Two birds, one stone. This ground turkey chili is the perfect solution for those of us wanting to make high protein chili without any knife work and with picky eaters in the house.
With nearly two pounds of hidden vegetables that are prepared with frozen veggies and a blender, this is one of the easiest chili recipes you’ll come across. And since my ultra-picky super taster couldn’t spot the ultra-nutritious ingredients, I feel confident giving it my picky eater approved stamp.
This healthy turkey chili is also one of the most macro friendly chili recipes I’ve ever made. Each 12 ounce serving has 25 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber with just 235 calories, 24 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of fat.
What You’ll Need to Make This High Protein Turkey Chili
Most of the ingredients are pretty standard for turkey chili:
- Extra Lean Ground Turkey – Ground chicken or a higher fat percentage works perfectly fine.
- Chili Beans – Any beans work, but I like the added chili sauce that chili beans are packed in. Swap for plain kidney and pinto beans (undrained), if you’d like.
- Crushed Tomatoes – Go with fire roasted if you can find them.
- Chili Seasoning – Sure, you could make your own seasoning blend. But this is meant to be an EASY recipe.
- Non-Alcoholic Beer – The best chili is made with beer, in my opinion. There are tons of non-alcoholic versions on the market these days, but you’re welcome to use additional chicken broth or any cooking liquid instead.
But what about the vegetables and that big green sauce pictured below?
I typically make chili by browning and cooking meat then sweating diced onion and peppers before adding everything else and simmering. The prep is simple enough, but I know it drives some of you crazy when a food blogger calls something “easy” but then starts by dicing a bunch of vegetables.
So this turkey chili skips all the knife work and calls for blended frozen vegetables. With a long simmer time, you’ll never spot the difference. This also allows you to sneak in some additional vegetables like spinach and carrots (or your choice of veggies).
And that’s all you need! The turkey is cooked before everything is added and simmer for a couple hours with a few bay leaves. Easy enough, right?
How to Make Baked Tortilla Chips
There are plenty of lower calorie chip options out there these days, but it’s hard to beat a classic corn tortilla chip with a dish like this ground turkey chili. Luckily, it’s easy to make baked tortilla chips using extra thin corn tortillas.
To make them, cut a stack of tortillas into triangles and place the chips on a sheet pan lined with a wire rack. Spray with a bit of avocado oil or cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.
Bake the chips for 10-12 minutes at 400ºF until they turn golden brown. They’ll continue to crisp once out of the oven, so be careful not to over bake them.
I like to squeeze a bit of lime juice over the top when they’re fresh out of the oven, but that’s totally optional.
Other Things to Make with Leftover Chili
This recipe makes a huge batch of high protein chili. So, I figured I’d leave you with some of my go-to recipes to make the most of the leftovers.
Turkey Chili Cheese Burritos
I use protein tortillas from a company I’m invested in called Counter, but any burrito sized tortilla works. The Mission Carb Balance tortillas from my chicken breast wraps work well for this style of burrito.
In addition to leftover chili I add rice and cheese. For convenience, I like using a microwaveable packet of cilantro lime rice that I featured in my high protein Costco guide and bison meal prep bowls. You could also add pico de gallo, sour cream or Greek yogurt, and any other ingredients you can fit inside.
Once rolled, I grill the burritos in a pan to seal and toast all around. You can also bake them if you’re making a large batch.
Ground Turkey Chili Mac
I used a box of high protein mac and cheese (Banza or Kroger’s private selection brand) to save time. All I did was add some leftover chili to the cooked mac and cheese in a mini Dutch oven and top with shredded cheddar jack cheese. I placed the Dutch oven on a 1/8th sheet pan and baked it for about 10 minutes at 450ºF until golden brown.
For a homemade (and higher protein) mac and cheese option, check out the cottage cheese sauce from my protein mac and cheese. This would be great for making a larger batch and using more leftovers.
Chili Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Making stuffed spuds is one of my all-time favorites for using leftover chili. To make them, I spray a couple of russet potatoes with avocado oil spray (or rub with olive oil) and a pinch or two of salt (I like to eat the whole potato). It’s best practice to poke the potatoes with a fork to vent steam and prevent potato explosions, but I don’t always follow the rules.
I like using an air fryer at 350ºF to 375ºF for 35-45 minutes (cook times will vary based on the size of the potatoes) until the potatoes reach a 205ºF to 215ºF internal temperature.
After the potatoes briefly cool, I slice them open and fill with chili and cheese. Air fry for another few minutes and you’re ready to rock.
Final Recipe Notes
I’ve included additional ingredient substitution notes in the recipe card below. If you have a question I forgot to cover, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments at the bottom of this post.
I hope you enjoy this hidden veggie chili. If you do, I always appreciate recipe reviews!
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2 pounds 99% Lean Ground Turkey
- 12 oz can Non-Alcoholic Beer (or your choice of liquid)
- 2 packets Chili Seasoning
- 28 oz can Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 cans Chili Beans
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 2-3 Tablespoons Hot Sauce, Lime Juice, or Vinegar (for finishing)
For the Hidden Veggies*
- 4 cups Chicken Bone Broth
- 12 oz bag Frozen Onions and Peppers
- 6 oz Frozen Carrots
- 6 cloves Peeled Garlic
- 2 handfuls (about 6 oz) Frozen Chopped Spinach (optional)
- Add the frozen vegetables, garlic, and chicken broth to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and set aside. (You may need to blend in batches if you're using a smaller blender.)
- Heat a Dutch oven or large soup pot (5.5-quart or larger) over medium heat with the olive oil. Once hot, add the ground turkey and brown one side for 3-4 minutes before breaking apart and fully cooking.
- Add the non-alcoholic beer and chili seasoning to the cooked ground turkey and cook for 3-4 minutes until very little liquid remains.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, chili beans, blended vegetables, and bay leaves, stirring everything together.
- Bring the chili up to a simmer before reducing the heat to low, covering, and simmering for at least 2 hours.
- Remove the bay leaves, stir in hot sauce or your choice of acidity, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with baked tortilla chips, shredded cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt or sour cream, and freshly chopped cilantro, scallions, or chives.
*Thawing the frozen veggies ahead of time makes blending even quicker. As for veggie swaps, I would keep the onions, peppers, and garlic in any blend, but you're welcome to swap the carrots and spinach for other vegetables. You can also use fresh vegetables to clean out your produce drawer. Just be careful to not over-fill the chili with the hidden veggie mixture. A 5.5-quart Dutch oven fits everything as-written but doesn't have much spare room.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 1/2 cup (about 12 oz)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 235Total Fat: 4gCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 5gProtein: 25g