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Healthy Turkey Chili with Pinto Beans

    turkey chili in a black bowl from overhead with garnishes and avocado on top

    Key Ingredients For This Recipe

    the ingredients on a white table with text overlay

    Ground Turkey

    You can use ground turkey or ground chicken for this recipe. If you like low-fat turkey, look for 99% lean.

    Lime Juice

    As you know, I have a thing for sour stuff, and I think adding a bit of vinegar or acid to a recipe is the culinary equivalent to Harry Potter Defeating the Dark Lord in the wizarding world. What I mean by that is that acid helps to balance salt, and it wakes up all the other flavors in a dish, neutralizes bitter but adds only negligible calories. That’s why I chose to add lime juice to this recipe.

    Fresh Vegetables: Peppers, Onions, Scallions and Jalapenos

    This chili has tons of veggies in it: namely peppers, onions and scallions. These serve to add flavor and low-calorie volume to the chili. And did you know that peppers are really high in vitamin C?

    Feel free to use whichever type of green pepper you like depending on your taste preference. For mild chili use Anaheim or bell pepper, for a spicier chili use poblano.

    You can also control the heat in the chili by choosing to include the seeds from the jalapeno.

    Canned Whole Tomatoes

    If you have been reading here for a while, then you know how much I love to use whole canned tomatoes that are hand broken up. This makes the texture of the chili so much better. I used this technique in my Minestrone and Ribollita to name a couple of other places I did this.



    A sprinkle of cornmeal is added to help thicken the chili up. This reduces the amount of cook time you’ll have to wait for it to thicken on its own.

    Canned Pinto Beans

    To make this recipe speedy fast, I used canned pinto beans instead of cooking dried beans. If you do not have pinto beans or prefer another bean, you can use kidney beans or another of your choice.

    Just make sure to drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the chili.


    The chili has oregano in it for a Southwest flair, which I love because in New Mexico, you’ll find this in traditional cuisine, and though a bit unexpected to most palates, it really does taste awesome in the chili.


    To season this chili I use a blend of chili powder, cumin and salt in addition to the fresh garlic and jalapeno. If you like to have spicier chili you could also add a dash of ground chipotle chili or cayanne.

    Other Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • Garnishes: diced avocado, toasted pine nuts or pepitas, minced red onion, chopped fresh cilantro