Turkey chili con carne is an easy and healthier take on traditional beef chili, but just as punchy. Made with ground turkey and a delicious thick tomato and pinto bean sauce, this spicy dinner is perfect fresh off the stove or made from leftovers.
After a more streamlined chili recipe that you can enjoy without feeling like you’ve cheated? This guilt-free turkey chili does away with the rice and cranks up the flavor to give you a lighter, healthier alternative to the popular dish.
Chili is one of my favorite meals for so many reasons, one of which being what a practical meal it is: Make this stuff in batch and you have your next few meals taken care of.
What’s especially great about this recipe though is how it doesn’t leave you feeling heavy and guilty afterwards. Its use of lean turkey makes it a far healthier alternative to regular beef chilis. Plus, the tomato, sweetcorn and kidney bean content in it makes it filling enough to completely negate any need for rice.
Lean meat and (almost) carb-free! This is a guilt-free chili, and it’s beautiful. I’m always keen to hear other people’s interpretations of the recipes I share, so do let me know what you think of this one and if there’s anything you’d change. But for now, enjoy!
How to Thicken Chili
If your dish is too watery or thin, the best way to thicken chili is to make a slurry. A slurry is a combination of a starch and cold water whisked together to make a thick, viscous semi-liquid. Whisk cornstarch, arrowroot, or flour with some cold water and add to the chili to thicken it.
How to Thin Chili
If your chili is too thick, add about a quarter cup of liquid to the pot and stir through the mixture until the texture loosens. For best results, use broth to punch up the savory flavor of the chili. You can use water, but that will mute the flavor of the chili and water down the spice.
Turkey chili is a great make-ahead meal that you can store and use again.
Store chili, like most other leftovers, in a sealed, airtight container. In the refrigerator, chili can last for three to four days.
If you want to keep the leftover chili for even longer, you can freeze it. As long as the chili is in an airtight container and cools completely before it goes into the freezer, it can last for several weeks or months.
To reheat the chili, thaw to room temperature, then heat through on the stovetop, adding splashes of broth to keep it from drying out. Or, you can heat it in the microwave without even having to wait for it to thaw.
Here are some tips to make your chili the best it can be.
- Tone down the spiciness by adding a sweetener such as honey or sugar. You can also cut through the spice with citrus such as lemon juice or lime wedges, or dairy, such as a topping of sour cream.
- While turkey meat is healthier than ground beef or pork, it is missing some of that hearty, meaty flavor. Adding chopped up Portobello mushrooms increases the umami and meatiness of the chili. You can even add other meats such as sausage or ground pork to add a kick to your chili.
- The easiest way to make turkey chili con carne spicier is to add more chili powder. You can also add jalapeno (without removing the seeds), cayenne, hot sauce, or canned chilis in adobo.
Turkey Chili Con Carne
- 1 lb ground turkey extra lean
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 2 red bell peppers chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 ¼ cups chicken broth
- 2 cans kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 1 can sweetcorn rinsed and drained
- ½ tsp salt
- extra-virgin olive oil
- avocado chunks
- tortilla chips
- jalapeños chopped
- sour cream
- Put a large pan over medium-high heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil.
- Once heated up, add in the onion, red bell pepper and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently!
- Add the turkey and break up the meat (feel free to use your hands if you’re feeling brave), and cook until white.
- Add all the spices, oregano and a teaspoon of salt. Combine with the meat well, stirring for about half a minute.
- Time to get even messier. Add the kidney beans, sweetcorn, chicken broth and tomatoes. Combine well then bring to the boil. Once boiling immediately reduce heat and leave at a simmer.
- Once ready, serve up! This should serve about 6 people, but the great thing about chili is that any surplus can be easily frozen and reheated at a later date.
- Serve with your choice of tortilla chips, jalapenos, sour cream or avocado… Or, you know, all of the above!