dish is pure comfort fare through and through.

Remember how I mentioned last week that this year has been hard? Well it got even rougher over the weekend. My bestest friend, a now 14-year old kitty named Rocky, has been having some pretty bummer health issues. We’ve had to take him to the vet twice in the past few days, and he doesn’t seem to be feeling much better. And in case you’re wondering how awesome he is, that’s a copy of Michel Roux’s Desserts he’s sleeping on.

Rockington J. Catt
So, as you can imagine, I’ve been sad. Not as sad as Rocky is, with his poor, shabby coat and six pills a day, but pretty close. He’s been my bud for longer than almost anyone in my life, and he’s been my only consistent male companion all these years. This cat has seen me through a lot. Health issues, bad friends, bad boyfriends, a bad marriage… you name it. The idea of losing him is almost too much to bear.

This weekend I wanted an easy dish for dinner, but something that, despite its ease of preparation, could hold my heart in its hand with all the warmth and comfort it could muster. This healthy turkey chili recipe is one of the most delicious chili dishes I’ve ever had. Rich and thick with a kiss of spice and tartness, you’ll want to eat this for dinner on the good days, the bad days, and every day in between.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Hearty, Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This healthy turkey chili recipe is one of the most delicious chili dishes I've ever had. Rich and thick with a kiss of spice and tartness, you'll want to eat this for dinner every day.
  • 2 slices good bacon, chopped coarsely
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey, dark or light meat
  • Two 15-ounce cans kidney beans
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 large bay leaf or 2 small bay leaves
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar, + more to taste
  • Sour cream for topping
  1. Set oven rack to the middle of your oven. Preheat to 325°F (163°C).
  2. Heat bacon in a dutch oven over medium heat. Cook until the bacon has released most of its fat, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add shallots and cook until gently browned.
  3. Turn heat up to medium-high and add turkey to Dutch oven. Cook until the ground meat is well browned. Add kidney beans and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, chili flakes, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon. Stir well. Add in tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, and bell pepper, stirring well to mix together. Slide the Dutch oven into the oven and cook for 2 to 3 hours, uncovered, until the chili has thickened.
  4. Remove the chili from the oven and stir in red wine vinegar. Stir well and add more vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream.
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Comments from other ninjas:

  1. Turner Houston says

    Stephanie–my heart goes out to you. Caring for our animal companions in their last months of life is devastatingly sad. But oh my gosh, pouring our love on them and helping them leave us in as little pain as possible, surrounded by your vast love is the ultimate way to repay (some of) the love they gave US. My heart is with you…

  2. Paulette says

    It’s very sad in the last stages in our beloved pets life and for there parents. I swore I would not own another pet after my dog Madison passed. It was so hard on me and my husband. She was our child but I told Madison I was sorry I could not get another pet, the hurt was too much. But I did tell her before she passed I would only get another pet if it showed up on my doorstep, cold, lost and lonely and then and only then would I get another pet. Guess what Punkin a cat of six years old who has the same coloring as your Rocky showed up on my doorstep, freezing and shaking on one cold winter January day. As I write this she is sleeping in her cat bed content. I never owned a cat before so this is all to new to me. Rock knows just how much you love him. I hope for the best. Paulette

  3. thad says

    For everyone that is concerned about Rocky: he is doing SUPER good at the moment now! He is on an IV every other day and is back to being a pest, and playing with his toys :)

  4. Louis Handley says

    Hei – Glad to here that Rocky is up and about!

    Thanks for the wonderful work on the Turkey Chili Recipe – this one I just have to try . . . . . but perhaps with a bit more chili . . . . hope you don’t mind!

  5. Kim Beaulieu says

    New to your site but just wanted to say how sorry I am your little buddy is not well. We had one of ours get sick with kidney issues a couple of years ago. Lots of meds and treatments, we managed to keep him well for about a year. Lost him and our 14 year old dog the same year. Broke my heart into pieces. They become family. Our horse is 25 and I swear they’ll need to admit me when her time comes. I won’t be able to take it. Glad your guy is doing better.

    Love this recipe. Hearty and gorgeous. I could go for a giant bowl of this right now.

  6. Rosie says

    When I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new
    comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I receive 4
    emails with the exact same comment. Is there an easy method you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thanks a lot!