Recipe: Turkey Chili with Beans

We made this recipe for dinner last night, and it was the perfect “shopping from your pantry” dish.  We had frozen turkey that we buy in bulk, plenty of canned beans and tomatoes, leftover salsa, and pickled jalapenos from last summer’s harvest.  Everything that we needed for this recipe we had on hand, and it made a very satisfying, protein packed meal.

This recipe is totally customizable and works great with any leftovers that you may have around.  Leftover hamburger meat from burger night?  That time you made a giant pot of beans and are running out of ideas for how to use them?  Half jars of salsa kicking around in the fridge?  All of these little bits and pieces can be thrown into the pot, and the result will be totally delicious.

This recipe calls for two types of beans because that’s what we like, but this can be swapped for one or none, freshly made from dry or canned will do just fine.  The ground turkey could be swapped out for any ground protein (beef, chicken, pork, etc.), shredded chicken breasts or tofu cubes would also work great.  Just beans is also awesome, which is how we make this dish when we go camping.  Super versatile, with delicious results.

Serve with buttered noodles, tortilla chips, Fritos, tortillas, or rice.  Top with cheese, sour cream, or sliced avocado.  We went for straight chili with the last chunk of shredded cheddar last night, and it was perfect.  Use leftovers for easy lunches or as a filling for tacos!

Recipe down below, photo up top!

Turkey Chili with Beans


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 mild peppers (banana peppers, poblano peppers, bell peppers), chopped
  • 2 pickled (or fresh) jalapenos, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 can of tomatoes (diced, crushed, or sauce will work)
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt to taste


  1. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan, stock pot, or Dutch oven.  Heat over medium high heat until warm. 
  2. Add the mild peppers to the pan and stir until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the jalapenos, garlic, chili powder, and cumin and stir until heated through, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the turkey to the pot, and stir to combine.  Allow the turkey to cook through fully, stirring occasionally.  This should take about 8-10 minutes over medium high heat.
  4. Add the salsa and the canned tomatoes, stir to combine.  Allow the mixture to boil fully, and then reduce the heat to low to simmer.  Allow the mixture to simmer on low heat for about 1 hour.
  5. About 5 minutes before serving, add the beans. Stir to combine, and bring the chili up to a simmer before serving.
  6. Season with additional salt if needed before serving.
  7. Enjoy!


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