Thursday, November 22, 2012

Clean Eating Turkey Chili

Makes about 16 servings, 1 cup each 
This is sooooo easy to make, is delicious, and is a great way to sneak a whole bunch of veggies into your family without them knowing it. Perfect paired with some whole grain cornbread. This is one of the very first recipes I started making when I was getting into freezer cooking. You could pretty much guarantee that you would always be able to find at least one serving in the freezer. So naturally when we arrived in our house in Japan and I had a big, huge, empty freezer to fill I thought the first thing in there should be a big batch of chili. But for some reason I have never posted the recipe and my recipe box had yet to be unearthed in our pile of boxes. As you know I am incapable of cooking ANYTHING without a recipe so I literally sat on a stool in my kitchen surrounded by boxes and went through 3 years (three years!!!!) of e-mails (on my phone because our internet wasn't set up yet) until I found an old one where I had sent the recipe to my friend. Crazy, right?! This chili is so good it was worth it :)


  • 2 medium onions, minced 
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped 
  • 1 medium bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces 
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced (2 Tbsp) 
  • ¼ cup chili powder 
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 ½ tsp salt, divided 
  • 2 lbs 93 percent lean ground turkey 
  • 2 15oz cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or sometimes I use Cannellini beans)
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce 
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes 
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 bag fresh spinach 
Optional: (if you like it hot. You know me, I'm super wimpy so I leave these out!)

  • ½-1 tsp red pepper flakes 
  • ¼ - ½ tsp cayenne 
Slow Cooker Directions: Brown the ground turkey and toss it in the crockpot with all the other ingredients except the spinach (you can omit the Tbsp of olive oil). Cover and cook on high 4-6 hours or on low 8-10 hours. An hour before serving, stir in the bag of spinach, cover, and continue cooking. 

Stove Top Directions: 
ONE: Combine the onions, carrots, bell peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, oil, ½ tsp salt, red pepper flakes (if using), and cayenne (if using) in a large covered pot. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, 8-10 minutes.
TWO: Increase the heat to medium-high, add the turkey, and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
THREE: Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes with their juices, crushed tomatoes, broth, and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the spinach, and simmer, uncovered, until the chili has begun to thicken, about 1 hour.

Freeze leftovers in 1 cup servings using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top.

Nutrition Info: 
Per 1 cup serving - 217 Calories (48 Calories from Fat), 5g Total Fat, 1.5g Saturated Fat, 40mg Cholesterol, 693mg Sodium, 27g Total Carbs, 8g Dietary Fiber, 3g Sugars, 18.5g Protein, 135% DV Vit A, 63% DV Vit C, 13% DV Calcium, 31% DV Iron

I only used two carrots because look how huge my Japanese carrots are!!
Dump in the veggies

Dump in the meat, cans, and seasonings... also a good shot of my cookbooks in case you were interested. Super Baby Food was where it all started, then there is my Eat Clean Diet Book (which should really be called the non-diet book since it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle), every Clean Eating Magazine ever published, and Cook's Illustrated Best Light Recipe. Who could need anything more?!
Stir and cook. So easy :)



  1. Pinterest brought me here. I just made a batch and I freaking love this turkey chili. I am eating it straight from the pot. I added maybe a quarter teaspoon cinnamon. It is legit addictive. With a ton of veggies, it's a win-win. I will be sharing with all my coworkers who cook and will share on Facebook with complete credit to you, of course. Thank you so much for this recipe!

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  3. I made this recipe just a few nights ago, It is an excellent recipe, I used chili beans instead of kidney beans for added flavor. I would definitely recommend this recipe.

  4. This is definitely going to be one of my go to recipes to stock up in freezer! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Your stovetop instructions never say to add the tomato sauce?

    1. Whoops!! Thanks for letting me know. Adding it in now :)