Easy Turkey Chili

Ha! I laughed out loud when I recently re-read this 2004 column; it's being published online in 2013 for the first time, 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. It's no wonder that when I started writing A Veggie Venture about a year later that for the first month, I experimented mostly with frozen vegetables. And today, as fascinated as I am 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.

Easy Turkey Chili, extra-easy with frozen vegetables and canned beans. | Weight Watchers PointsPlus 4 | KitchenParade.com

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?

ALANNA's TIPS: Substitute a pound of chicken breasts, chopped in one-inch pieces, if ground turkey isn’t available. 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.


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 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 frozen pepper strips (or 2 green, red or orange peppers, cut in narrow strips)
  • 8 ounces frozen corn (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

Place water in a large Dutch oven on medium high. Add onion, garlic and chili powder. Combine well and stir occasionally until onion is soft and fragrant.

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

Cover and bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer and let simmer for 30 – 60 minutes. When ready to serve, add cilantro. Freezes well.

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 & Points Plus 4. CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving, 1/2 cup; 50-calorie serving, 1/4 cup. This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized'.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. 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. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

More Favorite Chili Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2004, 2013 (online) & 2015

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