Easy Turkey Chili

What a chili! It's full of protein and colorful vegetables and beans plus warm chili spices! It deserves fame among those who follow the Weight Watchers freestyle program: every single ingredient is "free" and so this is a zero-point chili! So good!
Easy Turkey Chili ♥ KitchenParade.com, extra-easy with frozen vegetables and canned beans. Very Weight Watchers Friendly!

This recipe has just been updated! It's an example of a recipe which deserves a new look, thank you Weight Watchers Freestyle. Plus it's a (slightly? I hope?) humorous look at my long-time love affair with frozen vegetables.

Circa 2004: Frozen Vegetables Were a "New" Discovery

It’s silly, perhaps, but only recently did I discover frozen vegetables. For too long, unless a vegetable was fresh, it wasn’t worth serving.

The transformation happened over a simple supper when a friend served steamed green beans topped with a little butter alongside chicken and rice. Simultaneously sweet and salty, the beans tasted so good – when I learned they were frozen, call me hooked!

Now I regularly inspect the frozen vegetable section in the grocery stores.

Favorite finds are sugar snap peas, baby Brussels sprouts and strips of bell pepper. The pepper strips include more reds and yellows than greens and are actually cheaper than fresh peppers – so I use a whole pound in this colorful EASY TURKEY CHILI.

But it is no wonder our country’s waistline is expanding – while the vegetable sections are small, the pizza and ice cream areas are huge! Still, the vegetable variety is more than enough, especially mid- to late-winter.

Would someone please pass the green beans?

Circa 2013: I'd Forgotten This, Coming Late to Frozen Vegetables

Ha! I laughed out loud when I recently re-read this 2004 column, just before publishing it online for the first time in 2013, some nine years after written.

I wrote then, "It's silly, perhaps, but only recently did I discover frozen vegetables." I'd forgotten this, coming late to frozen vegetables.

But after being reminded, I realize that it's no wonder that when I first started writing A Veggie Venture (my food blog about vegetables) just a year later, I experimented mostly with frozen vegetables.

Circa 2019: Still Stocking Frozen Vegetables By the Pound

And today, as fascinated as I remain with new ways to cook fresh vegetables, I still stock frozen vegetables. When it comes to value and convenience, there's no rivaling frozen vegetables.

So the recipe for Easy Turkey Chili calls for an entire pound of frozen bell peppers – though if you've got fresh on hand, sure, use them, they're great too.

And don't all the vegetables make this an especially colorful chili?! In fact, when I first published this recipe way back in 2004, I called it "Joseph's Coat Chili" – a nod to the Biblical tale of Joseph's coat of many colors.

Progress Report #2

Back in January, Kitchen Parade had a complete technology overhaul. The big difference? Kitchen Parade is now mobile friendly!

On the flip side, every single page needs an update that so far takes more than 85 minutes per page on average. As of today, I'm 200 hours in (yikes) and about 21% complete. It's a strong start! I believe in the 80/20 Rule!

Good news for Weight Watchers! While updating each page, I'm also calculating SmartPoints and Freestyle points. As soon as 125 Weight Watchers friendly recipes are done, I'll load a brand-new page of Weight Watcher recipes, sorted by Freestyle points. When will it be available? Let's say mid April? Sooner maybe! Listen for a huge cheer emanating from my home office here in St. Louis!


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-tale: 50 - 80 minutes
Makes 10 cups
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 pound (450g) ground turkey
  • 15 ounces canned diced tomato
  • 15 ounces canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounces canned hot chili beans
  • 15 ounces water (just fill one of the empty cans)
  • 16 ounces (450g) frozen pepper strips (or 2 green, red or orange peppers, cut in narrow strips)
  • 8 ounces (225g) frozen corn (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

In a large Dutch oven, stir together the onion, garlic and chili powder and cook on medium high, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and fragrant but not turning color.

Add turkey, breaking it up with a spatula, and stir occasionally until meat is fully cooked. Add all the remaining ingredients except cilantro.

Cover and bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer and let simmer for 30 – 60 minutes.

Just before ready to serve, stir in the cilantro.

Easy Turkey Chili freezes well!

ALANNA's TIPS: Substitute a pound of chicken breasts, chopped in one-inch pieces, if ground turkey isn’t available. Even a pound of rotisserie chicken would work, although I'd add it about halfway through the cooking time. Three or four tablespoons of chili powder may seem like a lot – and it is. But chili powders vary immensely by manufacturer so do taste as you cook so not to under- or over-do your family’s heat tolerance. Vinegar in chili? Yes, it cuts the density, the very "beaniness", of fiber-packed beans.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 176 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 20mg Cholesterol; 446mg Sodium; 25g Carb; 8g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 16g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS WW Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 4 & Freestyle 0 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 2/3 cup (9g protein). This recipe has been "Alanna-sized".

More Favorite Chili Recipes

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White Chicken Chili Chocolate Chili Crockpot Chili with Spicy Sausage
~ Chillin': Favorite Chili, Chowder & Cornbread Recipes ~
~ more chili recipes ~

Shop Your Pantry First

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~ turkey recipes ~
~ tomato recipes ~
~ canned & dried beans ~
~ bell pepper recipes ~
~ corn recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2004, 2013 (online), 2015 & 2019 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I often keep a bag of frozen broccoli florets on hand to indulge my spouse's turkey divan cravings, but that's about the only frozen veggie I semi-consistently have in the freezer. When I have a bunch of peppers, though, I do put them up in my freezer, so they'd be handy for this chili.

    Which is looking really appealing right now--I'm thawing ground chicken and was planning on making larb gai, but I do have some black beans leftover from cooking an entire bag . . .

    Thanks, Alanna!

  2. Gayle (on Facebook)4/08/2013

    I had a potful of blackbeans cooked for burghurs but opted for your turkey chili instead and it was great. Usually do the onions etc. in oil, but doing them in water..now I prefer. The onions are so sweet. Really good recipe!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna