healthy turkey chili recipe

EV Cooks: Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Chili Recipe

healthy turkey chili recipe
Ever since I left home, I’ve had an unquenchable desire to learn to cook. As I moved myself into my first dorm room 4 years ago, I thought to myself, “this is it. I’m on my own — I can finally become the master chef I always dreamed I could be.” Snap back to reality — dorms, as it turns out, aren’t big on kitchens. Or cooking facilities of any kind, whatsoever. So I had to put the kibosh on my cooking fantasies for a while, at least until I had a place of my own with a kitchen and space enough for me to prepare some food.

Flash forward four years: we just moved into our apartment, and we have in our possession a brand-new slow cooker. I’d never used a crock pot before, but I was so eager to make something that I searched around and found a super easy recipe for Turkey Chili. It had everything – the prep time was minimal, the ingredients were easy to track down, and the serving time was negligible. High flavor for minimum effort – what could be better? I adapted the recipe a bit to add some of my favorite things — chili pepper sauce, cumin, and some adobo seasoning, which really made the flavors pop.

Added bonus: this turkey chili recipe is also super healthy. Just serve it up with some salad and maybe a piece of bread, and you’re set! The recipe is after the jump but first — do you have a slow cooker? What are your favorite (read: easy) dishes to make in it? PLEASE let me know!
Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

healthy turkey chili recipe


Total Time: 7 hr 10 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep: 10 min
Cook: 7 hr


  • 2 pounds ground turkey (I used Trader Joe’s 99% fat free lean ground turkey breast)
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (28 oz) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (15oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup instant tapioca (I used Minute tapioca, which seems to have worked fine)
  • 3 tablespoons chili pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon adobo seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves

Toppings: shredded mixed cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapeños


Put the turkey in the slow cooker, and mash it up a bit with your hands. Add 2 tablespoons of red pepper flakes, and mix in with the turkey breast. Add the rest off the ingredients, and stir everything together. Cover everything, and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours (7 hours recommended).

Just before serving, stir in the remaining tablespoon of red pepper flakes (or less, depending on how spicy you’d like the chili to be), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the chili among warm bowls, and serve with the topping(s) of your choice.

  • Ashley Minck

    With fall right around the corner I am dying to try out some new cold weather recipes. Anything that involves a slow cooker is always a winner in my book. Can’t wait to try this and most importantly, taste it!

    • Amanda

      I’m 100% with you on that. I’d LOVE to know how it goes once you make it! Hope you love it as much as I did :)

  • Gloria

    We were recently gifted a slow cooker, and I’m sad that we’re only JUST discovering how awesome it is. Pulled pork is such a cinch to make now :-) Can’t wait to try this chili recipe – it looks delicious!

    • Amanda

      Congrats on your new slow cooker! It’s absolutely ASTOUNDING how many things you can make with it — last night, I made braised salmon with tarragon and green beans. IN A SLOW COOKER. It’s totally bananas. Let me know how it goes with the turkey chili! I’d add another tablespoon of chili sauce if you like your chili spicy :)