Our Favorite Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

Our Favorite Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

When the weather turns cold, warming up with a bowl of veggie-loaded turkey chili is about as good as it gets! This healthy turkey chili recipe is gluten-free, simple to make, and easy to tweak to your dietary and taste preferences.

An overhead view of a bowl of healthy turkey chili topped with sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and shredded cheese.

One of Our First Ever Go-To Recipes

This turkey chili is one of our go-to recipes and has been for quite some time. In fact, it was one of the very first recipes we shared on our Facebook page before this The Real Food Dietitians’ website even existed.

It’s always fun to look back and see how far we’ve come and the community we have grown. We’ve grown from a site that didn’t exist to one that accumulates around two million views/month. Crazy, huh?!

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This Turkey Chili Is Everything You Need In One Bowl

One thing we love about our turkey chili is that it’s loaded with veggies! Our husbands and kids (even the picky eaters) are happy to eat it, and it’s a complete meal. 

A serving contains everything you need for well-rounded health, including quality protein, tons of veggies, 9 grams of fiber per serving, and an adequate source of healthy fats when topped with avocado (which we highly recommend). 

You can up the ante on veggies even more by serving it over a bed of greens. You can add heartiness by serving it over a baked sweet potato or winter squash — a heavenly combination, if we do say so ourselves. If comfort food is your vibe, serve it with a classic side of cornbread muffins (yummy!).

Overhead view of dishes containing the individual ingredients for turkey chili, including  lean ground turkey, zucchini, black beans, garlic, onions and more.

Ingredients To Make Turkey Chili

Here’s what you need to make this veggie-loaded turkey chili today:

  • Lean ground turkey — ground beef or ground chicken work, too
  • Olive oil or avocado oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Onion
  • Red bell pepper
  • Zucchini or yellow squash
  • Carrot
  • Chili powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Canned tomato sauce
  • Canned crushed or petite diced tomatoes
  • Canned black beans
  • Frozen corn
  • Water or broth
  • Cayenne (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional toppings — avocado, cilantro, shredded cheese, and/or sour cream

Find the ingredient list with exact measurements in the recipe card below.

Ground turkey, onions, carrots, bell peppers, garlic, and zucchini about to be sautéed in a large Dutch oven for turkey chili.
Ground turkey and chopped bell peppers, garlic, onion, carrots, and zucchini after a quick sauté to make healthy turkey chili.

How To Make Turkey Chili

Here are the three easy steps to making this so-simple healthy turkey chili: 

  1. Saute the meat and veggies. Start by heating oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground meat, garlic, onions, bell peppers, zucchini or yellow squash, and carrots. Sauté for 7-9 minutes until the meat is cooked and no longer pink. 
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Then, add seasonings, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, beans, corn, and water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the carrots are tender. You can serve it with your choice of toppings. 
  3. Let it simmer away. For a slow cooker version, follow the stovetop directions through step 1, then transfer the turkey and vegetable mixture to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper), stir, and cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.

For serving size and the complete directions and ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card below. All of our recipes include the nutrition analysis, listing calories (kcals), protein, carbohydrates/carb, fiber, sugar, sodium, cholesterol, and more per serving.

Overhead view pot filled with all ingredients for turkey chili ready to be stirred together
A ladle filled with veggie loaded turkey chili over a pot of chili


Pre-Chop The Veggies

If you’re a consistent reader of our blog, you know we’re fans of weekend meal prepping. Pre-chopping veggies is a big time saver during the week.

If you pre-chop the veggies the day or two before you cook this chili, you can save a considerable amount of prep time and have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Woot! We’re all about easy weeknight meals.

How To Store

We like to freeze this chili in 1 ½ cup servings in an airtight container or gallon ziplock bag (once cooled). Then, we reheat exactly as much as we need at a time.

If you’re looking to stock your freezer with some easy meal plan options, go ahead and double this recipe.

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A close up of a bowl of healthy turkey chili so you can see the texture and all of the yummy toppings.

Turkey Chili Toppings

The world is your oyster when it comes to chili toppings. There are so many options including some of our faves – avocado or guacamole, cilantro, chopped jicama, fried plantains, sour cream, cheddar cheese, sliced jalapeños, and some crushed tortilla chips. You do you!

And if you love this recipe, we also recommend you give our Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili or our Chipotle Turkey Sweet Potato Chili recipe a try!

A hearty bowl of healthy turkey chili with avocado slices, sour cream, cheese, blue corn chips, and cilantro on top.

More Recipes To Try


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey, beef, or chicken
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini or yellow squash, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce 
  • 1 (15-ounces) can crushed or petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 8 ounces water or broth
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Diced avocado, chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, and/or lime wedges for serving

Stovetop Directions:

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil. 
  2. Once the oil is hot, add ground meat, garlic, onions, bell peppers, zucchini or yellow squash, and carrots.
  3. Sauté for 7-9 minutes or until meat is cooked and no longer pink.
  4. Add the chili powder, cumin, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, beans, frozen corn, and the water or broth. 
  5. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat
  6. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender. 
  7. Garnish with toppings of choice.

Slow Cooker Directions:

  1. Follow the directions above for the Stovetop version through Step 3.
  2. Add the browned turkey and vegetable mixture to the slow cooker.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients (chili powder through water/broth) to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for a cook time of 8 hours or on HIGH for a total time of 4 hours.

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Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1 ⅓ cups
  • Calories: 290
  • Fat: 9 g
  • (Sat Fat: 2 g)
  • Sodium: 575 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 32 g
  • (Fiber: 9 g
  • Sugar: 9 g)
  • Protein: 22 g
  • Cholesterol: 43 mg


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main ingredient in turkey chili?

The main ingredients in our turkey chili are lean ground turkey, black beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. After that, it’s all about the veggies and spices!

What ingredients are in turkey chili?

We kept our turkey chili recipe as simple as possible for a quick weeknight meal that’s packed with flavor and nutrition, with ingredients such as:
-Lean ground turkey
-Black beans
-Garlic and onion
-Bell pepper, squash, corn, and carrots
-Crushed or diced tomatoes
-Tomato sauce and broth or water
-Ground chili pepper, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper

What are ingredient substitutions for the best turkey chili?

Turkey chili is such a versatile recipe that adapts to whatever ingredients you have on hand. As long as you have the basics (ground meat, beans, tomato sauce, a can of tomatoes, garlic, onion, and spices), you can play around with the other ingredients to make the best chili for your family. 
Here are some common ingredient substitutions you can use for turkey chili:
Meat: ground beef, ground chicken
Beans: kidney beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans
Veggies: yellow onion, green onions, any peppers
Liquid base: chicken broth (low sodium chicken broth is fine), vegetable broth, tomato paste and water
Spices & flavor: cayenne pepper, dried oregano, paprika, brown sugar, hot sauce

This photos in this blog post were taken by Monica Stevens Le.

For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish a recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words. Link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

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