Simple Turkey Chili

Turkey ChiliI’ve been looking for other things to do with ground turkey, and Ktok was craving chili lately, so it sounded like we had a winner as far as making a meal. There are three “best parts” about making a recipe like this: 1) You can make the servings as large or small as you want (though this recipe serves about 8), 2) It only took about an hour to cook (although I’m sure it would be just as good if done in a slow cooker), and 3) LEFTOVERS! I like having meals already made for raid night!

This was REALLY easy to make and I thought it tasted really good as-is. I’m sure you can modify it to fit your diet needs and taste preferences.

Simple Turkey Chili


1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
2 cups water
1 (28 ounce) can canned crushed tomatoes
1 (16 ounce) can canned kidney beans – drained, rinsed, and mashed
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Place turkey in the pot, and cook until evenly brown.
  • Stir in onion, and cook until tender.
  • Pour water into the pot.
  • Mix in tomatoes, kidney beans, and garlic.
  • Add seasonings: chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir well to mix.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.

Aili’s Notes:

We used a large 8-Qt. pot that we usually use for cooking things like the lasagna noodles. We probably could have done just as well with our large griddle pan, but you need more than a regular sauce pot. This could probably also be made in a slow cooker.

I definitely recommend chopping the onion and measuring out the spices ahead of time. Once it starts cooking it goes pretty fast.

I used 93/7 ground turkey for this. Between the turkey and the olive oil, there was plenty to drain before I threw in the onion. I know the recipe didn’t mention it, but I felt it was a necessary step. Plus, it got rid of a little more fat!

I didn’t find crushed tomatoes, so I used petite diced. I’m sure someone who likes their chili spicy might consider getting the cans of diced tomatoes with diced chili peppers. Those cans are more expensive, and I was trying to shop on a budget. They also have 2 oz. more (according to my store, we’d have to buy 3 10 oz. cans instead of 1 28 oz. can of regular diced tomatoes) but if you like your tomatoes, go for it!

We did NOT mash the kidney beans. I like mine whole. They were drained and rinsed, though.

We keep minced garlic in a jar on hand at all times. I love garlic, but hate dealing with cloves. This helps speed things along. You can’t even taste the garlic in the chili (or I can’t, but I’m a “You can’t have too much garlic!” person) so add as much or little as you’d like.

We accidentally threw in the turkey before turning on the heat, so I had to toss in the olive oil and start browning it that way. (Ktok got it started while I was printing the recipe, and he was on the phone with his mom at the time to wish her a happy Mother’s Day…I highly recommend paying attention when you’re cooking! XD I took over from there!) I don’t think it affected the chili overall, but it might have been easier if we had done it according to the instructions.

I chopped up the onion into medium sized pieces. I considered using the food processor for it, but I really didn’t want it too small…I also am not a HUGE onion fan, so I didn’t make them too big, either.

In the end, this was a fairly watery chili, and I’m sure that would have been taken care of had we cooked it for longer and/or uncovered. I might reduce the amount of water used in future batches, or just cook it longer. But I didn’t think it affected the taste.

It was REALLY good with some shredded low-fat sharp cheddar cheese and a dollop of low-fat sour cream.

I was able to split my batch into 7 servings rather than 8. I’m sure I could have been a little more exact with measuring it into 8 bowls, but 7’s close enough. I didn’t think it would serve 8 to be honest, but there certainly was plenty! If you are able to get 8 servings out of this, it comes out to less than 200 calories per serving!

I loved the taste of this, and felt that making it with turkey made the spice flavors really come out. And that was the first night! I can’t wait until we have our first batch of leftovers tonight!

Posted on May 9, 2011, in Recipes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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