Turkey and Black Bean Chili

You would think that in March, it would be safe to make hearty soups and stews and chili still.  It was 70 freaking degrees the other day!  But that’s okay.  I think sometimes you just need to eat chili, especially if you’ve been feeling a little congested.  That sh*t’ll clear you right out sometimes.

Chili is a personal thing.  There are many people, purists if you will, who will not eat either this chili dish (which is a recipe I made up, but guys it’s got measurements! Sort of!) or the chicken chili my husband loves because it doesn’t have red meat in it or because I used the wrong kind of beans or whatever.  I hate kidney beans.  I do.  I think they’re so gross.  It’s a texture thing for me (I’m all about food texture).  My mom and dad used to make chili when I was growing up and I would always try to eat around the beans because otherwise the chili was really good.  That’s why chili, like all food really, is personal.  We have our own version of what chili is supposed to taste like.  For me, it’s supposed to be a little spicy, a little smoky, and never, ever bland.  Which, let’s face it, ground turkey can sometimes be.

My personal battle with ground turkey is that I cook it the same way all the time – burgers, or shepherd’s pie, or taco salad.  I was looking for something different.  I also cleaned out my pantry this week and ruthlessly reorganized it and realized I had 3 cans of black beans that needed eating.  Enter the idea for something different.

This would be an easy recipe to double, if you wanted to feed a crowd.  Based on the leftovers, I’m going to guess this feeds around 6-8 people.  Steve and I ate 1 bowl each last night, but they were generous bowls.  I brought leftovers to work and still had at least two to three more lunches in there.  The leftovers were good.  My husband has said repeatedly, “this was good chili.”  Some people might think he keeps saying that to compensate for it not tasting good, like a false reassurance to the chef so she doesn’t think she sucks, but when my husband repeats himself – it’s for emphasis.

This is also a relatively inexpensive meal – the turkey’s probably the priciest item here.  You could go completely vegetarian with this, I suppose, by using two cans of black beans instead of one, but I don’t know if it would be thick enough.  An experiment for another day.  If you’re not a spicy person, you could also reduce the heat by eliminating the jalapenos or using just one.

Turkey and Black Bean Chili

  • 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 lbs ground lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and cored, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 2-3 palmfuls chili powder (told you there were measurements)
  • 2 palmfuls cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, preferably with green chiles, undrained
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce, no salt added

Chop your onion and bell pepper around the same size, but keep your garlic and jalapeno small.


Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add oil and let oil warm up. (You could do this in a skillet, but it needs to be a deeper one than I have)

Add chopped onions, peppers, and garlic to pot.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and almost translucent, but not brown.  I always add the garlic on top of the onions and peppers so it won’t burn.

When onions are almost translucent, add turkey to pot, breaking up with a wooden spoon so it crumbles.  The turkey and veggies will let off liquid, which is good.  You don’t need to drain it.

When turkey is no longer pink, add chili powder, cumin, and a pinch more salt.  Stir to get everything coated with the spices.


Add beans and stir.  Add diced tomatoes with chiles and stir.  Add tomato sauce and stir.  Cover, turn down the heat, and let simmer on low for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Serve with shredded cheese.  Add sour cream if it’s too spicy for you.


About Kristin

I never thought I would love to cook. I did everything I could to avoid learning to cook. But somewhere along the line, cooking became less of a chore and more of a way to relax and be creative. Not everything I make is a smashing success, but I've had more successes than failures. After months of trading recipes with my friends through Facebook and email, I've decided to collect all my favorites here and also document my attempts at new adventures in cooking, too.
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