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Posted by on Aug 1, 2014 | 0 comments

Tailgate Turkey Chili

Tailgate Turkey Chili

Tailgate Turkey chili

Fall is by far my favorite season. Chunky sweaters, crisp clean air, changing colors in nature and comfort food. I’ve decided to dedicate the next few blog posts (at least) to healthy comfort food recipes for you to enjoy this season. It’s the best of both worlds!

This first one is Tailgate Turkey Chili, which is perfect for an ACTUAL tailgate party or just for having friends over to watch the game. You can also make a big batch of this on the weekend and take it for lunch during the week. Let’s go over what makes this healthy.

The Turkey

As always, it’s best to use organic meat whenever possible to avoid added hormones. I asked my butcher for one pound of half dark/half white meat because the dark meat will add more flavor to the chili. Also, turkey is loaded with tryptophan, a chemical that stimulates serotonin production and calms the brain. So eating turkey helps put you in a good mood.

The Beans

Beans should be a staple in your diet and this recipe offers the chance to get two kinds: black beans and kidney beans, each nutrition powerhouses. You’ll get copious amounts of fiber and protein. So you’ll be satisfied for hours with this dish. Plus the insoluble fiber will keep your digestive tract in top shape. Beans also help regulate your blood glucose levels throughout the day, which means your metabolism will be strong to burn through any extra calories you’ve taken on. Last, but certainly not least, are the antioxidants that are plentiful in beans. You can never have too many of these cancer-fighting agents.

The Heat

We’ll use different kinds of chili to flavor this recipe: Red pepper flakes, paprika and chili powder. They are great for weight loss because they stimulate your metabolism. They contain the compound capsaicin, known for it’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. And they all have tons of antioxidants to boost immunity and protect against oxidative stress (i.e. things that lead to cancer and heart disease).

Isn’t it nice to know that something so delicious and comforting is benefiting you in so many other ways? Let’s get to cooking so you can enjoy this dish already!!


(gluten free + dairy free)

Prep Time: 15 min

Total Time: 45 min

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS: Use organic whenever possible.

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (look for first cold pressed)
  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 pound ground turkey (I used organic half brown-half white meat)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 12-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 2 12-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 2 12-ounce cans diced tomatoes (organic if possible)
  • 1 12-ounce can tomato sauce (organic if possible)
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder of your choice (I used New Mexico red chili)
  • 1 cup purified water or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse black pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes, onion, carrot and 1 teaspoon salt, sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Fold in the ground turkey meat and continue to saute. (Skip this step if you want to make a vegetarian chili, still absolutely delicious and nutritious) Halfway through the browning add the jalapeno, cumin, paprika, chili powder and garlic, and continue sautéing until turkey is close to fully browned.

Stir in 2 cans of diced tomatoes, using the liquid to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add the beans, bell pepper, tomato sauce, water (or stock), salt and pepper. Stir well and let cook for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. The longer the better 🙂 You can leave it on the stove on low all afternoon to let people help themselves as needed.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or you can freeze this chili for a great back up meal.


  • Avocado or guacamole (best choice!)
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Organic tortilla chips
  • Plain greek yogurt


This recipe can easily be turned into a vegetarian dish by excluding the ground turkey and using vegetable stock. And as with most of my recipes, this one is also gluten-free!

Here’s to you lookin’ and feelin’ great this Fall Season.


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