Turkey and Kale Chili

2015-10-06 17.35.05 RECIPE #82, DAY #100

ORIGINAL RECIPE: Um… somewhere. I think from a chili book I borrowed from the library several years ago. I incorporated my version into Five In Five, a recipe booklet I made for my step-dad*

TIMING: 45 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Easy enough

TOOLS: Nothing special

COOK TYPE: Stovetop

HEALTH: Chili’s already good for you, and this chili is a step up from your typical chili. For one, turkey is a lean, white meat. Two, kale. Three, (raw) cashews. And all that added to the usual spices, tomatoes, beans, and other veggies. I love a bowl of chili in the fall or winter, and this chili is a great one to add to your chili repertoire.

EXPERIENCE: I was on chili duty for our extended-family vacation, and I was faced with cooking for a range of ages, preferences, and diets. I knew, at least, that my sister does not enjoy beef and my daughter doesn’t eat chicken. Thank goodness I already had a recipe for a turkey chili in my recipe files.

In hindsight, it’s a stretch to serve this ultra-healthy bowl of heartiness to children. My four-year-old nephew ate it okay, but he removed the kale and zucchini into a pile which he termed as “rubbish.” My son wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. And even though everyone else liked it, it was labeled “weird.” No, you wouldn’t want this to be your primary chili recipe, but since I make chilies all cold-season long, I like to have some that are different (like white chili, steak chili, bison chili, etc.). I will continue to turn to this recipe when we have ground turkey on hand in the cooler seasons.

NOTES: Chilies often have long lists of ingredients, yet they require only very basic assembly. And they don’t typically take long to create, just some time during the simmer.

I’m from Detroit, so I can’t fathom a bowl of chili without noodles (specifically macaroni). However, I try to expand my horizons by occasionally pairing chili with corn bread, quinoa, tortilla chips, or even rice. Pairing it with nothing is beyond me.

Ground chicken would also work in this recipe. Of course, you can mess with the veggies by substituting sweet potato or squash or something else, but this is a nice combination of ingredients.


  1. In a soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add 1 diced onion and 2-3 minced cloves of garlic and cook until onion is translucent.
  2. Add 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey and cook, breaking up as you brown, until meat is cooked through.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon dry oregano, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Work in 2 tablespoons tomato paste.
  4. Pour in the 2 1/2 cups turkey or chicken broth and 1 cup dark beer and stir, scraping up from the bottom.
  5. Add 1 can red kidney beans, 1 can black beans, 15 ounce diced tomatoes (with green chilies optional), 1 cup diced bell pepper, 1 halved and sliced zucchini or summer squash, and 1 grated carrot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Cover the pot allowing for a vent, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add 1 cup stemmed and torn kale and cook until kale is tender but still a nice shade of green.
  7. Top with 1/4 cup raw cashews, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, and 1-2 tablespoons lime juice.


Serve with corn bread.

*Recipe changed from the original.


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