Smoky Tomato Turkey Chili

“A turkey chili recipe that uses plenty of spice to add not only heat, but also flavor. The one cup serving is satisfyingly delicious and nutritious!”

Chili is serious business in my house. When I say we’re having chili for dinner, I mean we are having CHILI, the just-the-right-amount of heat, jam-packed-flavor-kind of chili. My latest version of smoky tomato turkey chili hasn’t won any awards, but it has been a hit with my family and friends. My most solid critic is my husband and after giving him a bowl of this smoky tomato turkey chili, he re-proposed to me. There wasn’t a ring or anything, but his response was enough to make me confident in sharing the recipe with you.

The serious business about this chili is that it’s a secret weapon in nutrition. So while you’re loading up the flavor with the myriad of ingredients, you’re also doling out solid nutrients to anyone who is lucky enough to get a bowl. I love this! The spices are rich and smoky, but also provide a plethora of phytonutrients. The tomatoes and vegetables are a magical base, but also add vitamins like C and A. Finally, the beans, those little legumes, are not only filling, but they are also packed with fiber and folate. It’s truly a magical vessel of flavor and nutrition.

This recipe is large enough to feed a group of people. Serve it with homemade cornbread and top it with sharp cheddar cheese and low-fat Greek yogurt. Smoky tomato turkey chili is also magnificent as leftovers and can be used as a topper for everything from rice or quinoa bowl dishes to baked sweet potatoes.

Food Safety Tip: Making a double batch of this chili to serve on your buffet at your next party? No problem, just be sure to keep it hot and out of the temperature danger zone (the dangerous temperature of 40°F-140°F, where harmful bacteria thrive). Chafing dishes work well, but you can also keep the chili warm on the stove. Slow cookers can also work, but be careful as some of the settings are too low to maintain safe holding temperatures. Check the chili often and use a food thermometer to ensure it’s at the safe holding temperature of greater than 140°F. And if reheating as leftovers, heat chili to 165°F.

Smoky Tomato Turkey Chili

Recipe by Sara Haas, RDN, LDN


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled, washed and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, washed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, washed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 1 cup lager-style beer
  • 1 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-ounce can chili beans or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and jalapeño and cook until softened, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the ground turkey to the pot and cook, stirring to crumble, until turkey is browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the turmeric, cumin, chipotle chili powder, chili powder and smoked paprika. Cook one minute to toast the spices, stirring frequently. Stir in the tomato paste and cook an additional two minutes, stirring the entire time.
  4. Pour the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and beer into the pot and bring to a low boil. Add the beans. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for at least 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Use a food thermometer to ensure chili reaches 165°F.
  5. Portion chili into bowls and serve with 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon shredded cheese.


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Sara Haas
Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, is a Chicago-based dietitian and co-author of the Fertility Foods Cookbook. Read her blog, The Cooking RD, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.