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This is a delicious and healthy 2 bean turkey chili made with two types of beans, vegetables, and spices. It’s quick to make, and pairs well with a green salad and some crusty garlic bread.
With plenty of beans, ground turkey, and corn, this hearty chili is sure to warm up even the chilliest of nights. It also makes a fantastic summertime chili!
Can You Make Chili With Turkey?
Absolutely! Most often, it’s made with ground turkey. But you could potentially shred cooked turkey and make a white chili with it (Similar to White Chicken Chili).
What Other Meat Can You Make Chili With?
The sky is the limit. You can make chili with ground pork, beef, or even chicken. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can use TVP, chopped portobello mushrooms, or simply make a beach or veggie chili.
Chili Vs. Chili Con Carne
If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is, Chili Con Carne is made with meat. “Con Carne” means “with meat”. Typically, this will reference beef. But not always.
Regular chili can be made with just about anything. You can make chili with anything from sweet potatoes to lentils!
What Beans Are Best For Chili?
While chili can be made with any type of bean, I have found that the three best beans to use in chili are:
- Pinto beans
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
Is Chili Supposed To Have Beans?
While beans in chili are fairly traditional, that doesn’t mean you have to use them. If beans aren’t your thing, you can certainly make chili without them. Simply substitute with more of the other ingredients such as veggies.
What Makes Great Chili?
There are a few tips for making great chili.
- Sweetness – Most truly great chili has a hint of sweetness to it. And while many will add some sort of sweetener, wine, or other sauce to achieve that, you don’t have to. As long as your chili has a tomato base, a small pinch of baking soda will mellow out the acid in the tomatoes and enhance the natural sweetness of the dish without ever adding any sugar. Start with a 1/4 teaspoon. But never go over 1 teaspoon because doing so will make your chili taste pretty darn salty.
- Spices – A properly spiced chili is critical. Salting the onions and garlic in the beginning while they sauté will begin developing their flavors. But beyond that, you can certainly add your spices during this step as well. This will give the spices more time to develop. And for those who are very serious about developing the flavors of the spices, you can dry roast them first. Simply place them in a dry pan and stir constantly over medium heat until they become fragrant.
- Beans – Make sure you drain and rinse your beans. Don’t include the liquid that is in the can with them. Doing so will put too much liquid into your chili.
- Toppings – Make sure you have some great toppings! (That goes without saying). Toppings can really make the dish. See below for suggestions.
What Is The Secret To The Best Chili?
While this recipe doesn’t use it, adding just a touch of unsweetened cocoa powder to your chili can really help deepen the flavors. I have found that this trick works best with beef-based chili. But you can experiment with using it with different meats if you like.
What Can I Add To My 2 Bean Turkey Chili To Give It More Flavor?
While I find that this chili has wonderful flavor, your tastes may be different than mine. So if you end up with a pot of chili that seems to fall flat in the flavor department, there are a few things you can do.
- Stir in (more) salsa. Salsa is fantastic in chili. Use your favorite to get the best flavors for your own tastebuds.
- Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. This will bring nuance to flat flavors.
- Add a tablespoon or more of coffee. The stronger the better. This will give you a richer, deeper flavor.
- Add a square or two of dark chocolate. This can also be unsweetened cocoa powder as mentioned above. A little chocolate goes a long way to adding both sweet notes and depth of flavor to your chili.
- Soy sauce, or coconut aminos. This will add depth of flavor to your chili by adding umami.
- Balsamic vinegar works similarly to soy sauce. It adds umami for more depth.
Topping Ideas For 2 Bean Turkey Chili
- Sour cream or plain yogurt (Greek yogurt works great!)
- Green onions
- Corn chips
- Fresh onions
- Fresh tomatoes
- Lime wedges
- Grated cheese (cheddar cheese works great)
- Prepared guacamole
- Chipotle peppers
- Adobo sauce
- Jalapenos – Chop jalapeno peppers with seeds for extra spice, and without for less spicy.
- Cilantro leaves
- Green bell pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Fresh oregano
About The Ingredients
Ground turkey – You can use any type you like, lean or extra lean. Ground turkey breast works too.
Garlic cloves – The recipe calls for medium cloves, but you can use any size and any amount you prefer. Add garlic with your heart and soul.
Yellow onion – Red onion will work too.
Olive oil – Or any other light-flavored oil you usually cook with.
Canned diced tomatoes – not drained, no sugar added.
Canned black beans – no sugar added, drained, and rinsed.
Canned kidney beans – no sugar added, drained, and rinsed.
Frozen corn – optional but tasty.
Jarred salsa – no sugar added and your favorite level of heat.
How To Make 2 Bean Turkey Chili
In a large pot, heat oil, then sauté the onions. In the last minute of cooking, add the minced garlic. Sauté for a full minute, then continue with the recipe.
Stir in the meat and brown, breaking it up as you stir.
Stir in all the remaining ingredients and cook over medium-high heat until the meat is cooked through. Stir frequently to avoid any burning on the bottom of your pot. If you need extra liquid, you can stir in 1 cup of chicken broth to get the consistency you like. But I found that the salsa was enough. It will also depend on how much water comes out of your ground turkey during cooking.
Place the lid on the pot and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the meat is fully cooked.
How To Store Leftovers
Keep any leftovers in an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the fridge for up to three days.
How To Freeze Leftovers
It’s best to freeze this in single servings unless you will be feeding a number of people at one time. If packed well, this will last in the freezer for up to 4 months.
How To Serve 2 Bean Turkey Chili
This is best served with a green side salad and some crusty garlic bread. You can also:
- Serve this over rice.
- Mix this into pasta
- Mix with quinoa for a quinoa salad
- Use as a dip with corn chips or whole-grain pita chips
Recipe Supplies For 2 Bean Turkey Chili
For this recipe, you’ll need a good stockpot, a long wooden spoon, and a ladle.
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- 1 large stockpot
- 1½ lb. ground turkey
- 5 medium garlic cloves (chopped fine)
- 1½ cups chopped yellow onion
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (not drained)
- 15 oz. can black beans (no sugar added, drained and rinsed)
- 15 oz. can kidney beans (no sugar added, drained and rinsed)
- 1 lb. frozen corn (optional)
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 12 oz. jarred salsa (no sugar added and your favorite level of heat)
- 1 cup chicken broth (optional for consistency)
- In a large pot, sauté the onions in oil. In the last minute of cooking, add the minced garlic. Sauté for a full minute, then continue with the recipe.
- Stir in the meat and brown, breaking it up as you stir.
- Stir in all the remaining ingredients and cook over medium-high heat until the meat is cooked through. Stir frequently to avoid any burning on the bottom of your pot. If you need extra liquid, you can stir in 1 cup of chicken broth to get the consistency you like. But I found that the salsa was enough. It will also depend on how much water comes out of your ground turkey during cooking.
- Place the lid on the pot and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the meat is fully cooked.
- Serve with your favorite toppings.
Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, posted 1/12/12.