Quick(ish) Turkey Chili

Oh, chili. I could eat it every single day for the rest of my life and I would be content. The ability to make virtually endless variations is why it’s a favorite, but also makes it hard for me to decide which one to share first! For me, chili always starts with beef, ground turkey, chicken, ground soy, or sausage. I “chose” ground turkey here simply because it was the first thing I took out of my freezer. Here’s an easy recipe that packs a lot of flavor without taking up an entire afternoon. You can play around with the amounts of veggies, beans, meat, spices, etc. Double up on the ingredients if you’re feeding a crowd or want leftovers (leftovers are the best part!).


serves 4

  • 2 tsp butter/margarine/oil of choice
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen corn, or 1 can
  • 8 ounces ground turkey (or whatever you have kicking around in the fridge or freezer)
  • 2 15-ounce cans of your choice of beans (pinto, kidney, cannelleni, etc)
  • 1-2 cups crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce or puree
  • Chili seasoning: either 1 packet of ready-made chili mix, or stir up 1 tbsp. chili powder, 1 teaspoon each cumin, onion and garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Toppings of your choice- sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, scallions, cilantro,  jalapenos,  gummy bears…

1. In a large pot, heat your chosen fat over medium heat. Add peppers and onions and saute for 5-6 minutes, until it’s looking like this.

Add corn and garlic and cook for 3-5 more minutes, stirring often so garlic doesn’t burn. I took a can of drained corn and flash-roasted it in a 450º oven for a few minutes to char it and deepen its sweetness, but you don’t have to take that extra step. It adds another layer of flavor, though.

Push the veggies in the pot to one side, add ground turkey and brown. When the turkey’s thoroughly cooked, stir in the drained beans and tomato sauce and heat together for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Tomato sauce tends to erupt when heating, so stirring diligently is a must!

Now add your spice blend or mix. Heat on low for 10-20 minutes, once again stirring often or when you notice it bubbling like a witch’s brew. It’s important to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot; burned chili is tragic. I spiffed mine up with a few dashes of Frank’s Red Hot, a spoonful of sour cream and some reduced-fat shredded cheese. Result: Pretty nom-iful, and it took less than an hour.